Lauren Seaver had us with the first three ingredients in her salad: bacon, chicken and avocado. What is there not to love? This combination is not new to most of you, in fact, you might even throw it into salads all the time. But if it’s been awhile, let us remind you how insanely delicious this simple combination is.
Crispy, salty bacon is a perfect topping for cool, creamy avocado and the chicken thighs seared in bacon fat take on a deep, rich flavor that chicken doesn’t always have. It’s a comforting and satisfying combination, familiar ingredients that each take on a new dimension of flavor when paired with the others. You can toss this salad with any green you like, but there is something especially tasty about the combination of crisp romaine lettuce with bacon. While not a “dark, leafy” green, romaine still packs a nice nutritional punch and pretty much everyone loves the mild flavor, which makes it a good choice if you’re serving this salad to others (like picky family members).
Lauren turns the flavor dial up a notch by garnishing with chopped walnuts, red onion and apple. Like any good garnish, this heightens the flavor in the salad and adds texture. You get a little sweetness, a little crunchiness and a nice bite from the red onion. All in all, this is exactly the type of salad that satisfies our hunger and provides the type of protein and good fat we all need to get through the day.
For dressing, you can use any vinaigrette you like, or even just a drizzle of olive oil. If you want to try something new, however, Lauren has included her favorite Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette.
Servings: Approx. 4
1/4 pound bacon, or 4-5 slices, cut into 1/2 inch bits
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 2 inch pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 avocado – peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped walnut
1 apple – cut into 1 inch chunks (optional)
In a pan over medium heat, cook the bacon “bits” until crisp.
Remove and set aside, but save the bacon grease in the pan. Next, add the chopped and seasoned chicken thighs to the pan and sauté in the bacon grease. Cook the chicken and turn so that every side is browned.
Allow it to simmer over low heat while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Toss the chopped romaine, avocado, chicken and bacon together. Top with red onion, walnuts and apple. Dress with your favorite vinaigrette, or use Lauren’s:
Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon apple cider
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mustard
pinch black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix all ingredients except olive oil (using a whisk, food processor, or blender). Slowly add in olive oil drop by drop to make an emulsion (like you would when making mayo) until it is all incorporated.