Have you ever eaten a warm salad? If not, this easy sausage salad recipe with wilted spinach just might make you a fan. I hadn’t ever heard of a warm salad until I traveled to Austria and sampled a delicious version in a small Salzburg restaurant. After a day of seeing touristy sights with my parents, we were exhausted and hungry. The restaurant was a quaint neighborhood establishment frequented by the locals. We were seated family-style with people we didn’t know. They were very friendly, and the warm sausage salad was delicious. I devoured the generous portion, but had forgotten about warm salad until my memory was triggered by another fabulous restaurant experience.
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Have You Ever Tried a Recipe You Found on the Back of a Condiment Bottle?
When we traveled to the Oregon Coast recently, we had a spectacular fish and chips experience at a restaurant in Yachats called the Luna Sea Fish House. While we were waiting for our food to be served, I happened to notice a recipe for warm sausage salad on the back of the malt vinegar bottle. Suddenly, my Salzburg warm sausage salad experience came flooding back into my memory, and I took a picture of the recipe to try later. There are many sausage salad recipes out there, so this wasn’t an exact replica of my Salzburg sausage salad, but it was close.
Another Little Fun Story
Do you have time for a little funny story I remembered as I was reminiscing about my lovely Salzburg sausage salad? If not, go ahead and skip on down to the recipe. I just have to mention something else besides the salad that was very memorable. As noted previously, we were seated with people we didn’t know. They were local Salzburg residents, and were very interested in what we thought of their delightful city.
The sweet lady across from me asked, “What did you like most?” Since I am a huge fan of the movie The Sound of Music, I responded, “Oh, the music.” (I was thinking of “Raindrops on Roses” and other tunes from the movie, of course.) This dear, sweet lady nodded and said, “Ah, Mozart.” Well, you guys, I had entirely forgotten about Mozart. How could I forget about him? We had stopped to see his birthplace, for goodness sake. So I just nodded back and said, “Yes, Mozart was amazing,” or something like that. I felt very silly, shallow, and touristy. It was a good lesson in differing perspectives. Thanks for indulging me in my trip down memory lane. Now, on to the recipe for warm sausage salad!
Warm Wilted Spinach Sausage Salad Recipe Ingredients
Even though we had our warm sausage salad in Austria, the recipe I adapted from the back of the malt vinegar bottle called for Italian sausage. Since I like to have leftovers, I doubled most of the ingredients and increased the quantity of spinach per serving.
1 pound Italian sausage
1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds
4 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
2/3 cup malt vinegar
1 red pepper, sliced into rings
4 green onions, sliced
4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
8 cups torn spinach leaves or torn Swiss chard
Warm Wilted Spinach Sausage Salad Directions
Brown the Italian sausage in a large skillet along with the caraway seeds and the garlic. While the sausage cooks, slice the red pepper and green onions. After the sausage is cooked, stir in the dried basil and the malt vinegar. Let simmer n the stovetop, uncovered, for 5 minutes. It will smell very tempting! While the sausage mixture is simmering, gather four bowls for serving the salad. Wilt the spinach by placing two cups of spinach in each bowl, and cooking each bowl in the microwave for one minute. If you decide to cook two bowls together, increase the microwave cooking time to 1 and 1/2 minutes.
When the sausage mixture has simmered for 5 minutes, remove it from the heat. Top each bowl of wilted spinach with 1/4 of the sausage mixture, then add the red peppers and green onions to each bowl. Top with sliced, fresh mushrooms, if using. Makes 4 main-dish servings.
Tips for Making a Wilted Spinach Salad
It really is easy to wilt spinach in the microwave. The basic wilted spinach recipe is to cook the spinach for one minute in the microwave. Just keep in mind that the spinach will reduce in size by quite a bit. That’s why I like to be very generous with the amount of fresh, torn spinach leaves I place in each bowl. You may find you want to add even more spinach to this wilted spinach salad recipe.
Easy Wilted Spinach Sausage Salad
- large skillet
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds
- 4 cloves minced garlic or granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ⅔ cup malt vinegar
- 1 red pepper, sliced into rings
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 4 fresh mushrooms, sliced optional
- 8 cups torn spinach leaves or Swiss chard
- Brown the Italian sausage in a large skillet along with the caraway seeds and the garlic.
- While the sausage cooks, slice the red pepper and green onions.
- After the sausage is cooked, stir in the dried basil and the malt vinegar.
- Let simmer on the stovetop, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- While the sausage mixture is simmering, gather four bowls for serving the salad.
- Wilt the spinach by placing two cups of spinach in each bowl, and cooking each bowl for one minute. If you decide to cook two bowls together, increase the microwave cooking time to 1 and 1/2 minutes.
- When the sausage mixture has simmered for 5 minutes, remove it from the heat.
- Top each bowl of wilted spinach with 1/4 of the sausage mixture, then add the red peppers and green onions to each bowl.
- Top with sliced, fresh mushrooms, if using.
What is the Difference Between Spinach and Swiss Chard?
Spinach and Swiss chard may be used interchangeably. Spinach has more nutritional value, but Swiss chard holds its shape a bit better and is quite colorful. One year in our vegetable garden I grew Swiss chard because it looked so pretty. I had no idea what to do with it, though. So if you like to grow Swiss chard for its looks and aren’t sure how to use it, now you have a Swiss chard recipe idea.
Can I Make This Into a Cold Sausage Salad?
If you want to eat the salad cold, let the wilted spinach and warm sausage mixture cool. Layer all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve it.
How Do I Serve Leftover Warm Sausage Salad?
If you like the idea of having a warm sausage salad for another night’s dinner, you can store the leftover sausage mixture in the refrigerator. Keep the red pepper and green onions stored separately in another container. If you already wilted some extra spinach, that can go in its own container. When you are ready to serve dinner, just heat the spinach and the sausage in the microwave (separately). Layer the wilted spinach on the bottom of a bowl, then top with the sausage, red pepper and green onions.
How do I Make this Wilted Spinach Sausage Salad Spicier?
The Italian sausage will already have a bit of a spicy flavor. To increase the spice factor, add a few red pepper flakes. You could also add a bit of Tabasco sauce.
Chicken Sausage Salad Recipe
For a lower fat version of this sausage salad, you could try warm chicken sausage salad. Just use chicken sausage and adjust the spices to suit your taste. You could add in some additional basil, caraway seeds and garlic if you needed a little more flavor.
Can Other Vinegar Be Substituted for the Malt Vinegar?
I learned that malt vinegar can be a little tricky to find. If you don’t have any malt vinegar on hand, you can always use balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar. The flavor will be slightly different, but still delicious.
What Goes Well with Warm Sausage Salad?
One of the most versatile side dishes that would pair nicely with this warm sausage salad recipe is a pan of roasted red skin potatoes. A dish of homemade applesauce would also go well. For dessert, you could enjoy a warm apple crisp or blueberry cobbler.
More Salads to Try
If you appreciate a good main dish salad, you might want to try this easy taco salad recipe. Chicken ramen noodle salad is another hearty main dish option. I always feel like I’m doing something good for myself when I have a salad for dinner.
Are You Excited to Make Warm Sausage Salad with Wilted Spinach?
Have you gotten some good sausage salad recipe ideas? If you decide to try this warm sausage salad recipe, take a picture and tag me on Instagram. I’ll feature the photo in my Instagram story.
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