Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I mean, you truly can’t beat the crunchy leaves, pumpkins popping up on every porch, and my ultimate kryptonite – Pumpkin Spice Lattes! So, whenever the colors start to change, I’ll pull out this delectable fall salad with warm bacon vinaigrette that makes the most of autumn’s fresh and crisp flavors.
Hi everyone, Heather here from Food Lovin’ Family with a delicious fall salad with warm bacon vinaigrette.
It’s just packed with flavor, and gives you a reason to use that bushel of apples you painstakingly picked earlier in the week! I’ll always eat a few apples whole for that “fresh off the tree” feel, but I’ll also lump them into pies, cakes, and muffins to use up the leftovers.
But it’s not just sweet treats that I’ll use apples for. They’re surprisingly delicious served with pork loins, sausages, tons of fresh lettuce, and a few walnuts for the ultimate side salad! Talk about a team player.
I’ll be honest when I say that there’s a lot going on with this salad, and I adore how the various ingredients each highlight autumn flavors. You’ve got HoneyCrisp apples, pecans, dried cranberries, blue cheese (for a rich creaminess!), and the oh-so-tasty warm bacon vinaigrette dressing that lifts the entire dish to new heights.
I love cooking my bacon in a large pan over medium heat so it cooks evenly, but I’ll always reserve that delicious bacon grease to make the ultimate vinaigrette. You’ll only need 3 tablespoons to make the magic happen, so don’t forget this step!
Ready in minutes and always a joy to eat, this fall salad with warm bacon vinaigrette promises to become a go-to staple in your recipe binder. Mark my words!
Why You’ll Love This Fall Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
- It’s super easy to make
- It’s packed with fresh fall ingredients that usher in the season beautifully
- It’s a great way to get your 5-a-day
- It’s the perfect blend of sweet and salty
- The different textures offer a satisfying mouthfeel that you can’t beat
- HoneyCrisp apple
- Dried cranberries
- Crumbled blue cheese
- Baby spinach
- Butter lettuce or Romaine lettuce
- Reserved bacon grease
- Red wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard
How to Make Fall Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
- Step One: Cook the bacon until crispy. Then, remove it and place it on a paper towel.
- Step Two: Chop the bacon for the salad and take out 3 tablespoons of bacon grease and set it aside. Don’t throw the bacon grease away!
- Step Three: Add 3 tablespoons bacon grease, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and mustard to a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Step Four: Whisk the ingredients together and heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Step Five: Add the spinach and lettuce to a large bowl.
- Step Six: Top with pecans, chopped bacon, dried cranberries, blue cheese, and apples.
- Step Seven: Pour the warm dressing over the salad and serve!
To cook this recipe, you’ll need just a few pieces of equipment.
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What to Serve with Fall Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- You can technically use leftover bacon fat to make your vinaigrette, but it’s best to use the bacon grease directly from the pan for the best results.
- If you want to make this recipe in advance, simply allow the dressing to cool to room temperature before popping it in the fridge.
- Center-cut or thick-cut bacon are the best options for this recipe, but you can use whatever you have on hand!
- Try to get leaves that are as fresh as possible for the best flavor and crunch.
- Farm-fresh is ideal, but you should look for bags of pre-washed salad with long expiry dates if you’re heading to the grocery store.
Variations and Substitutions
- If you’d rather not use straight sugar, you can replace the sugar with an equivalent amount of honey for more natural sweetness.
- If you don’t have red wine vinegar, you can use balsamic for a stronger taste or champagne vinegar for something more mellow.
You can store this salad in the fridge for up to 3 days or so. But you’ll want to keep an eye on the lettuce leaves and blue cheese for any rotting. If the leaves are starting to turn brown and sludgy, it’s time to throw them out! It’s also best to store your dressing separately to keep your salad fresh for as long as possible.
Can I Freeze?
Sadly not. This recipe doesn’t freeze well as it’s packed with fresh leaves and cheeses. But honestly, I doubt it’ll last long enough to freeze. You’ll want to chow down on it straight away!
- Overnight Bacon Breakfast Casserole – Packed with mushrooms, cheese, and tons of bacon, this breakfast casserole is the perfect way to start the day.
- Cheesy Bacon Pinwheels – These cheesy bacon pinwheels are incredibly fluffy and are stuffed with a winning combination of onion, bacon, cheddar, and cream cheese.
- Deep Dish Apple Pie with Crumb Topping – This apple pie is delicious when served with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream!
- Baked Apple Cider Donuts – If you’re looking for a unique apple dessert, then you’ll love these irresistibly fluffy baked donuts.
- Apple Crisp – This apple crisp is one of my favorite fall desserts that works perfectly with ice cream or custard when the weather starts cooling down.
You’ll also like this Tex Mex Lunch Bowl.
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- 1 large HoneyCrisp apple cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 8 pieces of bacon
- 1 (5 oz) bag baby spinach
- 1 (5 oz) bag butter lettuce or Romaine lettuce
- 3 tablespoons reserved bacon grease
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cook bacon until crispy. Remove and place on paper towel. Chop bacon for salad. Take out 3 tablespoons bacon grease and set aside.
- Add 3 tablespoons bacon grease, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and mustard to small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk ingredients together and heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Add spinach and lettuce to a large bowl. Top with pecans, chopped bacon, dried cranberries, blue cheese and apples. Pour warm dressing over salad and serve.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 511mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 6gSugar: 17gProtein: 11g