Hello lover.

That’s some pretty good lookin’ bacon, don’t you think?

And those pecans up there? They are really special. Extra special, in fact. Want to know why?

They were toasted in bacon grease.

I’m a freak. A bacon loving freak. And this was amazing.

I didn’t even know what to call it. A salad? I guess it’s a form of a salad, but I don’t really like to associate the food I eat with the word “salad.” Because vegetables stink. Plain and simple. Sadly, salad won out in the end.

But I need to tell you about all the deliciousness going on here, especially since I couldn’t fit it in the title: crispy bacon, toasted pecans, sweet strawberries, sauteed spinach and garlic, whole wheat orzo, creamy goat cheese, caramelized onions and fresh basil. So much better than the boring, old salad you expected when you saw the title, right?

 

Yes, I just kept throwing things into the mix. Yes, the flavors were incredible together. Yes, everything was basically sauteed in bacon grease. And no, I didn’t share!

 

P.S. I could live off this.

Warm Strawberry Spinach Salad

serves 2

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

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!

The world is a better place with bacon grease. True story.

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130 Responses to “Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad.”

  1. #
    1
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — March 31, 2011 @ 7:06 am

    This salad looks so good! I love that it is mostly deliciousness and a little bit of spinach mixed in:-)

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — March 31, 2011 @ 7:07 am

    Jessica, I dont eat bacon but oh my, the salad looks awesome and my mom used to make warm salads like this. I always thought she was nuts…and 25 years later, I am realizing she wasnt :)

    Reply

  3. #
    3
    The Teenage Taste — March 31, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    I love all the berry-filled recipes, Jess! I would have never thought of mixing strawberries into a pasta (or in this case, orzo) salad! It looks delicious! :-D

    Reply

  4. #
    4
    Jennifer (savor) — March 31, 2011 @ 7:19 am

    You get going early youngf lady – now give me some salad for breakfast please

    Reply

  5. #
    5
    Estela @ Weekly Bite — March 31, 2011 @ 7:21 am

    Wow! So creative! Love all these flavor combos :)

    Reply

  6. #
    6
    Holly @ The Runny Egg — March 31, 2011 @ 7:23 am

    My sister makes a salad where you use the bacon grease as the dressing — it tastes amazing. Bacon is amazing.

    That last picture — of the one perfect bite – I want it!

    Reply

  7. #
    7
    Lisa {smart food & fit} — March 31, 2011 @ 7:29 am

    I love all of your berry recipes. Anything with bacon makes it even better. Did you buy your strawberries from Costco? The strawberries look so colorful and perfect!

    Reply

    • Jessica — March 31st, 2011 @ 7:31 am

      Nope – my local grocery store! We don’t have a Costco close, if we shop in bulk it is at Sam’s. :)

      Reply

  8. #
    8
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum — March 31, 2011 @ 7:38 am

    Tru dat (on the bacon grease part)!

    Reply

  9. #
    9
    Blog is the New Black — March 31, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    AMAZING. I need to know, do you exercise between each recipe, and up the ante when you eat bacon-fried EVERYTHING?! ;) I would be a house.

    Reply

  10. #
    10
    Heather — March 31, 2011 @ 7:45 am

    amen. i know i had bacon in my post today and i kind of wish i’d used more!

    Reply

  11. #
    11
    Elizabeth@The Sweet Life — March 31, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    Dear me! How amazing!!

    Reply

  12. #
    12
    Dishes of Mrs. Fish — March 31, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    If it has a fleck of greens it’s a salad….. :)

    Reply

  13. #
    13
    Gen — March 31, 2011 @ 7:58 am

    Bacon makes everything better. Whenever my mom fries up some bacon, she saves the grease to make fried egg sandwiches and basically anything else that needs to be sauteed!

    Reply

  14. #
    14
    Hannah — March 31, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    I have, no joke, NEVER had anything like this. It looks amazing.

    Reply

  15. #
    15
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — March 31, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    I tried orzo for the first time a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I would have never thought to combine strawberries AND bacon, but like you said, when everything is laced with bacon grease it all tastes delicious!

    Reply

  16. #
    16
    Brooke @ Bittersweetb — March 31, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    You just can’t go wrong with bacon! This looks so good!

    Reply

  17. #
    17
    Kelly — March 31, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    Wow, this looks so good. I’m going to have to try it!

    Reply

  18. #
    18
    kate@ahealthypassion — March 31, 2011 @ 8:36 am

    I love how colorful this dish is and the sweet savory combo you cant beat it!

    Reply

  19. #
    19
    brandi — March 31, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    cooking stuff in bacon grease is ALWAYS a good idea!

    My favorites are butternut squash, potatoes, eggs, and onions. Yum.

    Reply

  20. #
    20
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — March 31, 2011 @ 8:41 am

    Bacon grease or not, this looks amazing. I love caramelized onions!!

    Reply

  21. #
    21
    Amanda-The Nutritionist Reviews — March 31, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    That looks awesome! I bet that the bacon made the whole meal taste great.

    Reply

  22. #
    22
    Erica — March 31, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    What an interesting mix! I dunno whats with me- but the flavor of bacon has just never been one I enjoyed. The strawberries, spinach & creamy goat cheese sound pretty freaking awesome though! And throw in some orzo (my favorite pasta) and I’m sold! What a gorgeous meal

    Reply

  23. #
    23
    Nicole, RD — March 31, 2011 @ 9:04 am

    Best-looking recipe I’ve seen in awhile! I do believe I’ll have to make this :)

    Reply

  24. #
    24
    Miranda — March 31, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    This looks awesome, and rest assured, the title was enough to drag me in here!

