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Apple, Bacon, and Pecan Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Recipe slightly adapted from Lauren's Latest.


Scrolling through past posts, I recently realized that I've gone well over two years without posting a single (true) salad!  And sadly, I have no good excuse.  Besides the obvious health benefits, salads are great since they're so easy to throw together.  This recipe is one of my favorites due to the variety of textures, colors, and food groups used (not to mention the obvious combination of flavors).  As with any recipe, feel free to make it your own.  I used Granny Smith apples tossed in lemon juice to give it a tartness, but if you're a fan of another variety, go for it.  Not keen on the bacon?  What about adding raisins instead?  The choice is yours.

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups leaf lettuce (your favorite kind)
1 Granny Smith apple, washed, cored, and sliced
4 slices hickory smoked bacon, cooked and chopped
4 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
1 chicken breast, cooked and sliced
Lemon juice from half of a lemon

1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a small mixing bowl, toss the apple slices in the lemon juice to prevent any browning (oxidation) from occurring; reserve.  For the dressing, whisk the garlic, Dijon, and balsamic vinegar in a medium bowl.  Slowly add the olive oil while continuously whisking.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To assemble, start by putting half of the greens in a large bowl.  Add your desired amount of dressing (up to half of the total amount) and toss to coat.  [Side note:  when dressing a salad, you should always add just enough to coat the leaves - not the bottom of the bowl.  Remember, you can always add more dressing at the end, but you can't ever take away if there's too much].  Add the dressed greens to a serving plate.  Top with the sliced chicken and apple slices.  Finish by adding the toasted pecans and bacon, and dress with more of the vinaigrette if desired.

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