A fantastic Winter salad ( Brussels Sprout Salad with avocado, goat cheese and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette)

I am a pretty boring lunch lady.  I have salad or soup or leftovers most days or weeks.  I am always looking for something different and new to have as I usually make the same thing and eat it several times.  I was perusing Pinterest for some inspiration and came across this salad I pinned awhile back. I was trying to get some raw green leafy veggies in my life as the cancer fighting power is best in them when raw (of course I can't find the article now!) and I knew this would satisfy that need.

I am not a fan of blue cheese so I subbed garlic and herb goat cheese for a match of color and texture. I think it certainly did the job! I also subbed walnuts for pecans because the are a bit better nutritionally. The nuts were so damn good all my office mates ate them alone and I couldn't have them the whole week on my salad.  All of the ingredients combined to create a great contrast in texture, taste and made such a great combination of sweet and savory.  This would be a perfect entertaining salad  and you could easily add chicken to make it a hearty dinner.  

Make this, you will not be disappointed!  It is filling and delicious, just like I like my salads!  Full recipe to follow the montage.

pears, brussels and avocado
I tried to make this look pretty with an iphone and a government office building, not bad!

The cast.  Feels so wintery!

How about that bacon
Nothing like the smell of bacon frying!

Making those walnuts delightful!

mason jar
Making dressing in a Mason Jar is so easy! This one is so good!

  I loved cutting the pears with the knife my gentleman caller gave me for Christmas.

brussels sprouts
And these Brussels sprouts too, a mandoline is only for hand injuries!
A salad is never complete without bacon!
And don't forget the bacon!

A perfect winter salad
Throw it all together and make you a delicious salad!

Brussels Sprout Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette (Adapted from the Roasted Root)

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (save the grease for dressing!)
1 ripe bosc pear, chopped
2/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 avocado, cut into bite sized pieces

For the Maple-Candied Nuts:
½ cup raw walnuts
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch salt

For the Warm Maple-Bacon Dressing:
¼ cup liquid bacon drippings
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Cook the bacon on a skillet over medium heat until it reaches desired done-ness (I like mine crispy).
Place the strips of bacon on a cutting board, chop, and set aside. Pour the bacon fat into a measuring cup. Reserve ¼ cup of the fat, save the rest in a glass container for another use. Add the remaining dressing ingredients to the measuring cup and whisk well until combined (for a creamy consistency, add everything to small blender and blend until smooth). Set aside until ready to use.  Add all of the ingredients for the candied pecans to a small skillet and heat over medium for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring consistently, until the nuts have become toasted and sticky. Note: don’t walk away from the nuts because they burn easily.  Rinse the Brussels sprouts well. Chop off the rough end, and thinly slice them from tip to tail.  Add all ingredients for the salad to a large serving bowl. Pour desired amount of maple-bacon dressing over the salad, and toss well until everything is coated.

Happy Cooking!


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