Back in September, I posted about the chopped salad that was my top choice for my birthday dinner. Since then, I’ve been overwhelmed at the amount of attention that post got! I guess the internet was hungry for the funky-but-delicious combo of smoked salmon, dried sweet corn, cranberries, and arugula (among other ingredients) topped with a creamy pesto dressing.
Writing about–and eating–the Stetson Chopped Salad got me thinking of other variations on the theme of salad ingredients layered neatly in rows. I mean, really, you can’t go wrong with a chopped, layered salad. It’s just so dang appealing, with its colorfulness, its order, and its symmetry. This Harvest Chopped Salad featuring apples, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon, and blue or goat cheese is the product of these recent salad daydreams.
It couldn’t have come at a better time, either.
Not long ago, I started volunteering on a monthly basis as a cooking demonstrator at my local Natural Grocers. It’s a fun volunteer activity, but it’s tougher than you might think coming up with recipes that are 1.) gluten-free (Natural Grocers keeps a gluten-free kitchen), and 2.) conducive to demonstration. When you watch the Food Network, you don’t really notice that TV allows for time-lapsing cooking, or simply producing a finished version of something that took who-knows-how-long to cook or bake. In the real world, it’s not that easy. Like, if I’m demo’ing a recipe with roasted vegetables, uhhhh, what do I talk to my audience about for 45 minutes while the oven does its job?
So for the purposes of my October demonstration, the Harvest Chopped Salad is a saving grace. And maybe it will be for you, too, some autumn weeknight. There may be quite a bit of slicin’ and dicin’, but this recipe requires no lengthy cook time and can get dining-ready in no more than 30 minutes.
In fact, this recipe seems to be such a winner that I was contacted by someone at Natural Grocers’ corporate office to ask if it could be featured on their website! Of COURSE, I said! (Link coming soon.)
If you live in the Phoenix area, join me for my demo (and samples!) of this yummy fall main dish this Thursday, October 19th, at 6:30 at the Natural Grocers at 2151 E. Baseline Rd. in Gilbert.
Harvest Chopped Salad
- 10 c. romaine lettuce, chopped
- 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 3/4 c. pecan pieces
- 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese
- 1 c. honey crisp or other apple, chopped
- 1 ripe pear, chopped
- 3/4 c. dried cranberries
- 1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp purchased poppyseed dressing
- On a large platter or five individual plates, spread romaine in a single layer.
- Cover with layered rows of bacon, pecans, crumbled cheese, diced apple, diced pear, and dried cranberries.
- Serve with purchased poppyseed dressing drizzled on top or on the side.