White Bean and Spinach Quinoa Salad with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Blue Cheese in a Bacon Pan Sauce Dressing

White Bean and Spinach Quinoa Salad with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Blue Cheese in a Bacon Pan Sauce Dressing

Yeah! Blogger is back! Hopefully it does not gobble up any more posts or comments!

Although I am still impatiently awaiting the arrival of the first of the local spring produce I have started getting into the habit of eating lighter meals including more salads. Not too long ago I came across the idea of a warm white bean and spinach salad on How Sweet It Is that I was immediately drawn to. As I read through the ingredients I quickly realized why, as the spinach, bacon, sauteed mushrooms and onions reminded me of one of my favourite salads the spinach salad with bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms and blue cheese . I quite enjoy combining quinoa and beans in warm salads and I figured that adding them to the spinach salad could only be good and so I did just that. For the recipe, I pretty much just started out with my spinach salad with bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms and blue cheese salad and added the spinach to the pan to wilt followed by some white beans and quinoa.

Don't let the spinach, beans, mushrooms and quinoa fool you as below this salads healthy surface lies a dirty little secret and that secret is a heart full of flavour, and that flavour is provided by both the bacon and its grease. First I cook the bacon and set it and some of its grease aside. The mushrooms and onions are then slowly cooked in the remaining bacon grease until they are nice and golden brown. After cooking the bacon and caramelizing the mushrooms and onions in the same pan, its bottom is sure to be covered little brown bits that are just full of flavour! It would simply be wrong to let that flavour go to waste so I mix the salad dressing right in the pan and the vinegar in it helps pick up all of that flavour by deglazing the pan. The remaining ingredients of the salad dressing include the reserved bacon grease and some Dijon mustard. The final component of flavour in this salad is a touch of crumbled blue cheese that starts to melt into the salad which is served warm. You don't want to overpower the other flavours in the salad by using a lot of blue cheese but just a bit really enhances the salad and makes it truly special. With this salad you get the best of both worlds with lots of healthy ingreadients and lots of flavour!

White Bean and Spinach Quinoa Salad with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Blue Cheese in a Bacon Pan Sauce Dressing

White Bean and Spinach Quinoa Salad with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Blue Cheese in a Bacon Pan Sauce Dressing

White Bean and Spinach Quinoa Salad with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms and Blue Cheese in a Bacon Pan Sauce Dressing

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes Servings: 4

A nice, sweet and innocent looking white bean and spinach quinoa salad hiding a dark underside of bacon, onions and mushrooms caramelized in bacon grease and a bacon grease dressing. Naughty and nice never tasted so good!

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup red onion, sliced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (6 ounce) package baby spinach
  • 1 (15 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans, from 1/2 cup dry)
  • 1/4 cup mild blue cheese, crumbled
  1. Cook the quinoa as directed on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a pan, about 4-6 minutes, and set aside, reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.
  3. Caramelize the onions and mushrooms in the remaining bacon grease, about 20-30 minutes, and set aside.
  4. Add the vinegar to the pan and deglaze it.
  5. Mix in the reserved bacon grease, sugar, mustard, garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the spinach and white beans and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
  7. Mix in the bacon, onions and mushrooms.
  8. Serve garnished with blue cheese.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a stunning salad! A heavenly combo. I really love your plates and bowls.



vanillasugar said...

how many posts did blogger take from you? took one from me.
this dish kevin is a MEAL. a gourmet meal all in itself!
have a good weekend buddy!

Belinda @zomppa said...

Glad it's back up! I have some white beans here staring at me wondering what I wanted to do with it, and now I think I know!

Isabelle said...

My problem with quinoa is that I really, really want to like it... but whenever I make it, I'm totally underwhelmed by the results.
I think my luck might finally change with this recipe. I mean, how can anything with bacon and blue cheese and mushrooms possibly be underwhelming, right? Brilliant. :)

Sandie (Sandie's Bitchin' Kitchen) said...

This looks and sounds delicious! I will definitely have to try the recipe!!

Also, I just wanted to let you know that I've given you a blog award, so feel free to head on over to my blog and check out my latest post. I don't know if you do them, but I wanted you to know how much I like your blog and the things that you post! :-)
Have a great Friday evening!

Claudia said...

You know - if it had chocolate - it would have all my favorite foods in one dish.

The Duo Dishes said...

No one's judging you for tossing bacon in there. It makes the entire thing all the better.

Anonymous said...

