This is a fabulously light salad, but it is sweet! Make an extra effort to balance the sweet with some savory flavors, and go light when you dress the salad (as in, use half what you'd normally use, then taste and adjust as necessary)! Pairs wonderfully with Wild Mushroom Soup for a light meal full of fresh flavor!
5 slices lean bacon, finely chopped
1 finely chopped apple, such as Fugi or Gala
2-3 shallots, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 12-ounce container apple-raspberry juice concentrate
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used lemon-Dijon for an added flavor)
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
10-ounces baby spinach, cleaned and dried (this is one bag if you go that route)
1/2 cup glazed walnuts
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, until crisp and browned. Spoon the bacon onto paper towels to drain and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the skillet.
Add the apple and shallot to the skillet and saute over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the juice concentrate and vinegar. Bring to a boil and boil, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the mustard and oil. Salt and papper to taste.
Place the spinach, bacon bits, walnuts, and blue cheese in a bowl. Drizzle the warm dressing (remember, I told you to go light) over the salad, allowing the spinach to wilt slightly.
Recipe adapted from Celebrate the Rain, by the Junior League of Seattle.