Quick Dinner Idea: The Bacon Dinner Salad

Brainstorming on what’s for dinner? A tasty and hearty dinner salad is a easy light dinner, perfect for a summer evening when you don’t really want to cook.  Well, I did cook Bacon for this one, but hey.. it’s BACON!

Salads are great way to use up leftovers. Have 1 chicken breast left over from dinner yesterday? Chopped up it can top several salads. In fact, I like to plan for this by cooking a little extra chicken or steak just for that purpose! It’s also a good way to use up extra veggies, and whatever’s in the fridge.

For this version, the only thing I cooked up for the salad was the bacon, everything else was pantry staples or what I happened to have in the fridge (see below the recipe for more dinner salad tips/ideas).  It’s quite heavy on the protein–which keeps you from feeling hungry an hour later (and keeps my carnivores from whining about having salad for dinner!).

Hearty Bacon Dinner Salad (Serves 3)

  • 1 leftover chicken breast, sliced or diced.
  • 1/2 can chickpeas (always in the pantry–other canned beans work too)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 slices of bacon (save the fat if you want to make Bacon Vinaigrette Dressing)
  • A handful of bean sprouts (or other thinly sliced veggie, like shredded carrots or julienned cucumber)
  • 1 green onion, chopped.  (That and the sprouts were extras from Pad Thai I had made-regular onion would be nice alternately.)
  • 2 boiled eggs, sliced

Pile a bed of lettuce in each bowl.  Sprinkle with chickpeas, green onions and cheese.

Fry up your bacon, and let drain on a paper towel.  Remove most of the bacon grease from the pan (save it), and toss in your diced chicken breast to reheat it (and impart a little bacon-y goodness!)

Pile on 1/3 of your warmed diced chicken on each bowl.

Layer on bean sprouts (or other thinly sliced vegetable – julienned cucumber works nicely here too..)

Top with 2 slices each of bacon.  Garnish with several slices of boiled egg.

Serve with your favorite dressing, or use your reserved bacon grease to make a Bacon Vinaigrette Dressing (like this one from Alton) !

See, easy peasy…  Unless you’re going low-carb, some fresh crusty bread would be a perfect accompaniment.

More Dinner Salad Tips

I can pretty much pull together a dinner salad any night of the week.  I usually have bagged spinach or lettuce on hand.  Plus I always keep a stock of canned salad toppings in the pantry — like corn, chickpeas, black beans, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, and black olives. Other fresh vegetables that I might have on hand include carrots, onions, or bell peppers.  And don’t forget the fruits and nuts… cranberries, raisins, mandarin oranges, chopped walnuts, almonds, or even peanuts.

Obviously you’re not going to use all of the above in one salad!  But pick and choose from what’s on hand, and be creative.

Top the basic salad with leftover chicken or steak, boiled egg, bacon, lunchmeats, or whatever else you have on hand to satify your family carnivore, and you’ve got a quick and easy meal!

Use your imagination, but here are some ideas to get your started:

  • Chicken, sundried tomatoes, black olives, onions, and Mozzarella (and why not bacon!)
  • Steak, black beans, cheddar cheese,  corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado (and bacon!)
  • Chicken, mandarin oranges, cranberries, goat cheese, chickpeas, and chopped nuts or pine nuts.
  • Fried Egg, bacon, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and roasted red peppers. (through in some fried potatoes, too)

What’s your favorite salad combo?

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