This dish sounds heavenly! Great dinner idea.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Kevin! What a bunch of different tastes and textures...nice!

Joanne said...

I am SOOO happy that blogger eventually came back up! I missed you yesterday morning! This salad sounds delicious...quite a mouthful!

bellini said...

This os one amazing salad, not just Blogger would gobble it up:D

~Bee said...

Been trying to figure out a good quiona recipe, as I've never tried it before. Maybe this will be it!

Mushrooms Canada said...

Thank goodness Blogger is back up!
Great dish Kevin! The name sounds complicated, but once I read all the the ingredients, it's pretty easy!
- Brittany

Lauren said...

Oh STOP! I can't do blue cheese. How is this fair!? Oh, wait, this means I will simply have to tinker and taste test repeatedly, right?
And thank you for shedding light on the damage to my blog yesterday; I thought I'd had a techfail moment. I was never so glad to be a victim ;)

Pam said...

This looks like a very scrumptious salad indeed. And the bacon and carmelized onions just make it more so! Yum.

LunaCafe said...

Kevin, what a delicous looking flavor combo. I can taste it from here. Thank you for reminding me I really must use quinoa more. Best...Susan

Amanda- Eating in Winnipeg said...

It's my day for a blog hop, I'd love it if you came over and shared one of your great recipes at savory sunday!! Have a great day :)

Linda Harding said...

Sssshhhh! You said salad so I am not listening to any comments of "grease" or "naughty" afterwards! I will simply make this salad which, by definition of its name, means it is healthy...and I am therefore entitled to many, many servings...

Denial is a beautiful thing!

asavorycharacter said...

This looks awesome! Love it!

Cassandra said...

The mushrooms look particularly delectable.

We Are Not Martha said...

Oh, wow! I was going to say I absolutely LOVE quinoa salads of all kinds, but this one might just take the cake. I'm going to have to try it... And try to stop myself from eating the whole bowl :)


homegrown countrygirl said...

What a really great combination of ingredients!!! And a great name, too! You had me at "white bean, spinach, quinoa, bacon, carmelized onions, mushrooms, blue cheese, bacon, pan sauce," and "dressing!" I love it all!!!

Culinary Cory said...

Wow! This sounds amazing with all of those great ingredients.

cookingmesoftly said...

...delicious salad and great images

Anonymous said...

I do so love how this recipe starts off all healthy and innocent with its beans, quinoa and spinach and then slides into dirtyness with the bacon, and then descends into full-fat evil deliciousness with blue cheese and bacon-pan sauce. Inspirational!

d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo said...

This is such a warm way to use quinoa. I'm used to using more citrus or vinegar flavors - this would be a nice change

Natalie said...

this sounds great! i have some bulgur i need to use up so i think i'll do that but keep the rest the same. yum!

Zoe Sotet Art Studio said...

Om nom nom. I made this for dinner tonight and it was very tasty. I wasn't sure what you meant by 'white' beans so I used cannellini beans. And I don't like blue cheese so I used feta. Hope I haven't basterdized your recipe too much.

One problem I have with quinoa is that when I cook it it seems like I've cooked all the liquid out but when I mix in to the other stuff it's still quite soggy. But if I try to cook it longer it starts to stick and burn.

Kevin said...

Zoe Sotet Art Studio: Glad you enjoyed it! I tend to go for the cannellini beans as well but any white bean will do. Feta would be my second choice of cheese for this salad.

One trick for cooking quinoa is when it is done, remove the pan from the heat, cover it and let it sit for five minutes. This way it will continue to absorb the excess liquid without burning.

Kim Wardenburg said...

Just made this last night, and I can't wait to eat the delicious leftovers for lunch!!! Thanks for sharing all these delicious recipes.

Cate said...

This looks amazing! Just found your blog through Saveur- congrats on the shout-out!

Looks like we have a similar sense of adventure in the kitchen :)

Kristi said...

Mmm...I made a veggie version of this today. It was so delicious. Thanks so much for the yummy recipe! The "bacon" version will post tomorrow.

Kristi @
Veggie Converter


TheIronYou said...

This recipe with quinoa looks really really good. I’m gonna try it really soon as I’m obsessed with quinoa!
I also recently wrote an article on the health benefits of quinoa, check it out: http://www.theironyou.com/2011/03/more-on-quinoa.html

Mike @TheIronYou

Leslie said...

Made this tonight - so delish! Thanks for the fantastic recipe.

Anonymous said...

Made this yesterday. It was delicious and very filling. Thank you!

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