When I was a teenager, my oldest brother Cole married Marianne, who was the yin to his yang, the butter to his toast, and the apple of his eye. The whole family fell in love with her energy, humor, and intelligence, and we were awed by her many talents.
She sewed the most beautiful and intricately detailed ballet costumes for her daughter Julia, and she was equally skilled in the kitchen too. She always brought the most delicious side dishes and desserts to family dinners!
Unfortunately, Marianne passed away in her early fifties from a sudden brain aneurysm. I loved Marianne very much, and while we all still mourn her loss years later, we find comfort in cherishing those delicious recipes she introduced into our lives.
And I’ll be sharing one of those recipes with you in today’s post. And trust me, Marianne’s Spinach Salad (much like the woman herself) is like no other!
A Very Special Salad
While a spinach salad may not sound like much, this particular recipe exists in a realm unbound by time. It never feels dated or tired, and it’s always the first salad to disappear when I bring it to potlucks.
The only explanation I have for the timelessness of this salad is a very specific sort of food-based alchemy. The combination of creamy cottage cheese, sweet and tangy dressing, salty bacon, and tender greens is more than the sum of its parts, and it’s something you simply need to experience for yourself! :-)
This salad is a staple for us during the holidays! Check out the rest of my tried and true holiday dinner menu here.
Marianne’s Spinach Salad
For the salad:
2 bunches spinach (about 12 ounces)
1 head lettuce
3 cups Swiss cheese, grated1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
16 oz cottage cheese
For the dressing:
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
3/4 cup sugar
1-2 tsp salt
Start by rinsing the spinach and lettuce then patting them dry with a clean towel. (You can remove the stems from the spinach at this point if they seem particularly fibrous, but it’s up to you.)
Roughly chop the lettuce, and place the spinach leaves and chopped lettuce in a large salad bowl. Then add the cheese, crumbled bacon, sliced mushrooms, and sliced red onions on top of the greens.
In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the oil, vinegar, mustard, poppy seeds, sugar, and salt.
Serve Now Or Serve Later
If you’ll be serving the salad immediately, pour the cottage cheese and prepared salad dressing into the salad bowl. Toss the ingredients together until everything is well incorporated, then serve.
If you’ll be serving the salad later, cover the salad bowl tightly with plastic wrap and transfer the dressing to an airtight container. Add the cottage cheese and dressing to the salad just before serving to avoid wilting.
Tell me about the best salad you’ve ever eaten in a comment below!
Marianne's Spinach Salad
- 2 bunches spinach
- 1 head lettuce
- 3 cups Swiss cheese grated
- 1 lb. bacon cooked and crumbled
- 3/4 cup fresh mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 red onion sliced thinly
- 16 oz cottage cheese
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1-2 tsp salt
- Start by rinsing and drying the spinach and lettuce.
- Then remove the stems from the spinach if necessary, and roughly chop the head of lettuce.
- Place the spinach and lettuce in a large salad bowl, then add the Swiss cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and red onion.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.
- Just before serving, add the dressing and cottage cheese to the salad and toss to combine.