Think a salad can’t fill you up? This hearty Chicken, Apple, and Bacon Kale Salad wants to prove you wrong!
My husband likes kale salad about as much as he likes going to the dentist. Mention the word “kale” around him and his face instantly goes into grimace mode.
I, on the other hand, really appreciate some bitter greens every now and then. Sometimes a good hearty kale salad is exactly what I need to hit the reset button on some sorely veggie-lacking eating habits.
So what’s the compromise? It looks something like this Chicken, Apple, and Bacon Kale Salad. This isn’t your average wimpy, run of the mill of the salad. This salad is hearty, filling, and loaded with flavor and crunch in every bite.
In my last post, I mentioned a salad a friend made for us after our miscarriage. It was full of apples, avocado, and nuts on a bed of kale. It was exactly the kind of nourishing food I needed to get through that dark time.
This is my take on that salad, and one I’m always happy to share with friends. All the goodness starts with a big bowl kale. I find that thinly slicing the kale gives it a great texture and prevents that awkward moment where you’re trying to shove a huge kale leaf in your mouth all at once. On top of the kale goes all kinds of goodies. First, some shredded chicken. I love having leftover chicken in the house because it makes meals like these so simple. For this salad, I used the leftovers from a Perdue Oven Ready Roaster. These super easy chickens come ready to bake in the bag, and are big enough to serve as a main dish and have plenty leftover to load into salads, enchiladas, soups, or pasta.
After the chicken comes fresh diced apples, which provide a little pop of sweet, and walnuts which give the salad extra crunch. Then, of course, there’s bacon. Jim Gaffigan jokes that bacon is the fairy dust of the food world, and I have to agree. A little bippity boppity bacon action, and suddenly even the skeptical Mr. is ready to dive in!
My favorite dressing for a kale salad is actually a mixture of poppyseed and balsamic. The combination of dressings is just the right balance of sweet and tangy, with a good amount of creaminess to coat the kale. This is one area where I don’t make my own dressing. Just pick up your favorite of each kind, combine it in equal parts in a jar, shake, and use! It really is the best!
Chicken, Apple, Bacon Kale Salad
- 4 cups finely chopped curly kale (make sure to remove the tough stems!)
- 1 apple (I used Pink Lady), diced
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups leftover chicken breast, sliced
- 1/4 cup Balsamic dressing
- 1/4 cup Poppyseed dressing
- Salt and Pepper
- In a large bowl, toss the kale with the apple, bacon, walnuts, and chicken breast.
- In a container with a lid, combine the balsamic and poppyseed dressing. Shake until well combined. Pour half the salad dressing over the greens and use tongs to toss it until everything is well coated. Add additional dressing, a little bit at a time, to taste. Sprinkle the salad with salt and pepper and toss one more time to combine.