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chopped autumn salad with maple vinaigrette

Want to know of the tougher things about dating a medical resident?  Not being able to complain about being tired.  I know, it’s probably not what you were expecting, but just hear me out.  Marc has worked every single day for the past 3 1/2 weeks, has gotten no more than 6 hours of sleep in one night, and doesn’t have a day off until Friday.  Yeah, no fun.  So when I don’t get my required 7-8 hours of sleep, have a long day at work, and am feeling less than perky, I kind of have to find someone else to whine to.  For some reason, Marc isn’t sympathetic.  But he’s still hungry when he gets home from work and tired or not, we have to figure out what to have for dinner.
Nights like this usually result in whipping up a quick dinner as fast as we can, or talking ourselves into ordering out.  We try not to eat out more than once a week, so a plenty of times I’m hoarding the cupboards and refrigerator for ideas, usually ending up with a frozen Trader Joe’s meal or a quick pasta dish.
This salad is a perfect side (or main dish with some chicken or fish!) to throw together on a night when motivation is lacking but stomachs are growling.  It’s a completely satisfying salad with a variety of textures from the crunchy pecans, creamy cheese, and crisp lettuce and array of flavors from the smoky bacon, sweet pears, and maple-y delicious vinaigrette.
Even after a long day in a string of long days, Marc excitedly proclaimed “I could eat this salad every day!”  Which is a good thing because it’s so easy to throw together, and can definitely be adapted to what is in my cupboards.  Walnuts or almonds instead of pecans, blue cheese or goat cheese, instead of feta, or maybe chopped apples instead of pears.  But the bacon is non-negotiable.
Chopped Autumn Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
adapted fromEspresso and Cream
for the salad:
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 medium pears, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
for the dressing:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp kosher salt
To make the salad:  Toss together romaine, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon, and feta.
To make the dressing:  combine maple syrup, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon, and salt and whisk well to combine.  Drizzle half of the dressing over salad and toss to combine.  Gradually add more dressing, according to your liking of how much dressing you prefer.  Enjoy!
This was shared at It’s a Keeper Thursday!

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