I whipped this salad up the other day with all the fall produce I just bought at the farmer’s market. I just kept adding and adding stuff to it and after I was done, I had this ginormous salad sitting in front of me. It was enough to feed a small army! When I had finally run out of things to add to it, I couldn’t stop staring at it because it was so gorgeous! The oranges, purples, greens, and reds combined together to make it the prettiest salad I had ever seen. It was one of those things that was almost to pretty to eat. Almost. But, I’m glad I did because it also was probably the yummiest salad I’ve ever eaten. We ended up eating it for dinner, but I think this would also make a great (and pretty!) lunch for entertaining.
Autumn Grilled Chicken Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
1 lb fresh spinach
1 lb bacon
1 red onion, cut in half and sliced
2 sweet potatoes or 1 small butternut squash, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 apples, diced
½ cup pomegranate arils
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper
1 tsp cumin
2-4 T olive oil, divided
Simple Balsamic Marinade:
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper your chicken and make the marinade by combining the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes up to one day.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash/sweet potato pieces with salt, pepper, cumin, and 1-2 T olive oil until well coated. Bake for 30 minutes.
While the squash is in the oven, fry, grill, or bake the chicken until done.
Meanwhile, fry your bacon in a large skillet. Once the bacon is done cooking, take it out of the skillet, but leave all the bacon fat in there. Cook the onions and apple in the skillet with the bacon fat until the onion is no longer raw, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 T olive oil.
Place your spinach in a large serving bowl. Add in the warm butternut squash, bacon, pomegranate arils, toasted pumpkin seeds, and the onion apple mixture with the bacon dressing from the skillet. Toss to coat the spinach. Add in the chicken breasts. If you are serving a crowd, I would cut the chicken into strips and mix into the salad. When we ate this, I tossed everything together and then added a whole chicken breast per serving right on top of the salad. Enjoy!
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