What makes a good salad in your book? For our family, it must include bacon. 😂 Actually, we eat many salads without bacon, but it does make things that much better, as do the awesome candied nuts in this recipe. Add to that sweet dried cherries, some mild feta cheese, and a sweet and tangy dressing and you've got yourself a salad that kids gobble up. This is very versatile though, and you can add or subtract any ingredients as needed, but we think it's perfect just the way it is, and have been known to make extra nuts just to "have on hand" (aka eat while preparing the salad).
Our Favorite Salad
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans are our favorite)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter
Small pinch of salt and cayenne pepper
2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese
6-8 strips bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
For the dressing, combine all the ingredients except the poppy seeds in a blender and process until combined. Add the poppy seeds and shake to combine. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. For the nuts, in a 10-inch skillet, combine the nuts, sugar, butter, salt and cayenne. Heat over medium, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until the sugar and butter melts and coats the nuts, 3-5 minutes. Immediately scrape the nuts onto a sheet of parchment and separate carefully into pieces to cool. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, cheese, bacon, dried fruit, and cooled nuts. Serve with the poppy seed vinaigrette.
Gather your ingredients. For the dressing you'll need sugar, white vinegar, vegetable oil (or other oil if desired), yellow mustard, salt, and poppy seeds. For the nuts you'll need chopped pecans (or other favorite nut), sugar, butter, and cayenne pepper. For the salad you'll need romaine lettuce, feta cheese, bacon, and dried cherries.
Let's make the vinaigrette dressing first. In a blender, combine the 1/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup oil, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons mustard.
Blend until smooth.
Add the 3/4 teaspoon poppy seeds. Shake or stir these in so you don't grind up the seeds in the blender.
Pour into a serving container and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the candied nuts, in a 10-inch skillet, combine 1 cup chopped pecans (or desired nut), 1/4 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, and a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper.
Over medium heat, stir continually with a spatula until the butter and sugar have melted and nuts are completely coated. You'll know it's ready when there aren't sugar granules left and the nuts are shiny.
Immediately pour out onto parchment paper to cool.
To prepare the salad, chop up 2 heads of romaine lettuce and 6-8 slices cooked bacon. I love using the Kirtland pre-cooked bacon for things like this.
In your salad bowl, add the lettuce, bacon, 1/2 cup feta cheese, and 1 cup of dried cherries. Once your nuts are cool, break them up and add to the salad. Toss to combine.
You can dress the whole salad at once (we do this often) or just serve alongside the dressing and let everyone dress their own. It is not only a delicious side dish, but so pretty, don't you think? And those nuts......
Recipe Source: Recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Don't you love my bamboo salad bowl? You can find one here on Amazon: