Spinach, Portabella, Bacon & Blue Cheese in Walnut Dressing

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 6 mins

From the *Carnival Experience* cookbook & Peter Leypold (Executive Chef of Carnival Cruise Lines), this was by far my favorite salad enjoyed on our recent Carribean cruise. I entered this recipe as written, but suggest you read my notes at the end of the prep steps for a suggestion to abbreviate the prep + optional ingredient subs. This is definitely a company-worthy salad & I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :-) (Time includes making the dressing & assembling the salads, but assumes all ingredient prep has been done in advance)

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. For Dressing: Whisk together all ingredients. Season w/salt + pepper as desired & set aside.
  2. For Salads:.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F Toss 1/4 cup walnuts w/1 tsp powd sugar. Place on baking sheet & bake 6-8 min, stirring occ. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.
  4. Combine spinach, sliced mushrooms & crumbled bacon in a lrg bowl. Add dressing & toss to coat.
  5. Divide mixture onto 6 salad plates & sprinkle w/toasted walnuts + crumbled blue cheese. Serve immediately.
  6. NOTE #1: I frankly did not notice that much of a distinction between the plain walnuts mixed w/the dressing & the toasted & slightly sweetened walnuts atop the salad. For that reason, I will likely just combine the 1/2 cup walnuts w/the dressing, add the tsp of powd sugar for a hint of sweetness & eliminate the toasting step.
  7. Note #2: As an option, feel free to sub pecans in this recipe or even use pine nuts which I think work very well w/spinach salads.
  8. Note #3: For those of you (like me) who do not keep red wine vinegar in your pantry, make your own using a 1:3 ratio. For this recipe using 1/4 cup, that would be 1 tbsp red wine mixed w/3 tbsp white vinegar. Too easy, huh?
Most Helpful

I loved all the different textures in this salad and the flavors were wonderful and went well with our grilled salmon! Thanks!

Let's Cook Lisa! June 27, 2009

I love this type of salad! This recipe really makes the standby spinach salad go over the top! The pairing of crunchy walnuts with blue cheese is fabulous, and the bacon gives the salad just a hint of smoky flavor which was wonderful. Everyone enjoyed. Thanks for sharing! ~Sue

Sue Lau March 01, 2009