Apple Cheddar Pecan Salad

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I’m not a huge salad fan. I like restaurant salads, but homemade salads aren’t really my thing. They often taste too earthy and they never seem to have the correct amount of dressing. There are a few exceptions… anything with arugula, Kale Caesar Salad and this Apple Cheddar Pecan Salad. This salad is my go to for the fall, I love the refreshing fresh crunch the apples give. I’ve been making this salad for years and everyone who has tried it loves it.

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The homemade dressing on this salad really ties together the salad and really boosts the fall flavour. It has apple cider and pure maple syrup as two of the ingredients. I love to blend my dressings up in my magic bullet to emulsify the olive oil, but you can of course just use a whisk.

I like to serve this salad on the side of marinated chicken, or add a grilled chicken breast on top and take it to work for lunch. If you give it a try it will soon become your favourite fall salad.

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Cheddar Apple Pecan Salad

Yields: 6-8 Servings

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 8 Cups Baby Greens
  • 1 Apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 Cup of Pecans
  • 1/4 Cup of Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Dressing:

  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper

Directions:

In a blender, or small dish add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Blend or whisk until the dressing comes together and emulsifies.

Add baby greens, apples, pecans and cheese to a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

 

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Kale Caesar Salad

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We eat a lot of kale in my house. We sauté it, we put it in smoothies, and it into soups and casseroles. And of course we make salads out of it. When it comes to kale salads I am partial to a creamy dressing since kale can be such a tough green.

For a while I was buying a creamy parmesan dressing from the store for my kale salads. Making a creamy dressing at home seamed fussy and intimidating, but now that I’ve made this recipe I can’t go back to the bottled stuff again.

Now this salad is not a week night salad for me. I can handle making the dressing, but on a weeknight I skip the bacon and use store-bought croutons. It’s still delicious, but if you have the time to make your own it will be so much fresher and tastier!

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I love to serve this salad in the summer with grilled chicken, steak, or my BBQ-less Barbecue Chicken. In the winter I love to serve this along side lasagna, spaghetti or any roasted meat.

I also love kale because it’s the only salad you can toss in advance. I like to wash and prep my kale, and then toss it in dressing a few hours before serving. Then just before serving I’ll toss in the croutons and bacon. This helps the kale soften and not be as tough.

In addition to dressing the salad in advance I like to massage my kale. I know it sounds funny, but it makes your kale more tender. Once you kale has been washed, dried and chopped. Massage the leaves with your hands until they become a bright green colour. Then coat the leaves with dressing, this will make your kale more tender.

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Even if you are not a kale salad lover, you’re going to love this salad!

What’s your favourite salad?

Yields: 6-8 Servings

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Gloves of Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoons Capers
  • 4 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 4 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 Lemons, juiced
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 Strips of Bacon
  • Optional: Additional parmesan cheese for topping

For the Croutons:

  • 4 Slices of Seeded Multi Grain Bread
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

Method:

In a blender combine, olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, garlic, capers, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Wash, dry and chop the kale. Place in a large salad bowl. Massage the leaves until they are bright green. Toss the kale in the dressing and set aside. If prepping the salad in advance, cover the tossed salad with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Cook the bacon using your preferred method until crisp. Blot off excess grease and allow to cool completely. Once cool crumble the bacon, set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes, place the bread on a sheet tray. Drizzle olive oil over the bread and toss to coat. Sprinkle garlic powder, salt and pepper over bread and toss to coat evenly.

Bake the croutons for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Be careful to brown the croutons and not burn. Allow the croutons to cool fully as they will continue to harden and crisp as they cool.

When ready to serve, add bacon, croutons and parmesan cheese (if using) to the dressed kale. Toss the salad together. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Jillian Harris

 

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