This chicken bacon salad doesn't have a lot of ingredients but it's packed with delicious flavor, all brought together with a tasty honey mustard vinaigrette. It makes a great light lunch or add in a few extras for a fuller meal.
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One of my first jobs was as a waitress at one of the local pubs and they had a salad on the menu that was always popular. Some ingredients were a little different from this, but the general flavors are the same. And it's such a great, easy combination.
There are so many things about this salad that I love, but let me first of all start with the fact it's hearty enough to be a meal in itself. All too many salads feel a little like an afterthought to fill out a meal. Some are tasty, of course, but for many you need something else with it to be filled up. That's not the case here thanks to the chicken and bacon.
A delicious dressing
Let me also talk about the dressing, which I definitely need to use more often. It's basically a very simple honey mustard vinaigrette and it is SO delicious.
I used Dijon mustard here, but you could also use a grain mustard for a little more texture. You can increase the mustard as well to be a little stronger, too. Here I made it with lemon juice, but it also works with white or red wine vinegar if you prefer.
Cooking and serving tips
You can cook the bacon under the broiler/grill if you prefer, and it will tend to get a little crisper that way, but I quite like cooking the bacon then the chicken in a skillet. That way, you use the bacon fat to cook the chicken which gives an extra level of flavor.
Both chicken tenders and thigh meat work here, as you prefer. Just make sure your piece of chicken is relatively thin to help it cook quickly. If need be, cut the pieces smaller or flatten them out with a tenderizer.
If you want, you can cook the bacon and chicken ahead of time for this then just combine everything nearer when you want to serve it. You could also use pre-cooked chicken. However I really like the meats being warm as the bacon in particular has a better flavor that way.
Ways to adapt this salad
While this simple salad works really well as it is, you can also add various other things to it if you want it a little fuller or fancier. Some suggestions include:
- Add some croutons, either plain or garlic and herb would be good.
- A mix of greens - I used plain romaine here, but blending with some sharper radicchio, mizuna or bright pea shoots would also work well.
- Add some crunchy salad vegetables - while I think tomatoes may distract flavor and texture-wise, crunchier vegetables like cucumber, pepper and radish would all be good additions.
- Finish with some microgreens or pea shoots - both would make a pretty addition to the bowl if you want it to look a little fancier, and would work well flavor-wise.
Whether you make additions or keep things simple, this chicken and bacon salad is sure to please. With delicious flavors and being hearty enough to call it a meal, it's a salad even salad-skeptics can be won over by.
Try these other tasty salads with bacon:
- Apple celeriac salad - more of a side but incredibly delicious (and not your typical greens base either)
- Lyonnaise salad - the French bistro classic with bacon, an egg and croutons
- Asparagus salad with pea shoots and pancetta - lots of delicious spring-like flavors
- Plus get more lunch recipes in the archives.
Chicken and bacon salad
- 6 leaves romaine approx
- 3 ½ oz chicken tenders approx weight (or thigh)
- 3 slices smoked bacon (streaky)
For honey mustard dressing
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or grain mustard
- 2 teaspoon honey
- Warm a small-medium skillet over a medium-high heat. When it's warm add the bacon and cook until gently brown and ideally crisp on both sides.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the pan and cook a few minutes on both sides until cooked through.
- Thinly slice the romaine and cut larger pieces in half (eg at top of leaves). Place all of the dressing ingredients (oil, lemon, mustard and honey) in a small bowl or jar and whisk/shake to combine. You can do these as the chicken and bacon cooks.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from pan and slice both the chicken and bacon into small bite-sized pieces. Add both to the sliced romaine, drizzle over the dressing then toss to mix. Serve, ideally with meats still warm or at room temperature.
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