Baby Spinach Feta Salad


Baby Spinach Feta Salad

Baby spinach is wonderful. Growing up, the only place we could find it was in our garden. Thankfully, it is now available at any grocery store, and so unless I am making a Ceasar salad, I typically ignore the iceberg lettuce and head straight for the “real” greens. The feta plays satisfyingly well against the crunch of the peppers and the roasted onions. Serve it as a light lunch, or as a tasty side.

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Time: 0hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • 6 ounces (1 ½ cups) wedged white or yellow onion
  • ¼ cup slivered garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon roughly ground black pepper
Add all to a toaster oven sheet pan; massage with hands to coat evenly. Spread in an even layer and roast at 400°F until onion has golden edges (18-20 minutes).

Tip: With onion on its side, cut off and discard both ends. Cut in half from pole to pole; discard dry or tough layers. Place cut sides down and halve at the equator. Rotate equators down; slice into ½-inch wedges. After separating a garlic clove from the head; cut off the root. Place the broad side of a chef’s knife on top; strike with your fist or palm. Release skin and discard. Cut in half; place cut sides down. Cut into ¼-inch slices, holding the pieces together as you work.

Onion wedges are attractive in a salad. Large pieces of garlic are less likely to burn during roasting. Regular (inexpensive) olive oil is used here because heating destroys the subtle flavors of extra-virgin. Onion and garlic mellows and sweetens as it roasts.
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Meanwhile, for the dressing, whisk all together in a 3-quart bowl. Honey acts as an emulsifier (an agent that helps prevent the separation of other ingredients).
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Slowly drizzle in oil while whisking vigorously. Slowly incorporating the oil helps create the emulsion.
  • 4 ounces loose leaf greens, torn into bite-sized pieces, washed
  • 4 ounces baby spinach, long stems pinched off, washed
Add to dressing.

Tip: Fill a 5-quart bowl with cold tap water; submerge lettuce and spinach for a minute, swishing a few times to disengage debris. Transfer to a salad spinner to spin out excess water.

Adding mixed greens adds texture to the spinach.
Excess water dilutes dressing.
  • ⅓ of a red bell pepper, cubed
  • ⅓ of a yellow bell pepper, cubed
  • ⅓ of an orange bell pepper, cubed
Add to dressing.

Tip: Place pepper on end; cut off sides. Remove any seeds or pale membrane still attached. Cut ½-inch slices; cut across slices to cube.

Flat pepper pieces are easy to cube.
  • 4 ounces (2 cups) sliced mushrooms
Add to dressing, along with roasted onion and garlic. Toss all together.

Tip: Select mushrooms whose caps have not separated from the stems; brush off any soil with a pastry brush. Cut in half from top to bottom; place cut sides down and slice to ¼ inch.

Rinsing mushrooms makes them slimy.
  • 4 ounces Greek feta, crumbled
  • Cracked black pepper
Plate attractively; top with cheese and pepper. Serve promptly. Adding feta at the last minute protects its texture and color.