Nothing beats a really good salad in the summertime. Whether it’s a simple Greek salad with grilled chicken – or something a little fancier like this apple, bacon, and goat cheese salad…they always go over well with our family after spending a day outside in the hot summer sun!
Crispy smokey bacon, crunchy apples, tangy goat cheese, candied walnuts – and the pièce de résistance, a delicious apple butter vinaigrette. I think it may be my new favorite salad dressing!
First off, it acted as an awesome emulsifier – it truly was the perfect consistency for a dressing. It also added wonderful flavor. The sweet and spicy notes in the apple butter really worked well with the salad, and combined with apple cider vinegar – there was definitely a ton of apple flavor going on.
I think the recipe for the dressing would also be an amazing marinade for chicken or pork. Looking forward to trying that soon, will report back! In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful salad.
Apple, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Salad
For the salad:
4 cups mixed greens
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced (Fuji, Jazz, or Honeycrisp are my favorites)
4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
4 slices of bacon, chopped
For the candied walnuts:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup walnuts
For the apple butter-vinaigrette:
1/4 cup Musselman’s Apple Butter
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Cook the bacon in a medium sized skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Set aside. Drain the bacon fat from the pan and wipe clean with a paper towel.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Prepare the candied walnuts. Add the sugar and butter to the same skillet you cooked the bacon in, and let melt. Once it’s mostly liquid, add the cinnamon and the walnuts, stirring carefully to coat. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved, and starting to caramelize – about 2 minutes more. Pour onto the lined baking sheet, flatten out into a single layer, and let cool.
Prepare the dressing by whisking the apple butter and vinegar in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add the salt and pepper, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Assemble the salad by placing the greens in a large bowl. Top with the sliced apples, crumbled goat cheese, bacon, and candied walnuts. Serve with dressing on the side.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at Musselman’s Apple Butter. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.