This is spinach and bacon salad at its very best! With crunchy bacon and fabulous homemade poppy seed salad dressing, this salad gets devoured every time I make it!

This is a perfect holiday (and every other day of the year) salad. I don’t even know where to begin with this spinach salad. When you read what the ingredients are you might think…”what’s so special about this?”, but the combination of the salty bacon with the creamy cottage cheese and flavorful swiss cheese just rocks the taste buds in all the right ways. Especially if you serve it with our famous, viral Best Chili Recipe.

a photo of a large glass bowl full of a fresh spinach salad topped with thinly sliced red onions, cottage cheese, crispy bacon bits and shredded swiss cheese.

Every time I make this recipe I make a whole boat load, and every single time I have brought it to an event the whole boat load is gone. One of the best things about this salad is that it is perfect for holiday dinners and get-togethers simply because it doesn’t require any produce that could be out of season and the ingredients list is short and simple. You can eat this beauty ALL YEAR LONG! It’s seriously so good!

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Make it, eat it, enjoy it…and you can thank me later. In fact, add it to your Thanksgiving menu right now because I am for sure!

a photo of a large glass bowl full of fresh spinach salad topped with thinly sliced red onions, cottage cheese, bacon, swiss cheese and a homemade poppy seed dressing.

Ingredients for Spinach Salad

Let’s start with the poppy seed salad dressing. I am all about homemade salad dressings, especially when they are this easy! Making it from scratch allows for total control of what goes into the dressing making it healthier. 

Dressing

  • Poppy Seeds
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Dry Mustard
  • Salt
  • Red Onions

The measurements for each ingredient are listed in the recipe card at the end of this post.

a photo of a small clear class container full of homemade poppy seed salad dressing.

If you thought the dressing was simple, just wait until you see the list of ingredients for the salad… 

Salad

  • Fresh Spinach
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Bacon
  • Red Onion
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Optional Toppings (see section below)

The measurements for each ingredient are listed in the recipe card down below. The complete instructions for how to make the dressing and salad can also be found there.

a photo of a large glass bowl full of fresh spinach topped with all the add-ins before it has been tossed including a strip of red onion slices on the left, then a strip of cottage cheese, then a strip of crunchy bacon bits, then shredded swiss cheese.

Possible Variations and Additions to Bacon Spinach Salad

Want to make this salad into a dinner? Add chicken. Want it with some summer fruit? Add strawberries and avocados. Don’t let the simplicity fool you on how rich and delicious this is.

Feel free to add any other toppings you might want as well. Here are a few more suggestions:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Pepitas
  • Minced Parsley
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Croutons
  • Slivered Almonds
  • Broccoli

You could also change up the greens used and add arugula or a spring mix.

a photo of someone pouring creamy poppy seed salad dressing over a fresh spinach salad that has been topped with red onions, cottage cheese, bacon bits and shredded swiss cheese.

What Kind Of Vitamins Does Spinach Contain?

Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, and vitamin C.

Spinach is packed with goodness!

Are Poppy Seeds Good For You?

Poppy seeds contain an excellent source of zinc, which is found to increase bone mineral density and overall bone health.

a photo of a large glass bowl full of fresh spinach topped with all the add-ins before it has been tossed including a strip of red onion slices on the left, then a strip of cottage cheese, then a strip of crunchy bacon bits, then shredded swiss cheese.

What to Eat with Bacon Spinach Salad?

If you decide to eat this salad as a side dish, here are few ideas for main dishes that it would do great with…

Main dish or side dish, this salad will have everyone talking! The leftovers make a delicious lunch too, and I’m always looks for yummy lunch ideas!

a photo of a small class half way full of creamy homemade poppy seed salad dressing.

 

Can This Salad Be Made Ahead of Time?

This salad is super easy to prep ahead. You can make the dressing days ahead of time, and the bacon can be made ahead of time too (head to our post on how to cook bacon for all the details). Then it’s just a matter of tossing everything together right before serving. I would recommend to not add the cottage cheese too much ahead of time so it doesn’t make the salad soggy. 

How Long Does Spinach Salad Keep?

Unfortunately, this salad does not keep very well. Like most salads, everything tends to get a little soggy and wilty after a while, especially if the salad dressing has been added. If you want it to last longer, keep everything separate and add together just before serving.

a photo of a fresh spinach salad with red onions, cottage cheese, bacon crumbles, shredded swiss cheese mixed in and all topped with a creamy poppy seed dressing.

I love spinach salad and this recipe is one of my favorites. It seems easy and there’s nothing too fancy about it, but the homemade poppy seed dressing and the combination of simple ingredients wins every time.

How to Make Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

More Salad Recipes You’ll Love:

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

5 from 2 votes
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients 

Dressing

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds
  • 3/4 Cup Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2- 2 Tablespoons Red Onions, grated or see note

Salad

  • 2 Bunches Spinach, fresh
  • 1 Head Green Leaf Lettuce
  • 1 1/2 Pound Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 Red Onion, sliced paper thin
  • 3 Cups Swiss Cheese, grated (about 3/4 lb)
  • 1 Cup Cottage Cheese, drained
  • Other Toppings, optional – cooked chicken, avocados, fruit, pepitas, cherry tomatoes, etc.

Instructions

For the Dressing

  • In a mason jar or bowl, whisk together the poppy seeds, vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard and salt.
  • Add the onions and combine.
  • Store in the fridge in a jar until ready to serve.

For the Salad

  • Toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and then drizzle in the dressing and toss again.
  • Only dress as much as you’d like, no need to use the whole jar if you only want a little dressing.

Notes

You can blend the dressing in a blender or just stir it together based on which flavor you like. We love to add chicken and avocados or fresh fruit during the summer

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 874kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 37gFat: 65gSaturated Fat: 26gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 1650mgPotassium: 1083mgFiber: 4gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 15610IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 687mgIron: 4mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 100 + Salad Recipes to Obsess Over, 100 Family Favorite Easy Healthy Recipes

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a photo of a fresh spinach salad with red onions, cottage cheese, bacon crumbles, shredded swiss cheese mixed in and all topped with a creamy poppy seed dressing.