Spinach Salad with Sliced Strawberries and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

I’ve been feeling the spring fever vibe so it’s been little surprise that I’m scrubbing, downsizing, emptying and now, refinishing a 1950’s China hutch that my grandfather sent home from his travel to Japan, a piece since inherited by myself our family.

It’s maybe because of this that I feel like I want to have some of the recipes from my childhood, and nothing reminds me of early spring evenings spent in the ever-warming sun like this comforting dish. Sweet strawberries, crisp spinach and smoky bacon, what’s not to love?

When I was a child, there would be evenings that we might make a dinner out of elaborate salads and crusty bread, some ingredients coming right from the small garden that we kept in our backyard, so I’ve decided to keep the tradition alive and use some of the local goodies that I can find.

We took advantage of some of the warmer weather and visited the Virginia Discovery Museum, right on the outdoor mall in downtown Charlottesville. It is always such a fun and unique experience every time we go. If you’re in our area, you and your little people should check it out. Parking is a bit of a pain downtown, so be sure to park in the Water Street Garage and bring your slip with you. The Museum validates!


Discovering so much about this wonderful city has been such rush but also an undertaking. I am impressed by the outdoor-centered activities, it’s fun and family-centered events, and the deluge of locally-owned and operated businesses. We are truly lucky to be in such a diverse and rich environment. It’s a perfect place to have a family, and I’m looking forward to getting to know it better.

Spring is the perfect time for us to be able to discover more of that this area has to offer. I’m really thrilled to be able to discover more of the farmer’s markets that there are around, and learn more about the local food systems that are in place.

Speaking of food, let’s get to this tasty and delicious way to use your early spring fruits and vegetables.

Start by washing 2 cups of spinach, trimming the ends, then wash 7-8 strawberries, 1 red onion, 1/4 green bell pepper, I small cucumber and 1 orange.


Once your fruits and veggies are dry, assemble spinach in a bowl. Fry the bacon and reserve the drippings. Slice the red onion, reserving a few slices to chop finely and add to the warm bacon drippings. Fry the onion with a teaspoon olive oil a little salt and pepper for a few minutes, until it starts to caramelize. Turn off the heat and put them aside.

Slice the strawberries and cucumber, peel the orange and crumble the cheese. Set aside.


To make the dressing, add two teaspoons Dijon mustard to the drippings, as well as salt, pepper, three tablespoons red wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar and a dash of cayenne pepper. Shake (or whisk) until emulsified.


Assemble all ingredients on a plate, and sprinkle a little poppy seed over the cheese. Pour over the dressing and serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do. With the longer light hours emerging, I have a feeling that the kitchen will be one of the last places I want to spend this beautiful spring. Charlottesville is so full of beautiful scenery, lots of family- focused activities and great local finds, so I’m sure that I’ll have a lot to share with you.

Spinach Salad with Sliced Strawberries and Warm Bacon Vinegrette

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as an entree

For the salad:

3 slices bacon, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
7-8 strawberries
1 medium red onion
1 teaspoon oil
1 small cucumber
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 green pepper, julienned
Poppy seeds
1 clementine

For the dressing:

2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
a pinch of sugar
dash of cayenne pepper

Start by washing 2 cups of spinach, trimming the ends, then wash 7-8 strawberries, 1 red onion, 1/4 green bell pepper, I small cucumber and 1 orange.

Once your fruits and veggies are dry, assemble spinach in a bowl. Fry the bacon and reserve the drippings. Slice the red onion, reserving a few slices to chop finely and add to the warm bacon drippings. Fry the onion with a teaspoon olive oil a little salt and pepper for a few minutes, until it starts to caramelize. Turn off the heat and put them aside.

Slice the strawberries and cucumber, peel the orange and crumble the cheese. Set aside.

To make the dressing, add two teaspoons Dijon mustard to the drippings, as well as salt, pepper, three tablespoons red wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar and a dash of cayenne pepper. Shake (or whisk) until emulsified.

Assemble all ingredients on a plate, and sprinkle a little poppy seed over the cheese. Pour over the dressing and serve immediately.

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