Hey, hey everybody! How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?
Spring was in the air on Friday so we invited my parents over for happy hour on the back deck to break in our new patio furniture (decent non-iPhone photos coming your way soon!) We had the patio heater running to take a bit of the chill out of the air but other than that, holy cow, patio weather perfection. The wine was flowing, Bob Marley was playing over the outdoor speakers…I think this little peanut’s face pretty much summed up the mood. Outdoor elation!!
We hit the town for errands and outdoor playtime on Saturday, then bummed around the house on Sunday. It was windy and a bit chilly but I was still craving an iced almond milk latte so the boys and I packed up to get me one from Mars Cafe. It was my first time there (travesty,) and wowza – awesome drink!!! Locals, it’s a must try if you haven’t been yet!
I also continued to check rooms off my spring cleaning list (laundry room, hall closet and kitchen – check!) on Sunday, pausing to write up the recipe for this gorgeous spring salad – Apple, Almond, Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Salad with warm bacon dressing!
I’ve run into no less than 3 readers in the past month who’ve said, I just love your salads! I do too, as evidenced by the bursting salad recipe selection here on IGE, and am so glad that salad season is back. Not to say that I don’t eat salads during the winter but 9 times out of 10 I’ll pick Smoked Sausage Gumbo over a bed of greens when there’s a foot of snow on the ground!
Anyway, this salad is perfect for kicking off your spring and summer salad eating extravaganzaaaaa. CRAZY crunchy and full of fresh, healthy ingredients (but dressed with a warm bacon dressing. I dieeeee.) I created the recipe as part of my partnership with Fisher Nuts, whom I’ve been developing recipes for over the past couple of years. This month we wanted to highlight fresh, spring flavors, and this salad fits the bill.
Shaved raw brussels sprouts and chopped whole almonds, who are battling it out for title of Captain CRUNCH (that is to say, they’re both very crunchy…) join salty bacon, sweet apple, and a decadent warm bacon dressing in this tasty, salty-sweet salad that you could serve as a light entree, or alongside grilled chicken or steak for a full meal.
I know some people may think of apple and brussels sprouts as fall flavors but hey, when I think spring I think anything fresh and healthy. Add some salty bacon and crunchy almonds into the mix and I guess I don’t care what time of year it is – I’m in!
Start by crisping 4 slices bacon in a large skillet over medium heat then remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve 3 Tablespoons bacon fat in the skillet, which we’ll use for the salad dressing, adding extra virgin olive oil if there’s not enough. Chop the bacon up when its cool enough to handle then set it aside.
By the way, if you’ve never had warm bacon dressing before – don’t be scared. It’s deeeelicious, and the bacon fat just takes the place of extra virgin olive oil (a fat) in the salad dressing, adding loads of salty, smokey bacon flavor. YUM.
While the bacon is crisping up, get to work prepping the brussels sprouts. Chop the ends off 8oz brussels sprouts then peel away any loose outer leaves. We’ll need to finely slice them up so fit a food processor with the slicing blade and zip ’em through.
If you don’t have a food processor you can use a mandolin or thinly slice with a sharp knife. You just want to slice them as thin as possible since they’re raw in this salad. Yes, you can totally eat brussels sprouts raw (give this salad a try if you don’t believe me!)
Add the brussels sprouts to a large bowl with the chopped bacon, and 1/4 cup Fisher Naturals whole almonds that have been roughly chopped. Not only do the chopped almonds add lots of crunch to the salad, but a subtly sweet flavor that plays nicely off the apples. If you’ve ever had apple slices with almond butter then you know what I mean!
Ok – back to the bacon! To the 3 Tablespoons reserved bacon fat, add 1 Tablespoon minced shallot then saute until tender, 2 minutes. Next, remove the skillet from the heat then add 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (could use red wine vinegar,) 1 Tablespoon each honey and Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Place the skillet back over the heat then whisk until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds. Drizzle the dressing over the salad then toss with tongs to coat.
The warm dressing will cause the raw brussels sprouts to soften slightly, plus give each bite amazing salty-sweet and tangy flavor. I LOVE this dressing!!
Last step is to add 1 chopped red apple to the bowl then toss again to combine. Scoop onto plates then serve!
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Apple, Almond, Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Salad
Apple, Almond, Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Salad with warm bacon dressing is a fresh and springy salad with lots of crunch!
- 4 slices bacon
- 8oz brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
- 1/4 cup Fisher Naturals whole almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 Tablespoons shallot
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (could use red wine vinegar)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- 1 red apple, chopped (I like Pink Lady apples)
- Crisp bacon in a large skillet over medium heat then remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve 3 Tablespoons bacon grease in skillet (add extra virgin olive oil if there's not enough.) Chop or crumble bacon when cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, use the grating blade attachment on a food processor, mandolin, or very sharp knife to slice brussels sprouts very thin. Add to a large bowl with almonds and bacon then set aside.
- To the bacon grease, still over medium heat, add shallots then saute until tender, 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat then whisk in vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper (be careful, vinegar may spatter a bit.) Return skillet to heat then whisk until dressing is combined, 30 seconds. Pour over brussels sprouts mixture then toss well to coat. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Add chopped apple then toss again to mix, and then serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Crunchy, salty, fresh, and sweet – there is nothing boring or ordinary about this salad. I hope you enjoy!
Psst! For more spring recipes, check out these ideas from Alex Guarnaschelli, celebrity chef for Fisher Nuts!
Almond and Asparagus Crusted Grouper
Spring Toasted Almond Fruit Salad