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Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds

November 20, 2012
by Shannon Hepburn


Anticipating the feasting to come, something a bit lighter might be appealing. I thought I could find sumac, a spice commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking, at my local co-op.  No such luck. Regardless, I forged ahead and substituted lemon zest, not the same but a worthy stand-in.  I’ll continue my search for sumac and make the salad again…


Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small pitas, roughly torn into 1½ inch pieces
  • ⅓ cup whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sumac or substitute 1½ teaspoons lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 ounces baby spinach leaves - about 4 cups
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
  • salt
  1. Put the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain away any residual vinegar and discard.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring all of the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac or lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.
  3. When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion, the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.
  4. Serves 2 generously