    Reply

  25. #
    25
    Naomi — March 31, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    ohh yowwwza…I dont eat bacon but man that looks good if I did! :) beautiful pictures!! xo

    Reply

  26. #
    26
    Justeen @ Blissful Baking — March 31, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    Lovely salad – so many wonderful tastes and textures!

    Reply

  27. #
    27
    Kim in MD — March 31, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    Holy deliciousness…that salad looks amazing! :-)

    Reply

  28. #
    28
    Mel @ omgawesome.net — March 31, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    Drool.

    Looks perfect, as always. On my way to the grocery store now, brainstorming noms. I definitely think spinach and strawberries are going to be added to the list.

    Reply

  29. #
    29
    Amanda @ The Artsy Kitchen — March 31, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    I think I could even get my husband to eat this, it looks amazing, I love adding warm ingredients to a salad, makes it so much better!

    Reply

  30. #
    30
    shannon — March 31, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    Bacon and strawberries in the same dish is definitely something I would NEVER think of but it sounds fabulous since I love both of them. And toasting pecans in bacon grease?! You are a genius!

    Reply

  31. #
    31
    Katie — March 31, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    So many good things in there! Unfortunately, bacon is on my gag list right now (I know, the horror!), but hopefully my taste buds get with the program soon. :-)

    Reply

    • Jessica — March 31st, 2011 @ 10:24 am

      Oh my. I’m sad for you. If that happens to me I don’t know what I will do.

      Reply

  32. #
    32
    Salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle) — March 31, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    Do they make GF orzo? If so I’m getting some and making this salad asap….looks right up my alley :-)

    Reply

    • Jessica — March 31st, 2011 @ 10:24 am

      Not sure – but you could try another grain!

      Reply

  33. #
    33
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — March 31, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    Oh my, this looks absolutely fantastic!!!!

    Reply

  34. #
    34
    Melissa — March 31, 2011 @ 9:52 am

    I am salivating. My mom used to make a warm bacon salad when I was a kid & we would hunt for the “gold” when we were dishing it up–gotta have the prem-o bacon bowl! This takes me back for sure. Now I need to make this recipe!

    Reply

    • Jessica — March 31st, 2011 @ 10:24 am

      That sounds like what I do now… :)

      Reply

  35. #
    35
    Kath — March 31, 2011 @ 9:54 am

    WOW – I love that flavor combo!!

    Reply

  36. #
    36
    Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food — March 31, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    This looks SO good! So colorful! :-)

    Reply

  37. #
    37
    Karly — March 31, 2011 @ 10:11 am

    It’s like you’re speaking right to my soul.

    Reply

  38. #
    38
    Lauren @ Hungry Child in the City — March 31, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    This looks amazing! I’m a shameless bacon lover as well, and this looks delish!

    Reply

  39. #
    39
    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — March 31, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    I love berries in salad! I never thought to pair with orzo though. Orzo is perhaps one of my favorite things…ever! Can’t wait to try this one out!

    Reply

    • Jessica — March 31st, 2011 @ 10:23 am

      I love it too!

      Reply

  40. #
    40
    Kristi @ KristiAteIt — March 31, 2011 @ 10:19 am

    Now THIS is a salad that I can make at home at my boyfriend will eat! It looks amazing.

    Reply

  41. #
    41
    Jessica — March 31, 2011 @ 10:23 am

    Could you fit more things I love into this meal? Eh, peanut butter probably wouldn’t quite compliment the goats cheese. Making this ASAP and already mentally eating it. Thanks for the fantastic idea :)

    Reply

    • Jessica — March 31st, 2011 @ 10:26 am

      Hahaha I know! I just kept throwing things in.

      Reply

  42. #
    42
    HeatherChristo — March 31, 2011 @ 10:31 am

    Very, very pretty. Terribly creative. Nice work re-inventing the salad!

    Reply

  43. #
    43
    Kelly — March 31, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    Wow.

    Reply

  44. #
    44
    Jess — March 31, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    looks heavenly, the blending of flavors and textures is just right. i would totally order this in a restaurant. also don’t feel bad about not sharing, would mr. sweet really have tried this? there is no chicken after all:)

    Reply

  45. #
    45
    Biz — March 31, 2011 @ 10:51 am

    That looks delicious! Anything with bacon, and I am in – one question, is the 1/2 cup of uncooked orzo cooked on the side, and then added at the end?

    Definitely putting this on my lunch menu next week! Thanks Jessica – and I am happy that you are able to embrace the veggies in this dish! :D

    Reply

  46. #
    46
    Biz — March 31, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    NEVERMIND! It helps to read all the words! :D Got it.

    Reply

  47. #
    47
    Meegan — March 31, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    This would be a good salad to have a poached egg on top, the yolk and bacon grease, yummo. But, I would probably remove the strawberries. I don’t know if egg yolk and strawberries would go well together.

    Looks so good!

    Reply

  48. #
    48
    Jessica A — March 31, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    My name is Jessica and I am a bacoholic.

    I love bacon too. Between my husband and I were went through 3 packs of bacon on our honeymoon…
    That okay right? I mean…it was our honeymoon. :\

    Reply

  49. #
    49
    Rachel (Olalliberry) — March 31, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    I never would have thought to put strawberries in a warm spinach salad, but I love the idea! Everything is better when sauteed in bacon grease IMO.

    Reply

  50. #
    50
    Katrina — March 31, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    Great looking salad! Love this :)

    Reply

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