This is one of my all time favorite salads and a must for our Thanksgiving table. It is fantastic every time we make it! It’s also a great one when company is coming because everything except the pears can be prepared the day before and put in Ziplocs in the fridge if you are making it on a busy day (ahem, Thanksgiving). If you want to make it a main dish salad, add rotisserie chicken!

For the salad

One large tub of baby spinach (16 oz.)…enough to fill a very large bowl of salad (you can also use Romaine or green leaf lettuce if you prefer)
1 yellow pepper, cut into very small pieces
1/2 medium red onion, cut into very small pieces
About a pound of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (I’m not afraid of microwave bacon…I actually like how crisp it gets)
2 ripe d’anjou pears (I think having this type of pear is best, they take awhile to ripen so buy early) cut into smallish pieces. If you don’t have ripe pears, you can substitute appples
Crumbled blue cheese, to taste (I don’t like really big chunks)
Sugared almonds, the more the better 🙂 about 1 larger bag of slivered almonds
For the almonds
To sugar the almonds put the bag of almonds into a pan on the stove, add about 1/2 to 3/4 C of sugar…cook over medium high heat until the sugar starts to dissolve and becomes liquid and the almonds begin to brown. When they are coated, pour onto a pan or plate, let them dry and cool and then crumble into salad.
For the dressing (I like to double it.)
1/4 C red wine vinegar
 1 TBSP. Dijon mustard
1/4-1/3 C sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)
1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP oil
a dash of salt and pepper.
Mix the first 3 ingredients together, then slowly add the oil while whisking. Finish with the salt and pepper. (I like to make the dressing the day before and let it sit in the fridge. Shake it up and make sure it tastes just right.) Don’t dump it all on to the salad…pour some, toss, taste, pour some more, etc.

Makes 12 large side salad servings…maybe a bit more.

Looking for other great salads?

Try my Asian Chopped Salad, South of the Border Chopped Salad with a Sweet Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette, and The BLT Salad