This spinach and prosciutto salad is dressed up with a basil vinaigrette. A perfect way to celebrate early spring crops.
This salad was having a total identity crisis in my mind. It was almost a cobb – just short of chicken – and yet more than just spinach and prosciutto – I imagined the avocado being quite offended that it didn’t make it into the official recipe title. But, nonetheless, here we are, a published blog post and I’m still not sure on the title. At any rate, the flavors in this salad still taste the same (amazing) regardless of the name.
I started making this particular salad a few weeks ago when the early spring crops of spinach and basil were making their debut. And though tomatoes are technically a crop that comes later in the season, there are many farmers (backyard gardeners included!) who are on their game and have tomatoes ready early.
There is something quite magical about the combination of flavors in this salad. The buttery and almost sweet flavor from the prosciutto pair so incredibly well with the spinach and basil dressing, while the eggs and avocado bring depth and substance. And I couldn’t leave off cherry tomatoes, I just couldn’t.
The basil vinaigrette (vinaigrettes are basically dressings with oil and some form of vinegar) for this salad is incredibly versatile. If you have a little extra, which you probably will, mix it up with some salad greens at lunch or dinner the next day. A salad can be as simple as that. Boom. Done.
If you’re not too keen on making your own dressing. I’ve been there too. However, years ago, I grew tired of rinsing out and recycling bottles of half-used store-bought salad dressings. I had reached a breaking point. I decided at that point that I’d be making my own from now on. And, honestly, it’s really one of the fastest things you can do in your kitchen and has a HUGE upside in taste.
I hope you enjoy!
Special Diet Recipe Modifications:
- GAPS and SCD – Substitute apple cider vinegar for the balsamic.
- Whole30 – Omit the honey from the dressing.
- 4-5 oz baby or regular spinach (roughly 4 to 6 large handfuls)
- 2 oz prosciutto (4 slices), roughly chopped into large pieces *
- 1 avocado
- 4 hard boiled eggs (or less, if you prefer),
- ½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes (about ¾ cup), halved
- ½ cup packed basil (really packed)
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon honey (omit for Whole30)
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon sea or himalayan salt
- 1 tablespoon water (to thin out)
- Preheat oven to 400.
- To make hard-boiled eggs, place eggs in a small pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover the pot, and leave the eggs cooking in the warm water for 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes, drain the warm water carefully, and refill the pot with cold water to cool the eggs down. Remove the shells and halve the eggs when they are cool enough to touch.
- While the eggs are cooking, prepare the prosciutto and dressing.
- Prosciutto can be eaten right out of the package, but if you'd like to make the "chip" version, place the pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes. Remove the prosciutto from the oven and place the pieces on a baking rack to cool. (If you leave them on the original baking sheet, they will not crisp up.)
- For the dressing, place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth, about 10-15 seconds. The dressing should be relatively thick. Add just enough water (1 tablespoon or so) to get the blender blades to turn.
- To serve, toss the spinach with the ½ of the dressing to start and then add more if desired. Plate the spinach and top with remaining salad ingredients. If you are able to digest dairy, parmesan regianno would be wonderful on top as well.