Autumn Chopped Salad

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Autumn Chopped Salad highlights beautiful fall flavors like sweet pears, crisp apples, crunchy roasted peanuts, and chewy dried cranberries.

Got room for one more fall recipe? :)

Say hello to my little giant friend, the Autumn Chopped Salad!

Chopped salads are big, entree-sized salads where all the ingredients have been, you guessed it, chopped into bite-sized pieces, then tossed with dressing until every morsel is uniformly coated and ready to be shoveled into your face. I mean, eaten. Delicately, eaten.

Autumn Chopped Salad is a chopped salad that contains all the ingredients that make autumn wonderful, including sweet pears, crisp apples, crunchy roasted peanuts, chewy dried cranberries, and bacon. I suppose bacon isn’t inherently autumnal (love that word,) but hello, it’s bacon. Do we need an excuse to throw it into a salad? The answer is no. No. We. Don’t!

You may have seen the recipe for Autumn Chopped Salad from the doll that is Madison of Espresso & Cream floating around Pinterest for the past couple of years – and for good reason. The toppings-to-lettuce ratio is off the charts (a MUST for any entree-sized salad,) and the combo of sweet and salty is so satisfying. Plus, I repeat, there’s bacon. You will love this quick and filling salad recipe!

Start the Autumn Chopped Salad by adding 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce in a big bowl. A VERY BIG BOWL. The biggest one you’ve got!

Then microwave 3 slices center-cut bacon until crisp. I choose to microwave vs pan-fry bacon whenever I can because, well, pan-frying is a pain in ass. There. I said it! Here’s my muss/fuss-free way to microwave bacon with perfect results every time:

Lay bacon strips on a folded paper towel on a microwave-safe plate, then cover with another folded paper towel. Microwave for 1 minute then rotate the plate 1/4 turn and microwave for 30 more seconds. Continue rotating and cooking in 30 second increments until the bacon is nice and crisp, about 2-3 minutes, then let it cool and chop it up. Done!

While the bacon’s cooling, start chopping the rest of the autumnal (there’s that word again!) toppings for the salad, including 1 pear. Whatever variety is your fave – bartlett, bosch, asian, etc. – is perfect.

Next chop up 1 apple. This here is an organic Pink Lady. A juicy Honeycrisp would be the ULTIMATE, but they’re still $3.99/lb ’round these parts, which I’m not desperate enough to pay…yet.

To the lettuce, pear, and apple, add 1/4 cup each dried cranberries, chopped peanuts, and crumbled feta cheese.

Toss in the slightly cooled bacon, then it’s time to get dressed!

Madison recommends dressing the salad in a mixture of poppy seed salad dressing and balsamic vinaigrette, which I thought was brilliant – I always forget about PSD! I didn’t have any balsamic vinaigrette in the house, so I just threw a shot of balsamic vinegar into the mix, and it turned out awesome.

Give the salad a thorough toss to coat every bite in the dressing mixture (this is where having a BIG bowl comes in handy!) then divide between 2 big plates and shovel enjoy. :)

Autumn Chopped Salad

Print this recipe!

Serves 2

Barely adapted from Espresso & Cream

Ingredients:
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 slices center-cut bacon
1 pear, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup Poppy Seed Salad Dressing (or more or less)
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or more or less)

Directions:

  1. Lay bacon strips down on a folded paper towel on a microwave-safe plate, then cover with another folded paper towel. Microwave for 1 minute then rotate the plate 1/4 turn and microwave for 30 more seconds. Continue rotating and cooking in 30 second increments until the bacon is crisp, then let cool and chop up.
  2. Add cooled bacon, romaine lettuce, pear, apple, peanuts, dried cranberries, and feta cheese into a very large bowl, then add salad dressing and balsamic vinegar to taste. Toss well then serve immediately.

A feast for the eyes, and the stomach! Ben and I licked our bowls clean when I made this for dinner the other night, although we both had different ways of getting there…

Ben eats all his toppings first then uses the lettuce to “fill in the cracks”, while I prefer to eat all the lettuce first and save all the yummy toppings for “dessert”. To each their own, I suppose.  ;)

Enjoy this delicious recipe, guys! (Oh, and, if you couldn’t tell, Target just stocked their $1 aisle with fall-themed decor, hence the explosion of autumnal (…) props in today’s photos. I was like a kid in a candy store!)

