One of the best salads I’ve ever eaten is this Spinach Salad with Hot Prosciutto Dressing.
Classic Spinach Salad
I grew up back in the 70’s with the ubiquitous spinach salad. It was the salad that everyone served for dinner or shared at potlucks. It was your basic bowl of spinach leaves and mushrooms (maybe hard-boiled egg?) and it was topped with a hot bacon dressing. Anyone remember that salad? Anyone still make that salad?
I actually really loved that spinach salad. I’ve been meaning to ask my Mom if she still has that 70’s spinach salad recipe in her files somewhere. In the meantime, I’m sharing an updated version of the spinach salad. This one switches out bacon for an equally desirable prosciutto.
Walnuts are added in to my salad for good measure. You can (and should) toast them a bit, unless you’re okay with raw walnuts in a salad. Toasting them makes them 100% more delicious, in my opinion. Or you can do as I did and buy a package of candied walnuts (or make your own).
How to toast walnuts for Spinach Salad with Hot Prosciutto Dressing:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet, and bake for 5 to 7 minutes- just until fragrant. Keep an eye on the nuts as you don’t want them to burn.
Ingredients needed for the hot prosciutto dressing:
- olive oil
- white wine
- lemon juice
The best part of this recipe is the dressing. It has flavors of wine and lemon, it’s lightly sweetened, and it has a generous dose of chopped prosciutto mixed in.
In the end, the whole salad is topped with shredded Parmesan. I went with a beautiful, rustic chunk of rather expensive and amazing Parmigiano-Reggiano, but you can certainly use any Parmesan you have on hand. This is one delicious salad indeed. My husband and I practically ate the entire thing split between the two of us, but it is perfect for serving four as a side salad. Dare I say that my version is a vast improvement over the 70’s spinach salad? I’m cool with that. We truly enjoy this recipe- it’s a repeater for sure in our house!
Spinach Salad with Hot Prosciutto Dressing
- One 5-ounce bag/tub of spinach leaves
- 1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts (raw, candied or toasted)
- ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup (3 ounces) chopped prosciutto
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- Place spinach in a medium-large salad bowl. Sprinkle on mushrooms and walnuts.
PREPARE THE DRESSING:
- In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the prosciutto and garlic. Stir and cook until the garlic is lightly browned. Stir in the wine, lemon juice and sugar, and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring every once in a while.
- Pour the hot dressing over the salad and toss. Divide the salad between four serving plates and sprinkle each with Parmesan cheese.
- *If you are preparing this recipe as gluten-free, just be sure to use a brand of prosciutto that is know to be GF.
- Nutritional information is figured using raw nuts.