Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad

by Maris Callahan on April 2, 2011

The transition from winter to spring is a difficult one. Nobody wants to cook rich, stick-to-your-ribs stews or casseroles because spring breaks and bathing suit season are near on the horizon. At the same time, Farmer’s Markets haven’t opened in most parts of the country so it’s hard to find the fresh, local produce that you begin to crave come springtime.

This salad combines the best of both worlds – juicy, ripe strawberries with warm, wilted spinach and crispy, salty bacon. The perfect bridge from winter to fall.

Warm Strawberry Spinach Salad
Recipe & Photo: How Sweet It Is

Serves 2

What You Need:

1/2 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo (or any other grain)
2 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 cup whole pecans
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups raw spinach
4 large strawberries, sliced
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
fresh basil for garnish
salt and pepper

How-To:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Fry until golden brown and crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Add pecans and toast for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally so they do not burn. Remove and drain on a paper towel. In the meantime, boil water for orzo and cook according to directions.

Add sliced red onion to the skillet with a sprinkle of salt and stir to coat with bacon grease. Saute until onions are soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add in garlic and spinach and cook until spinach wilts. Add in strawberries and orzo and mix to coat. Season with salt and pepper, then add in pecans and bacon. Remove from heat and stir in crumbled goat cheese. Top with fresh basil to garnish if you’d like. Serve immediately. It tastes good cold too!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth April 29, 2011 at 8:09 pm

This looks awesome! Bookmarked!

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Krista Lundberg April 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm

This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks Maris

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Three-Cookies April 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Bacon, strawberry, cheese…interesting combination, I am curious

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yummychunklet April 30, 2011 at 2:31 am

I can’t wait till Chicago’s farmers’ markets start in two weeks. I’m definitely going to try this recipe.

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Emily May 24, 2011 at 12:20 am

Made this tonight for dinner and it was awesome! I subbed walnuts for pecans and quinoa for orzo because that’s what I had in my cabinet, and it was still really good. Thanks for all the great recipes!

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