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Comments

  1. I eat the salads the same way you do – save the best parts for last. :-)

  2. FitBritt 09.24.2012

    Like always, love this recipe! I am in awe of your recipe talent. I mentioned you own my own blog for your talent in food photography! I wish I had your talent! http://www.myownbalance.com/2012/09/21/end-of-summer-light-cooking/

  3. This looks amazing. Will definitely be trying!

  4. RebeccaS 09.24.2012

    Am serving this up at my next mom’s lunch…For sure. Looks AMAZING! I’m sad I have to wait a week. Maybe I better try it out first. :)

  5. yummy! I used to eat salad with cranberries and feta cheese on top all the time! This way sounds sooooo much better! PIN! (:

  6. KristinP 09.24.2012

    I’ve never understood the Honeycrisp pricing trends. When I was in Minneapolis, they regularly cost $3.99/lb and MN *grows* apples for crying out loud. Now I live in Colorado, with nary an apple tree in sight and they’re $2.29/lb. So weird.

  7. Morgan H 09.24.2012

    I’ve been sick and appetite-less since this weekend, and this photo just made my mouth water and stomach grumble. I can’t wait to try it! It looks perfectly like fall

  8. Love all of the beautiful Fall inspired photos! This salad looks like a burst of Fall for the mouth….yum!

  9. Basil 09.24.2012

    Love love love huge salads! This one looks great!

  10. Sara 09.24.2012

    Oh buddy I make something like this where I work and add grilled turkey breast and brie. So YUM and perfect for fall!

  11. Susie 09.24.2012

    Have you had the chicken chopped salad at Redstone when you have been to MN? SO YUMMY! Your salad looks very similar.

  12. Lauren 09.24.2012

    I just had Panera’s Roasted Turkey Harvest Salad yesterday and thought to myself, “I could totally recreate this at home 10x better.” I think you did just that! :) Looks perfect!

  13. Kristen 09.24.2012

    This looks almost like our dinner last night! I didn’t have pear, used turkey bacon and crumbled bleu cheese, and a honey/balsamic dressing I made myself. We both had giant plates but it was so good–and good for us!

  14. Mollie 09.24.2012

    I stocked up on honeycrisps last week when Fareway had em on sale for $1.99! I was so excited!
    This salad is right up my alley! All my favorite things!

  15. anna maria 09.24.2012

    you haven’t posted any pics of yourself, or anything about the delicious fall brews that are out. are you expecting?!?!?!?

  16. Trisha 09.24.2012

    This looks super tasty. My favorite part of a salad is the last few bites, where a little bit of everything has sort of crumbled at the bottom of the bowl so each bite has a morsel of each individual flavor. But getting the majority of the lettuce out of the way first is a MUST.
    My pocketbook reeeeally wishes you hadn’t told me about the autumnal fun at Target…

  17. I am waiting for honeycrisp to go on sale too! I’m thinking I need to talk to Hyvee about it.
    And I agree on the cooking bacon in the microwave – I never pan fry it.

  18. I got to try this salad and fast now that they are saying there is a shortage of bacon!

  19. Hannah-lyz 09.25.2012

    This definately looks like my kind of salad! I love the use of the word Autumnal too! Fall just doesn’t cut it I think. Autumn just sounds so much more…cozy!
    Also, that Bryanna’s Poppy Seed dressing is my mothers Favourite, she has it on everything! We can’t really get it in the UK, so my dad imports boxes of the stuff!! She once had to trek half a mile down their lane in the snow, and cart the heavy box back up the hill, because the posman couldn’t make it up their lane! Now that’s a serious love for salad dressing!

  20. I will be eating this asap. Nothing is better than a salad with 3 times more toppings than lettuce. But who are we kidding, you had me at bacon. Thanks!

  21. Hahah I eat all the lettuce first too!! The toppings are totally best when saved for last :)

  22. Anne Weber-Falk 09.25.2012

    This salad is being printed out, in Color, as I write. It’s going on the fridge so I can make this all season long. My favorite way to eat this is to make sure I have some of everything on the fork. The flavors and textures together in my mouth as I crunch away…yum! Thanks for another great recipe and all the ideas that go with it.

