← Back to Search Results
Wilted Spinach Salad with Hazelnuts, Goat Cheese, and Golden Raisins

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 1


Wilting fresh spinach leaves just slightly is a really nice alternative to serving them utterly raw. Here, the wilting is done by dressings the leaves with heated oil, which cooks them slightly upon contact, tenderizing them perfectly. The oil is spiked with garlic and hazelnuts for flavor and texture, beautifully balanced by creamy-tangy goat cheese and the subtly sweetness of golden raisins. As you can see, this is a salad with no separate dressing, per se. Instead, the dressed salad comes together as you go, right in the bowl. Once assembled, this salad doesn’t keep well, so aim for putting it together just before serving. You can peel the garlic and chop the nuts well ahead of time, making the final preparations very quick.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


  • About ¾ pound baby spinach leaves (two 6-ounce bags), washed and well dried
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts (also known as filberts)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 good-sized clove)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup crumbed goat cheese (a 5-ounce package)
  • 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the spinach leaves in a large bowl. Break them into bite-sized pieces, if necessary, and remove the stems (or not, depending on your preference).

2. Pour the olive oil into a medium-small skillet and place it over low heat. Add the hazelnuts and cook, stirring intermittently for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden. Add the garlic during the last minute or so, cooking it slightly but not “frying” it. (Browning the garlic causes it to taste unpleasantly bitter.)

3. Drizzle this hot mixture directly over the spinach, scraping in as much of the oil as you can. (You can also toss some of the spinach back into the hot pan stirring it around to swab up any extra oil left behind.) Use tongs to toss the spinach until it is completely coated with the oil, and the nuts and garlic are well distributed. Sprinkle with the salt as you toss. Add the raisins and goat cheese, and mix well.

4. At the very end, sprinkle in the vinegar and toss until it is thoroughly distributed. Serve immediately, passing a pepper mill.


Get Creative

Use a high-quality olive oil for more flavor.

Use a good wine vinegar (such as sherry vinegar or Spanish Moscatel vinegar), one that is infused with fruit (such as raspberry vinegar), or cider vinegar.

Add a thinly sliced medium-sized tart green apple along with the raisins and cheese.

Slice 2 strips of bacon or pancetta into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Brown these in a small skillet over medium-high heat until they are crisp and nicely browned. Drain them on a paper towel and add them to the oil along with the garlic.

Chop a hard-boiled egg (see page 34) and sprinkle some over each serving- especially good if you’re adding bacon.

Top each serving with a still-warm, freshly poached egg- also fabulous with the addition of bacon.

Slice a small, perfectly ripe avocado and lay slices over each serving as a garnish.

Use 3 tablespoons dried cherries or cranberries instead of, or in addition to, the raisins.

Substitute pumpkin seeds or coarsely chopped almonds or walnuts- all lightly toasted- for the hazelnuts.

Make this vegan by omitting the goat cheese.

© Mollie Katzen

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on using 4 tablespoons of olive oil.

438kcal (22%)
171mg (17%)
26mg (43%)
496mcg RAE (17%)
16mg (5%)
272mg (11%)
8g (42%)
39g (60%)
5mg (25%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.
  • eve

    10.23.09 Flag comment

    This is a really tasty salad. It's one of the better versions of a wilted spinach salad because the greens stay relatively firm, not droopy or soggy. The add-ins are a good combination of flavors. It's fast and easy too.


Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

martin-yans-china Martin Yan's China
by Martin Yan
the-new-basics-cookbook The New Basics Cookbook
by Sheila Lukins, Julee Rosso
in-the-kitchen-with-david In the Kitchen with David
by David Venable
usa-cookbook U.S.A. Cookbook
by Sheila Lukins
hot-sour-salty-sweet Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
down-home-with-the-neelys-a-southern-family-cookbook Down Home with the Neelys: ...
by Gina Neely, Pat Neely
david-burkes-new-american-classics David Burke's New American ...
by David Burke, Judith Choate
baked-new-frontiers-in-baking Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito
rice Rice
by Bonnie Tandy Leblang, Joanne Lamb Hayes
fruits-of-the-harvest-recipes-to-celebrate-kwanzaa-and-other-holidays Fruits of the Harvest: Reci...
by Eric V. Copage
125-best-cupcake-recipes 125 Best Cupcake Recipes
by Julie Hasson
rosas-new-mexican-table-friendly-recipes-for-festive-meals Rosa's New Mexican Table: F...
by Roberto Santibanez
the-sushi-experience The Sushi Experience
by Hiroko Shimbo
cooking-with-too-hot-tamales Cooking with Too Hot Tamales
by Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger
nigella-express Nigella Express
by Nigella Lawson

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?