Apple Bacon & Pecan Salad with Creamy Provolone Dressing

I love a good salad! And I am not talking about a plate of iceberg lettuce with bottled dressing! There are a multitude of easy-to-find ingredients that add flavor, texture and color to create incredibly delicious salads. Ingredients, such as, seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh greens, grains, beans, legumes, fish, meat, poultry and seafood, pasta, cheese and bread. Most salads require minimal preparation and make terrific leftovers. I serve them throughout the year using pantry staples and fresh seasonal ingredients.

Provolone is an Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. The flavors can range from mild and sweet to sharp, based on the amount of time it ages.

The crisp, sweet/tart Fuji apples, slightly salty bacon and toasted pecans pair perfectly. Scattered over spring greens tossed with creamy dressing and you have a plate that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the taste-buds. As with many of the salads I prepare, this salad can be enjoyed as a first course or a main dish, depending on your appetite.

Ingredients:

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup mild provolone cheese, diced
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • 1 lemon (1 teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice)
  • 1 /4 teaspoon (scant) salt
  • black pepper, a few grinds, optional

Salad 

  • 6 cups mixed spring greens
  • 3 cups apples, diced (I used Fugi)
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted 
  • 1 cup diced cooked bacon
  • Fresh strawberries and grapes (optional)
  1. Using a blender, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups.
  2. Place the spring greens in a large bowl, add dressing (save some for a final drizzle) and toss to mix.
  3. To serve, divide salad among individual plates. Top with apples, bacon and pecans. Drizzle with dressing. I added additional fruit for an edible garnish and served with a plate of vanilla scones and ricotta al cafe

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