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
Autumn Chopped Salad
Barely adapted from Espresso & Cream
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)
- 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.
- 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!)