Thursday, November 21, 2013

Autumn Harvest Salad with Chicken and Sweet Cider Vinaigrette

This salad would be a perfect way to add something light and fresh to the Thanksgiving table, to add some of that leftover turkey to the next day, or for any other time that you're craving a crispy, crunchy, sweet and savory salad. You can get all of the ingredients year-round in most local stores - including the apple cider for the vinaigrette. Even if your store doesn't have apple cider, most organic sections will have organic unfiltered apple juice, which is similar in texture and flavor.

These Red Bartlet Pears were the inspiration for this salad.

For the salad you'll need:
  • Fresh washed and dried mixed baby greens
  • Cubed or shredded cooked Chicken Breast (or Turkey or Pork)
  • Crumbled Plain Goat Cheese
  • Red Bartlet Pears, cut into cubes
  • Red Onion, sliced very thinly
  • Spiced Pecans (recipe HERE)
  • Sweet Cider Vinaigrette (recipe HERE)

The addition of chicken (or turkey, or pork) makes this salad a satisfying and delicious meal in itself.

I always roast off a couple of extra chicken breasts when I'm preparing them for a casserole or just as the primary protein in a meal. I love having plenty left over to create other dishes like chicken salad or to add to green salads like this one.

1. Slice the pears in half, lengthwise.

2. Scoop out the core and any seeds.

3. Using a small melon baller or measuring spoon makes short work of removing the core and seeds.

4. If you need to prep the pears ahead of time, a little lemon juice will help to prevent browning.

5. Slice/chop the pears into bite-sized pieces.

The recipe for the Spiced Pecans can be found by clicking HERE and the recipe for the Sweet Cider Vinaigrette can be found by clicking HERE

The salad can be made up to 2 hours ahead without adding the pecans or the dressing. Just cover it tightly with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator. You could also prep all of the ingredients individually and store them in airtight containers until ready to assemble and serve. I would not refrigerate the spiced pecans and you should also take the salad dressing out of the fridge about 20 to 25 minutes before serving, in order to bring it to room temperature.

If you're pretty sure that the entire salad is going to be eaten in one meal, you can dress and toss it before serving. If not, you might want to allow everyone to dress their own on their plate.

The flavors in this salad are a great balance of salty, sweet, tangy, creamy, crunchy and fresh. I can honestly say that it's my favorite salad combination, so far.

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