Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans and Creamy Apple Poppy Seed Dressing

Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans and Creamy Apple Poppy Seed Dressing
original recipe

Ingredients:

For Candied Pecans:

2 cups whole pecans
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
For Creamy Apple Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. frozen apple juice concentrate
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
salt and pepper to taste

For Salad:

1 bag of baby spinach, washed and dried

1/2 lb. bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled into small pieced
1 tart green apple, such as Granny Smith, cored and thinly sliced
1 handful of dried cranberries (or you could use cherries or currants)
Green onions, or thin slices red onion

Instructions:

For Candied Pecans:

Over medium-high heat and in a large skillet (10″ to 12″) melt the butter. Add nuts and sugar. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar starts to melt. Lower the heat and cook until the sugar turns a golden brown and no lumps of undissolved sugar remains. Add the vanilla–it will sputter and bubble furiously. Stir quickly to combine. Pour out the nuts and syrup onto a well-greased or parchment covered cookie sheet. (I use my Silpat.) Let cool completely.

Use a serrated bread knife to chop the nuts into medium-sized chunks.

For dressing:
Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. It will be thick at first and then thin out. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve the salad. Keeps a few days in the fridge.

For salad:

Toss spinach, bacon, apple, dried berries, candied pecans, and onion (if using) together in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad while tossing with tongs to completely coat the leaves. (You may not need all of the dressing.) Serve immediately.

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