What I refer to as the “decadent salad” - a super rich and creamy vegetable…
Finally – a feel good salad that doesn’t skip a beat. It’s wildly delicious. This is a sweet and savory combination of bacon, berries and blue cheese. Perfect for the 4th of July!
The 3-B salad nickname is in fact another Friends TV show reference. Bonus points for anyone who can name that episode. It’s the silly stuff that gets me up in the morning….
The salad section is the sad part of the menu that you’re committed to scan over as you’re trying to eat better. Salads have such a reputation of either being bland and boring or over saturated with calorie-packed ingredients. It feels like a constant battle that always ends in a lose-lose scenario. This recipe changes that by getting a reasonable amount of fresh greens and berries, but still has some of the really good stuff like bacon and cheese!
This is a fantastic option for the summer, especially on the Fourth of July! It’s got the reds, whites and some blue! It’s perfect for a BBQ dish after you grill up some chicken. The fruit is also in season at this time so it goes together so well.
Personally, I LOVE SALAD! I always have, but I’m aware this is not the case for most. I won’t say that I love EVERY salad because I too have gone out to eat and ordered salads with no life, no flavor and no need to ever be on the menu. We’ve all tried salads that looked fun and exciting but then we got a glimpse of the calorie intake and we were sadly disappointed in our “healthy” choice.
Here are some other recipes to consider if making this salad:
I created this salad because I wanted to eat a lot of my favorite foods and combined them together with the right proportions. It has everything! I know it’s not the lowest calorie salad to make but that’s kind of the point. It’s a whole meal in itself! Sweet, salty, meaty, crunchy, tangy and creamy! It just has no opportunity to disappoint.
Making this salad with the bacon, cheese and candied nuts does make it a bit more indulgent. It’s well balanced and will shock your guests when they bite into the flavor combination.
Important notes and adjustments you can for sure do with this salad:
- Marinate the chicken in whatever dressing you have available. Some classics that would work would be Italian, raspberry vinaigrette, Caesar, balsamic vinaigrette, or a honey mustard vinaigrette. I found a garlic basil vinaigrette that was light but powerful.
- Add any type of nut that you prefer. I think the candied nuts are the best but a roasted pistachio or pine nut would add a nice, unique crunch as well.
- The dressing can be the same as the chicken marinade. It can also be as simple as balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I topped the salad with the balsamic glaze and waited till serving time to pick my dressing of choice.
- For other protein options you could opt for grilled salmon, steak, shrimp or even a crispy fried tofu.
If serving this salad for a crew, throw it together right before serving. Here are some options for assembly before taking it to a backyard cookout:
- Chop the berries and place in the bottom of a large bowl. Cover the berries with a inverted bowl and place on top. This will cover the berries like a dome.
- Make the bacon and chop the nuts and crumble the feta and throw on top of the inverted bowl. This is the best way to start the salad and then finish with the remaining toppings before serving.
***Divide into four portions if eating as a side salad***
Bacon, Berry & Blue Salad with Grilled Chicken
- 2 4-6 oz. fresh chicken breasts
- 1 cup salad vinaigrette your choice
- 4 cups mixed salad green
- 3-4 cups fresh baby spinach
- ½ cup reduced fat blue cheese crumbles
- ⅓ cup candied pecans or walnuts
- 6 slices center cut bacon
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup fresh raspberries
- ½ cup fresh strawberries sliced
- ¼ cup red onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup balsamic glaze
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
For the chicken:
- Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a large zip-sealed plastic bag and marinate for about 8 hours.
- Remove from fridge about 30 minutes before grilled to allow chicken to come to room temperature. While still in the bag, pound the chicken till it's flat in size.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Add chicken to the grill and cook for 6 minutes on each side. Cooking times may vary based on the grill and thickness of the chicken. Use a meat thermometer and test chicken on grill to be at 165°. You can remove chicken at 160°, cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. The internal temperature must be at least 165°.
- Remove and let cool.
For the bacon:
- Bacon can be cooked in a pan or in the microwave. To cook in the microwave, line a microwaveable plate with 3 sheets of paper towels. Lay bacon slices out apart from each other. Place a sheet of paper towel on top of the bacon to cover the slices. Microwave on high for 50-60 seconds per slice. This should take 3.5-4 minutes based on the thickness of the bacon and microwave. Let rest and cool. Crumble bacon when cooled and crispy.
For the salad:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine mixed greens, spinach, chicken, cheese, walnuts, bacon, berries, and sliced onion. Drizzle with one tablespoon of balsamic reduction and two tablespoon of vinegar to each salad. Add a drizzle of olive oil as well if you prefer.
- Finish with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
- Divide the recipe in 2-4 servings.