Spinach Salad w/ Dates & Almonds

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I’ve had a lot of salads in my life so I feel like I can say (with some authority) that this salad ranks high up there as one of the best salads I’ve ever made. It has everything I love in a salad— onions that aren’t too sharp & potent, sweetness from dried fruits (dates!), crunchy almonds (that almost taste like bacon!) and crunchy flavorful carby pita chips!

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

Who doesn’t love a salad that has toasted bread in it?!!  All of the flavors here marry into something remarkable. You might find yourself making this twice…or three times in one week.

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

This is the first of MANY recipes I want to make from the Jerusalem Cookbook; I’m a little late on adding it to my cookbook collection.  Better late than never!  I think I have fallen in love with this book most similarly to how I fell hard for Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis. Both cookbooks are filled with all the foods I want to eat all the time with the people I love.

And we’re off!

Ingredient gathering.

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

First we marinate the dates & sliced red onion in a bowl with white wine vinegar.

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

In a pan we brown pita & almonds in a butter/olive oil mixture.

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

After the pita is golden brown, we stir in red pepper flakes & sumac. HELLO FLAVOR. Set aside to cool.

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

Pita/almond mixture meets spinach.

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

After a little tossing the onion date mixture meets everything else.

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

Lemon squeezes…

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

and olive oil drizzles and we’re off!

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

This is the ULTIMATE.

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

Serves 4. But in my life it served 2.

Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds // shutterbean

 

We like our salads big & hearty around these parts.

Spinach Salad w/ Dates & Almonds

serves 4
recipe adapted slightly from the Jerusalem Cookbook

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 Medjool dates, quartered length-wise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small pitas, roughly torn into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole raw/unsalted almonds
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 oz. baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon

Put the vinegar, onion and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and half the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 4-6 minutes, striring all the time, until pita is crunch and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.

When ready to serve, toss spinach leaves with with the pita mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion mixture, the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

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31 Comments

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  • June 3, 2013

    I JUST got Jerusalem and I am in love with it, too! I immediately went out and got some sumac in preparation…had to! The salad looks amazing, and I totally agree on the hearty salads front.

    • Tracy
      June 3, 2013

      Isn’t it the best?!!!! So excited to try out all the stuff in there.

  • June 3, 2013

    I love the pita and toasty almonds in here! I just post a salas today with homemade pita chips in it! I gues we were both feeling the pita in our salads!
    Oh and we like BIG salada around here too!

  • This salad rocks! Love every single ingredient in there!

  • jenny
    June 3, 2013

    I’ve been craving this salad ever since tim of lottie&doof made it, but I haven’t been able to find sumac anywhere. where did you get yours, tracy?

    • Tracy
      June 3, 2013

      Me too! Tim’s pictures made me buy that book. I get mine at Whole Foods.

  • June 3, 2013

    You had me at almonds that taste like bacon. YUM!

    • Tracy
      June 3, 2013

      hehehe.

  • June 3, 2013

    Oh Jerusalem! My favourite cookbook by far. You HAVE to try the chicken with cardamom rice and fresh herbs. I cooked it almost every week this winter.

    • Tracy
      June 3, 2013

      Oh my TO DO LIST!!!! It looks bonkers!

      • June 3, 2013

        I actually had problems the first time I made it because in the recipe he has you cook the chicken and rice in a pan on the stovetop – the chicken was still raw by the time the rice was cooked. So the next time I made it I put everything in a dutch oven and cooked it in the oven instead (like in your coconut curry chicken recipe). It comes out perfect every time that way.

  • June 3, 2013

    Oh my heart is melting at the site of this gorgeous salad. I’ve never had Sumac before though, so I’m curious as to how it tastes.

    • Tracy
      June 3, 2013

      Sumac has a lemony quality to it. I use it a lot in my Greek salads. IT’S AMAZING.

  • Maggie
    June 3, 2013

    I’m currently in the promise of adding more salads to my repertoire. So this will be happening (minus the butter – I’m one of those vegans). Soon.

    And I hear you on the serving size. Whenever a salad recipe says “serves one,” I laugh. Loudly. (unless it’s kblog.lunchboxbunch.com, because she understands)

    • Tracy
      June 3, 2013

      You could totally use earth balance (or whatever vegan butter sub you like) OR just use a little more olive oil. Either way…totally delicious.

  • June 3, 2013

    This sounds totally awesome.

  • June 3, 2013

    Oh man, this sounds incredible! Kind of like a sweet/savory spin on fattoush salad. If I only had a dollar for every time a 4 serving recipe only served 2 :)

    • Tracy
      June 3, 2013

      EXACTLY!!!

  • Jenna
    June 3, 2013

    I love this salad, it’s so good! I think you linked to it on another site in one of your Friday links & I made it straight away (that was during our summer so it was perfect timing, although there’s not any reason I can’t make it now it’s winter here). I didn’t think I would like the dates but they’re perfect!

    • Tracy
      June 3, 2013

      Yes!! I saw it on Lottie & Doof way back. I’m glad you liked it!

  • Beth
    June 3, 2013

    I love the balance of greens to carbs in this salad, I always want a little crunch and something to really sink my teeth into when I’m eating salad, and this looks perfect! Can’t wait to try it for my lunch this week, yum!

  • June 3, 2013

    This is so unique! I’ve never thought of putting dates in a salad before. Especially marinating them. This is so not your average spinach salad and I love it.

  • June 3, 2013

    You know that you’ve found the cookbook you want when you want to eat everything off the pages every single day. I have found one or two in my short lifetime for now. Glad you found yours! I love salads very much but my man of a husband needs rice and rice and rice for almost all meals. Perhaps I can half the recipe and make my own dinner. I love hearty big salads myself. ;-)

  • June 4, 2013

    That flavor combination sounds divine! I’m making this, this week for sure!

  • I’ve made this salad before. It is CRAZY good.

  • June 4, 2013

    I am in love with that cookbook too – everything I’ve made has been delicious. There is a celery salad you’ll love and the Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar was a hit at our thanksgiving and Christmas! I can’t wait to make this – I have all the ingredients! YUM.

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  • June 8, 2013

    [...] Spinach Salad w/ Dates & Almonds – Shutterbean ♥♥♥ [...]

  • [...] am trying to make heartier salads for Marc with the beautiful greens from our CSA and I made Tracy’s Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds. The toasted almonds and pita with sumac is something I want [...]

  • [...] and be transported into another world.  I love that. When I got this book, I immediately made Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds. If you don’t have a copy, I highly recommend getting one! It’s one of those books [...]

  • [...] Spinach Salad w/ Dates & Almonds – Shutterbean ♥♥♥ [...]

  • […] am trying to make heartier salads for Marc with the beautiful greens from our CSA and I made Tracy’s Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds. The toasted almonds and pita with sumac is something I want […]