For the Salad
- 6 cups lettuce
- 1 cup pecan halves
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup chopped bacon pieces
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- 1 apple thinly sliced and halves cut crosswise - or chopped
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup - see note
- 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice - or 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper - or 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- First, prepare the candied pecans. In a small skillet, toast pecans for 1 minute over medium-high eat. Add sugar and stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Sprinkle cinnamon over pecans and stir until pecans are sugar-coated. Immediately transfer to a sheet of parchment or a heat-resistant plate to cool slightly.
- Prepare salad by arranging lettuce on a platter. Top with apples, cranberries, pecans, and bacon.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, shake vigorously to combine. Pour over salad immediately if serving right away, or wait until just before serving (shake well just before pouring over salad).
For the bacon: I love bacon in my salads, but I don’t like to take the time to cook and chop bacon just for a salad. To save time I like to use bacon bits. Stay with me here! Add your bacon bits to a small microwave-safe dish. Microwave for 15-20 seconds and you will be amazed how they warm and crisp up! When choosing bacon bits at the store, I look for ones that look a bit “raw” (for lack of a better term), and skip any that are too tiny and look dried out.
The apples: For flavor and texture, I prefer bright red apples in this salad. Gala, fuji, honey crisp are all good options!
Maple Syrup: use REAL maple syrup (like Escuminac), NOT maple flavored breakfast syrup.