This chopped winter salad is a satisfying main dish that's packed with flavor and nutrition. Made with a combination of fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, chunks of tart apple and crispy bacon tossed in a shallot and honey vinaigrette, the salad is topped with roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips and turnips, candied walnuts for crunch, and a sprinkling of crumbled blue cheese.Print
Chopped Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables and Bacon
This hearty, main dish salad is full of healthy ingredients like fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, apple, bacon, roasted root vegetables, candied walnuts and blue cheese.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb parsnips, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 small purple-top turnips (about 3/4 lb), peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 to 5 ounces fresh spinach leaves, chopped
- 6 ounces romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons water
- 3/4 cup shelled walnuts
- 4 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
- For the dressing (see notes):
- 1/2 medium shallot, very finely chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking pan with parchment.
- Fry the bacon until crisp and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings to a large bowl and stir in the vegetable oil. Add the sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss them to coat with the oil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sweet potatoes to a section of the prepared baking pan.
- Add the parsnips to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat with the oil mixture. Transfer to the baking pan alongside the sweet potatoes and repeat the process with the turnips.
- Roast the vegetables until tender and lightly caramelized, 20 to 35 minutes, turning once about midway through the cooking time. Roasting times can vary so keep an eye on the different varieties and remove them from the oven as needed.
- Once cooked, set the vegetables aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- While the vegetables roast, make the candied walnuts. Combine the brown sugar and water in a 2-cup, microwave-safe glass measuring cup. Add a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Add the walnuts and stir to coat.
- Microwave on high for 2-1/2 minutes and stir. If the sugar mixture has developed a thick, taffy-like consistency, the nuts are done. If not, return them to the microwave in 10 second increments until the consistency is right. Be careful not to overcook.
- Transfer the nuts to a sheet of parchment paper, separate them and set aside to cool.
- To make the dressing, add the shallot, vinegar, mustard and honey to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the oil until well blended.
- Add the spinach, romaine lettuce, apple and reserved bacon to a large bowl. Drizzle half of the dressing over the mixture, toss to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide the lettuce mix between 4 serving plates. Top each with a portion of roasted vegetables, some candied walnuts and a tablespoon of crumbled blue cheese.
- Drizzle the remaining dressing over each salad and serve immediately.
Because the roasted root vegetables have so much flavor on their own, we feel this salad really doesn't need a lot of dressing. Consequently, our recipe only makes about 1/2 cup. If you prefer your salads more heavily dressed, we suggest doubling the dressing quantity. You can always refrigerate what's leftover for another day.