  23. Rach 09.25.2012

    Oh Yum!!! your blog is some serious food porn!!! haha

    xo Rach
    rachiecakes-rachael.blogspot.com

  24. Sara 09.25.2012

    I just found this recipe on Pinterest a few months ago – it looks delcious! Now I have to try it! I love the dollar section at Target too – you never know what you might find! :)

  25. Renea B. 09.25.2012

    I want one right now!! Yum.

  26. Pretty salad!!

  27. This looks sooo hearty and delicious! Even though I’m usually a “dessert for last” type of gal (e.g. I ALWAYS eat the marshmallows last out of my Lucky Charms!), when it comes to salads, I am more of a fan of all my bites including an equal ratio of lettuce-to-topping..

    I can’t believe I just broke that down for all the internet to see….Yay for foodnerds?

  28. I agree…good toppings are a must for a great salad! Can’t just have a big pile o’ lettuce. Can’t wait to try this one :)

  29. LOVE big salads like this!
    I was just complaining the other day about restaurant side salads – there seems to be a plethora of places that mix lettuce and grated carrot together and call it a side salad. Pathetic!

  30. Life's a Bowl 09.25.2012

    So much YUM in one bowl! One bowl, one serving?! If I made it I don’t think I would be good at sharing [hehe] :P

  31. Cathy 09.25.2012

    I’m going to the local farmstand to get some apples and pears to make this tasty salad!! BTW, saw the end of THE CHEW today and I think Chef Morimoto was on it. Guest chefs had made cakes and he made a Sushi cake.

  32. Ellen 09.25.2012

    I’m a new reader, and I LOVE your recipes! I’ve tried a couple of them, including this salad tonight; so, so good! Thanks for sharing them! :)

  33. Gravel Naperville 09.25.2012

    What a gorgeous salad! Absolutely beautiful and full of color and flavor!

  34. Julia 09.25.2012

    Love this combination of flavors! Your photos look gorgeous!

  35. Ruth 09.25.2012

    I saw this recipe yesterday and had to try it for lunch today! I reduced the bacon and added chicken for some extra protein. It was delicious!

  36. [...] autumn chopped salad. /* [...]

  37. sunshine 09.28.2012

    This was delicious!

  38. [...] Bacon-cheddar cornbread >>> cheddar cornbread!Favorite crunch: Honeycrisps. Well, I finally caved. Soooooo worth it! These might have been the best, most crisp and sweet Honeycrisps I’ve ever [...]

  39. [...] Autumn Chopped Salad (Iowa Girl Eats) I love a lot of “stuff” in my salads (a la Elaine from Seinfeld) and this one is right up my alley! [...]

  40. I always save the best parts of a salad for last. This looks amazing! Definitely bookmarking :)

  41. Rachael 09.29.2012

    I made this. It was absolutely delicious! Thanks for posting.

  42. Chris 09.30.2012

    I made this last night and it was a HIT!

  43. I just had a salad like this at a friend’s house recently and it was fantastic! Her version also had avocado which gave it a nice creaminess, but I love the addition of pears in this version. And mixing balsamic and poppy seed dressing together? Stroke.of.genius.

    And let’s all just agree…bacon transcends seasons. :)

  44. Darlene 10.05.2012

    Even the spouse said, “This salad is really good!” That has happened with every recipe from this blog I have tried thus far! High praise! I keep coming back for recipes….;0)

  45. Hannah 10.07.2012

    I just made this for lunch and it was amazing! Super easy and delicious.

  46. [...] wraps w/ ground turkey Tuesday: Out to eat with a friend Wednesday: chicken fajitas Thursday: Autumn Chopped Salad ( I never made it this past week.) Friday: Out to eat/ wing [...]

  47. [...] that I baked her some muffins: Apple Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Slather. HELP I CAN’T STOP MAKING FALL FOODS.If there was ever a time to play out a theme though, it’s now and [...]

  48. [...] autumn chopped salad recipe is great any time of the year, but especially in fall because of the seasonal apples and pears. On [...]

  49. j 10.23.2012

    Other than chicken, what would you add to this salad for some extra protein? It’s really good as is, but looking for different ways to make it solo I don’t get bored.

  50. [...] Monday night, I made Kristin’s Autumn Chopped Salad for dinner, and we had just enough leftover for one more entree salad. Since we seemed to have [...]

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