Wilted Spinach Salad Recipe

As a registered dietitian, Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert, who blogs at Wholly Nourished, would very much like to see you eating more greens. But as a recipe developer, she can empathize with people who aren't sure what exactly to do with spinach, a dark, iron-rich leafy green that can end up tasting bitter if even slightly overcooked. It is out of that dichotomy that Shelbert came up with this recipe for a spinach salad that is oh-so-gently wilted, indirectly, via a warm, balsamically-sweet shallot vinaigrette. 

"As a registered dietitian, I hear clients say that they don't like spinach or that they have a hard time being creative with salads," Bachtell-Shelbert tells Health Digest. "This salad is sure to convert a spinach naysayer." It features lovely, varying textures thanks to the addition of walnuts as a crunchy, satisfying topping. And, if you're up for it, you can add sliced avocado, which Bachtell-Shelbert regards as optional. Whatever you might think your stance on spinach is, try to think of this wilted spinach salad as "a fun and tasty way to get in those leafy greens," Bachtell-Shelbert suggests. In any case, it's not just tasty and healthy, but also "elegant enough to serve at a dinner party." And, of course, only you need to know just how quickly and easily this dish comes together. 

Gather your ingredients for this wilted spinach salad

Bachtell-Shelbert's recipe for wilted spinach salad serves four people as a side dish or an appetizer. For the base of the salad, you'll start with a 6-ounce bag of baby spinach. For the dressing, you'll need ⅓ cup of extra virgin oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar as the foundation, to which you'll add 2 shallots (sliced thinly, or the equivalent of about 1 cup), 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of honey, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper. In addition, you'll need ⅓ cup of chopped walnuts (for topping). For a slightly more hearty salad, you can top it or toss it with sliced or diced avocado

Prep your shallots for this wilted spinach salad

Shallots look a bit like onions, only smaller, and slightly more elongated. Although they have a primarily brown, papery skin, the flesh of the shallot is tinged slightly purple, like a red onion. To slice your shallots, you'll want to begin by cutting off the root end, and peeling the skin. Then, set the shallot on a cutting board with the flat side down. Using a chef's knife, make thin slices, as shown. Please note, if there happen to be more than one shallot bulb in the skin, you'll want to treat them as if, together, they make up one shallot. 

Sauté the sliced shallots in a skillet

Grab a small- to medium-sized skillet, and pour the extra virgin olive oil into it. Place the skillet on the stove, and set the burner to medium heat. When the oil has begun to glisten, toss in the shallots that you just sliced, and allow them to sauté for 3 minutes until softened and fragrant. Stir frequently to keep the shallot slices cooking evenly and to prevent scorching. 

Make your warm vinaigrette, and serve over spinach

When your shallots are soft and fragrant, that's the time to add the rest of the dressing ingredients. Add the Dijon mustard, the honey, and the salt and pepper to the shallots, and stir to combine. Immediately turn off the heat source, and add the balsamic vinegar to this mixture. Stir to combine and you're ready to serve. 

Simply divide the spinach between 4 plates, and top evenly with the warm shallot vinaigrette. Add the walnuts. If desired, top also with sliced or diced avocado. 

Wilted Spinach Salad Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
Standard spinach salads may not be your thing, but you're likely to change your tune after trying this tasty and fresh wilted spinach salad recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
wilted spinach salad
Total time: 13 minutes
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin, about 1 cup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 6-ounce bag baby spinach
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
Optional Ingredients
  • Sliced or diced avocado
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté 3 minutes until softened and golden.
  2. Add the Dijon, honey, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
  3. Turn the heat off of the burner and add the balsamic vinegar to the shallot mixture. Stir to combine.
  4. Divide the spinach between 4 plates and top evenly with the warm shallot vinaigrette.
  5. Top with walnuts and, if desired, avocado.
  6. Serve immediately.
Calories per Serving 262
Total Fat 24.6 g
Saturated Fat 3.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.8 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Total Sugars 5.7 g
Sodium 197.1 mg
Protein 3.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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