I don’t know about you, but even though it’s the 1st of December, my schedule this month is already jam-packed. It seems like every time we turn around, we have another party or function to go to…which is nice! December is always nutty around here, but it’s fun, and we just roll with the crazy times. It’s what makes the holidays extra special.
I came across this salad on Pinterest a while ago and I’ve made it a couple of times since for large groups. It’s always a big hit, feeds a crowd and if you have a party or pot-luck to go to, it’s something a little different to add to the table.
The original recipe can be found on the beautiful blog, Espresso and Cream. I tweaked the original just a bit this time, though, and was quite pleased with the tweaking!
Chopped salads are my favorite. Maybe I’m too high maintenance when it comes to salad eating, but if I order a salad at a restaurant and it requires me cutting it up with a knife and fork upon arrival, it bothers me. It probably annoys me because I always, always make a mess of myself and the table around me. You know what I’m talking about, right? The salad never stays in the bowl when you start cutting things up inside of it. Well…maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, when it comes right down to it, you’re going to chop up a lot of things and toss them around together in a bowl. It’s a salad, not rocket science. I’m not going to bore you with Lettuce 101. Here are a few salad tips for you, though…
First, the recipe calls for some bacon. When I have to make more than just a few strips of bacon for a recipe and, in this case, have other things that need my attention, I throw the bacon on a cookie sheet and bake it off in the oven.
Lay the bacon strips out on a cookie sheet that’s been covered with foil (for easy cleanup).
Set the cookie sheet in a cold oven and then set it at 400*. In about 15-20 minutes, you should have perfectly baked, flat bacon slices! Just remove them from the cookie sheet and let them drain on some paper towels.
While the bacon is baking, you can concentrate on the other stuff.
The original recipe called for chopped pecans. Instead of just using regular, plain old pecans (which are perfectly delicious), I made some of the Peppery Pecans that I’d fallen in love with waaaaaaaaay back at Thanksgiving and added them to the salad. If you’d like to follow suit, you can find that recipe here.
I chopped them up and added them to the salad.
The salad also called for chopped romaine, a couple of nice, juicy pears, some dried cranberries and a block of feta cheese. Blue cheese would also be delicious.
As for the dressing, it couldn’t be easier. I used 3/4 cup of poppy seed dressing and about 1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinaigrette (I like Newman’s Own Light). I mixed those together and it was the perfect combination of sweet and tangy.
Once all of the salad ingredients were chopped up and in the bowl, I drizzled about 3/4 cup of the dressing over the salad and tossed it up! That’s it!
It really is the perfect winter pot luck salad, with it’s pretty green lettuce and shiny red cranberries. It looks so festive! It would be great as a main course with some grilled chicken added to it. I might just have to scale down the recipe and make it for dinner one night!
THE PERFECT WINTER CHOPPED SALAD
Adapted from Espresso and Cream
- 3 hearts of Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped into small pieces
- 2 ripe pears, cored and chopped
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
- 4-6 oz. feta or blue cheese crumbles
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup Peppery Pecans, chopped
- ¾ cup bottled poppy seed dressing
- ¼ cup bottled Balsamic vinaigrette
- Toss all ingredients together in a large serving bowl or platter.
- Mix together the dressings and toss with the salad. Start with ¾ cup and add more if needed.