Learn how to make a delicious Spinach Salad with juicy chicken, crispy bacon, and caramelized roasted butternut squash. The squash and bacon cook in the oven on sheet pans for easy clean-up, and then you toss them with the other ingredients to make a delicious salad with your favorite dressing.
If the idea of salad for dinner sounds boring, you need to give this Spinach Salad a try. It’s anything but boring – it’s a delicious combination of chicken, butternut squash, and bacon all tossed together with spinach. It’s filling, satisfying, and full of flavor.
How to Make Spinach Salad Taste Good
I’ve seen some pretty salad spinach salads before, so when I make mine, I make sure to combine a variety of ingredients, flavors, and textures to make it irresistible. If you want to make a spinach bacon salad taste good, you need:
- Different textures make this salad delicious instead of boring. Crispy bacon, soft butternut squash, crunchy nuts, and tender chicken give it a lot of variety.
- Different temperatures also make it more exciting than a basic salad. Instead of serving everything cold, the warm bacon and squash combine with cool tomatoes, spinach, and fresh red onion. It definitely makes it more interesting!
- Combining salty, sweet, and acidic ingredients also makes it taste amazing – the bacon combined with sweet squash and tomatoes gives you that great combination that hits all of your taste buds.
This salad is hearty enough to be the main course for dinner, or it’s great as a healthy lunch during the week. I’m also showing you how to prep parts of it ahead, so it’s easy to toss together when you’re ready to eat.
Spinach Salad Ingredients
- Baby spinach
- Cooked chicken breasts
- Cubed butternut squash
- Chopped red onion
- Shaved almonds
- Beefsteak tomato cut into wedges
- Feta cheese
- Store-bought poppy seed dressing (or other dressing you like)
How to Make Spinach Salad
Line two baking sheets with foil and place the cubed squash on one and the bacon strips on the other. Cook them in the oven at 400°F. The bacon will only take about 15 minutes, and the butternut squash will take between 20 and 30 minutes.
Once the bacon is done, place it on a plate with paper towels to soak up the grease. Then you can chop it into pieces for the salad.
Place all of the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl. Toss them until combined, and then add your dressing and toss it again.
Make Ahead Tips
You can make this salad for meal prep for easy lunches:
- Cook the bacon and squash and, once they’re cooled, store them in a container in the refrigerator.
- You can also shred the chicken ahead of time and keep it in a separate container.
- For the other ingredients, wait until you’re ready to serve the salad to prep them. It will only take a few minutes, and then you can toss the salad and serve it.
Once you’ve made this recipe, you can easily swap ingredients for different flavors.
- You can switch out the butternut squash for acorn squash, yellow squash, or zucchini. If you use zucchini or yellow squash, they don’t need to cook as long.
- Swap the red onion for sliced green onions instead.
- If you don’t have almonds, try using chopped walnuts or pine nuts.
- Sometimes I use crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese in place of the feta.
- We love poppyseed dressing, but pretty much any dressing you like will work well.
This spinach salad recipe is a great one to have on hand when you’re craving something healthy but filling. It’s definitely not a basic side salad – add some crusty bread on the side, and it’s a whole meal that won’t leave you hungry after. Enjoy!
More Salads You'll Enjoy
Spinach Salad Recipe
- 8-10 ounces of baby spinach
- 2 chicken breasts about 12 ounces
- 2 cups butternut squash cubed
- 5 slices bacon finely chopped
- ½ medium red onion
- ½ cup shaved almonds
- 1 beefsteak tomato wedged
- 1 cup feta cheese adjust amount to fit your taste
- We used store bought poppy seed dressing. Choose your favorite
This Spinach Salad is a great recipe to keep on hand when you are looking for something light and simple, but filling. The butternut squash really is the star of this salad and it pairs great with spinach.
Mel is an IT guy turned blogger and is discovering his love of cooking and photography. If you ever have Fantasy Football questions, he's your guy.