Sometimes our love for a particular food isn’t entirely explainable. Maybe it stems from a certain ingredient, the perfect texture or a favorite memory. Whatever the reason, it only takes a single bite to know when something has hit the spot. And once that spot is hit, the food adoration ensues.
Amber whipped up this salad on our first night in Salt Lake City. I’m not sure if it was the exhaustion of travel finally setting in or the satisfaction of fresh fare after an afternoon of noshing roasted peanuts and airplane pretzels, but that first bite of salad — Amber’s Magic Salad, as it will be called hereafter — was exactly what I didn’t know I was craving.
It’s a pretty genius little creation as far as I’m concerned, and I love that the genius was born from such simplicity. The ingredient list is minimal, the preparation is speedy, and the final product is green and fresh with a bright splash of color. ’Tis love.
Amber’s Magic Salad
From Amber, salad maker extraordinaire
• baby spinach
• bacon, chopped and fully cooked
• feta cheese, crumbled
• mandarin oranges (fresh or canned; either one is yummy)
• poppy seed salad dressing (We’re in major love with Brianna’s Home Style Poppy Seed Dressing. It’s not going to win a health award any time soon — it is a creamy, Ranch-like dressing after all — but a little goes a long way, and the taste is well worth the splurge.)
Combine spinach, bacon, feta and oranges in a large bowl (I didn’t include specific amounts because it’s really up to you and your preferences. For a large one-person salad, I use about 2 cups spinach, two tablespoons chopped bacon, 2 tablespoons feta, ¼ cup mandarin oranges and 1 tablespoon dressing). Pour dressing over the top, and toss to combine. Serve immediately to avoid soggy salad and savor the crunch.
Chopped, roasted nuts are another good addition to the mix. Jared tossed a few pecans on his salad for lunch today and seemed pretty happy about it. I opted for extra oranges and called it a day. Consider yourself a salad-making Picasso — no rules, just ingredients.
Do you have a favorite meal-worthy salad? Any special ingredients you throw in on occasion to surprise guests and add some extra zing? And is there anyone else with an unexplainable love for a food that just hits the spot? Let’s hear it!