Weekly Winner: Treading Ever So Cautiously into Fall

Spinach Sweet Potato SaladThe weather here in Chicago is schizophrenic this time of year.  Mostly it continues to be summer… hot and humid.  But every fourth or fifth day you get a glorious day that is clear, dry, breezy and in the low 70s.  Cool enough to turn off the air conditioning and open up.  On those days it even smells like fall outside.  Then the heat returns and once again the windows get closed and the air cranks back up.

So it is still salads that I turn to most often for lunch.  But with the occasional glimpses of things to come weather-wise I am starting to crave autumnal foods.  Soups, stews, root vegetables…. it’s just still too dang warm outside for that.  To bridge that gap I turn to a recipe I’ve had for years and which I dub this week’s winner : Spinach, Bacon and Sweet Potato Salad.  I adore this salad because, while it is still a salad at heart it is a bit warm (not hot) and has the feel of a heartier dish.  And, it has bacon in it!!  Yay, bacon!

The recipe, oddly enough, comes from Runner’s World Magazine.  Don’t get the wrong idea here.  I’m not the runner in the family, hubby is.  But he has pulled some great healthy recipes from the magazine over the years and this one is no exception.

Spinach, Bacon and Sweet Potato Salad

Serves 4


2 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 thick slices of bacon
1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice from 1 orange
1 pound fresh spinach


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with two tablespoons of the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown outside and tender inside, about 30 minutes. Remove and keep on the pan until ready to use. While potatoes cook, put bacon in a stainless steel or other nonreactive skillet and turn heat to medium. Cook, turning once or twice, until crisp. Drain on paper towels and pour off fat, leaving darkened bits in the pan. Put back on medium heat; add remaining oil to the pan. When hot, add bell pepper, onion, and ginger to the pan. Cook, stirring once or twice until just softened, about five minutes; stir in cumin and bacon (broken into pieces). Stir in orange juice and turn off heat. (The recipe can be made up to an hour or so ahead to this point. Gently warm dressing again before proceeding.) Put spinach in a bowl large enough to comfortably toss the salad. Add the potatoes and warm dressing. Toss to combine.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maria M
    Sep 07, 2013 @ 16:58:38

    Sounds nice, I have spinach growing so I’ve no excuses.


  2. LFFL
    Sep 07, 2013 @ 20:00:42

    Sounds like a great salad to me!


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