There’s nothing like a fall salad full of fruit, cheese, and nuts. To me, it is pure comfort food and there’s not much else I’d rather eat. Add in some bacon and I’m a very happy girl.
And this salad doesn’t have just regular bacon. The bacon is dipped in a pool of sweet maple syrup and coated in chopped pecans before being baked in the oven. You may have never thought of coating your bacon in nuts, and to tell you the truth, I hadn’t either until I saw this recipe in Southern Living Magazine. As you can probably imagine, this bacon is absolutely delectable. It’s sweet, salty, nutty, and crunchy and the perfect addition to an already scrumptious salad. I may always take my bacon for a swim in maple syrup before cooking it.
I did have a few technical difficulties with the cooking method for the bacon. See my notes in the recipe below.
I absolutely love pears, apples, and grapes paired with gorgonzola cheese. The sweetness of the fruit and the saltiness of the cheese is pure heaven. A sweet and tart cranberry dressing adds even more flavor. If you are one to serve a salad with your holiday meals, Apple and Pear Salad with Maple-Pecan Bacon and Cranberry Vinaigrette would be a perfect addition. It’s definitely festive!
Apple and Pear Salad with Maple Pecan Bacon and Cranberry Vinaigrette
- 8 slices thick bacon
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
- 8 cups mixed greens
- 1 large Bartlett pear, thinly sliced
- 1 large gala apple, diced
- 1 cup red seedless grapes
- 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
- 1/2 cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray on a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan lined with aluminum foil.
- Dip bacon in maple syrup and then press pecans onto both sides of bacon.
- Arrange bacon slices on wire rack and bake for 20 minutes. Flip bacon slices and cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Place mixed greens in a large salad bowl. Add pears, apple, grapes, and gorgonzola cheese. Toss together.
- To make Cranberry Vinaigrette: Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl.
- To serve: Top each serving of salad with 2 pieces of bacon and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Southern Living Oct 2011