So-Good Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

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Spinach salad with bacon and cheese in a yellow serving bowl.

Get ready! So-Good Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is refreshing, filling and satisfying…perfect for a light meal when the weather is hot. Or, for an easy main dish salad, add some shredded rotisserie chicken…easy, peasy.

So-Good Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe

Light and refreshing spinach salad in a yellow serving bowl.

Howdy! Chef Alli Here. Let’s Get You Cookin’…. Shall We?? 🙂

In one way, this might be the weirdest combination of salad ingredients I’ve ever encountered.

Yet, in another way, putting these specific salad ingredients together makes perfect sense! I guess the combination just never occurred to me. Never in my life have I stirred cottage cheese into a salad….have you? Just kinda seems a bit odd.

However, when you combine tender baby spinach with crunchy iceberg lettuce, then add crispy bacon, shredded Swiss cheese, sliced mushrooms, creamy cottage cheese, and sliced almonds….yowza. Drizzle all that with a tangy poppyseed vinaigrette dressing – it’s more than delicious.

What to love about this recipe

1. Just get ready. I’m not even kidding – this is the most addictive thing you are ever going to eat.

2. Add any type of cooked meat to make it a main dish salad. (Leftovers work great!)

3. Everybody wants the recipe! And it’s fun to watch people experience this salad for the first time. It’s just kinda weird!

Ingredients you need to make this salad

Poppy Seed Dressing

  • Oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Granulated sugar or sweetener
  • Spicy brown mustard
  • Poppyseeds
  • Salt and pepper

Salad

  • Fresh spinach
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Cottage cheese
  • Bacon
  • Button mushrooms
  • Swiss cheese
  • Red onion

How to make this salad in just 4 easy steps

**Print the full recipe from the RECIPE CARD at the bottom of this post

Shake up the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; reserve.

In a large serving bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients, except the cottage cheese.

Precisely when you are ready to eat the salad, add the cottage cheese and drizzle with a bit of the dressing; gently toss everything together. Add the dressing little at a time, since you may not need it all.

Garnish the salad with sliced almonds and, if desired, a few more red onions.

Spinach salad topped with sliced red onions, bacon, and almonds.

Common Questions Asked About This Recipe

Which tools are helpful when making this recipe?

Large wooden cutting board with a channel – a good (large) wooden cutting board is what supports your chef’s knife, providing a surface that gives to the edge of your blade each time you make a cut. One side of the cutting board will feature the channel around the edge. This is the side that you should slice meats on – the meat juices funnel into the channel so they cannot run off the cutting board to create a mess on the counter. Use the other side of the cutting board for cutting and dicing fruits and vegetables.

Chef’s knife – a good chef’s knife is such an essential kitchen tool! In this recipe, you’ll need one for slicing the vegetables and also the pork loin into chunks. **If taken care of properly, a good quality chef’s knife will last a lifetimedefinitely make it worth the initial investment.

Knife straightener – a hand-held knife straightener (often called a knife sharpener) is what keeps your chef’s knife blade straight so that it can make a precise, clean cut. Run your knife (never a serrated knife, though) through the straightener 2-3 times each and every time you prepare to use it to keep the blade in good shape.

Deep mixing bowl – I prefer mixing bowls that have a silicone handle grip and also a silicone bottom. The silicone makes it easier to hold onto the bowl and also keeps it in place better on the counter as you’re working. I also like how this set nests together for storage.

Can I use any type of lettuce greens in this salad?

Yep. If you’ve got a box of mixed greens on hand or a big head of romaine that needs eaten, feel free to use any combination of lettuce.

It is best to always include iceberg lettuce, though, since it’s a green that has a lot of body and gives good ”crunch” to the salad.

Can I add meat to this salad to make it a main dish salad?

Yep! We like it with grilled chicken and steak….and smoked salmon, too. Any leftover fully-cooked meat added to this salad is delicious.

Can this salad be made ahead?

Nope! This is a salad that needs to be eaten the second you add the cottage cheese and drizzle on the dressing.

However, you can have all the ingredients prepped so it literally takes just SECONDS to assemble.

Will the salad dressing still be good if I leave out the poppy seeds? My family doesn’t care for those.

Yep. Just omit the poppy seeds, making the vinaigrette dressing as directed.

A serving bowl loaded with spinach salad and poppyseed dressing.

More favorite salad recipes to enjoy –

Printable So-Good Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing Recipe

Spinach salad with bacon and cheese in a yellow serving bowl.

So-Good Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

So-Good Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing is refreshing, filling and satisfying…perfect for a light meal when the weather is hot. Or, for an easy main dish salad, add some shredded rotisserie chicken…easy, peasy.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 487kcal

Ingredients

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Salad Ingredients

  • 12 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped or torn
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled or chopped
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 cup cottage cheese, small curd
  • 1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

Prepare the Salad Dressing

  • Make the salad dressing by placing all the ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid or a salad cruet; shake vigorously to combine well; reserve.

Prepare the Salad

  • Into a very large serving bowl, place the spinach, lettuce, cheese, bacon, mushrooms, red onions, and cottage cheese; drizzle with half of the dressing and toss gently, adding more dressing, if needed, as you go.
  • Garnish the salad with sliced almonds (and additional sliced red onions, if desired) and serve at once. **Plan to eat all the salad when it’s served as it doesn’t hold over well.

Notes

**Be sure to check the blog post for tips and tricks, specific instructions, recommended tools, and FAQ’s for making this recipe.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make spinach salad, mixed greens salad, poppyseed dressing, spinach salad

Nutrition

Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 527mg | Potassium: 526mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 4273IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 369mg | Iron: 2mg

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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