summer salads, part three: spinach and bacon salad with grilled peaches and homemade bleu cheese dressing

Bacon lovers, unite! Here's a salad that anyone will like (unless you're a bacon hater ... but I don't believe in those people). Salty from the bacon, sweet from the peaches, spicy from the red onion, creamy and tangy from the dressing - your whole mouth will be happy. And so will your belly.

The other neat part? Spinach is a true super food. It has twice the amount of iron as other leafy greens and it's a really great source of fiber, folate and a myriad of Vitamins, like A and K. But its superpowers really get amped up by the Vitamin C in the peaches which help the otherwise poorly absorbed iron absorb. And the fat in the bacon helps your body take in the vitamins.

Yep, you have the green light to eat bacon. And all is right with the world again ...
Spinach and Bacon Salad with Grilled Peaches and Homemade Bleu-Cheese Dressing

For the salad:
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 4 ripe peaches, pitted and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/2 pound hickory-smoked bacon, roughly chopped
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled Danish blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, 6 minutes; roughly chop.
  2. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat on one side and medium heat on the other. Lightly brush the peaches with oil and grill over medium until nicely marked, about 4 minutes per side. Meanwhile, place a flat cast-iron skillet on the grill over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  3. Combine the spinach, red onion, grilled peaches, pecans and bacon in a large bowl.
  4. Make the dressing: Mash the blue cheese with a fork in a bowl. Mix in the buttermilk, sour cream, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the salad just before serving.
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