Apple-Bacon Salad with Honey Balsamic Viniagrette

January  9, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I have a confession. Rarely, when a Food 52 theme is announced, do I go into experimentation mode. I usually either have a dish in the lexicon that will qualify, or I have one that's close enough I can just tweak. This week is different. I got up this morning determined to come up with something different from anything I've ever made for the apple salad theme, particularly as we've been warned off Waldorfs (which I could eat four days a week; sue me!). I knew I wanted to pair my apples with meat and cheese. And here's where I wound up. It ain't half bad, if I do say so myownself. Sorry, no photo, but I left my camera in Memphis over Christmas and haven't made my way back to get it. - Kayb —Kayb

Test Kitchen Notes

Since I was a kid I have been a huge fan of Waldorf Salad. But over the years, it seems to have fallen out of favor. So I adore this recipe—it’s like Waldorf Salad all grown up! The textural variation between the cranberries, apples, bacon and walnuts make every bite exciting and remind me of my old favorite. The honey balsamic vinaigrette gives it a totally new flavor profile. The sweet and smokey aspects give a fabulous balance to the dish. I also like that the dressing is brown so oxidation and discoloration of the apples is not an issue, allowing this dish to be made ahead of time. The salad uses ingredients that are generally always on hand, and I see me taking this to neighborhood barbeques this summer. It really is a versatile dish and can be served year round! —epickles

What You'll Need
  • Honey Balsamic Viniagrette
  • 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup your favorite olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons honey -- start with three, then go to taste from that point
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • Apple salad
  • 2 Honey Crisp apples, sliced
  • 4 slices good smoked bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
  • 4 ounces dried, sweetened cranberries
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  1. Honey Balsamic Viniagrette
  2. Whisk all ingredients together. If you're ambitous, you can whisk everything and then whisk in the olive oil, making an emulsion that won't separate; I find it easier to just whisk it or shake it before I apply it. Set dressing aside.
  1. Apple salad
  2. Sliced unpeeled apples and arrange in a spiral patttern on a salad plate. Or, if presentation is not an issue, dice and put in a bowl.
  3. Toss together the bacon, cranberries and walnuts. Put a portion of the topping over each plate of apples, or atop the apples in the bowl.
  4. Drizzle viniagrette over salad. If you're working in a bowl, go ahead and toss, to get the apples nicely coated and turn them brown in advance of oxydation doing so.
  5. Crumble feta cheese atop each portion, or the entire bowl.
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kayb
  • Food52
  • Rachel
  • SusanCooks
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!

7 Reviews

Rachel February 8, 2021
I made the dressing to use on a composed salad (romaine, tuna, fennel, almonds). Delicious! I felt it lacked acidity in this application and needed to be a bit brighter. I will add more basaltic vinegar or perhaps a squeeze of lime.
SusanCooks January 31, 2011
I made this with cubes of apple tossed with the dressing, and served it over chopped Romaine with the toppings. Everyone loved it as a side with roast turkey at a big family dinner last night. Thanks for the recipe!
Kayb February 1, 2011
Glad you enjoyed! I made up a big batch of the toppings this weekend, took them to work along with a bottle of dressing and about five apples, and that was lunch for all week long!
Kayb January 27, 2011
Thanks for the review, epickles. What I've found myself doing since I made this the first time is making up the topping and keeping it in a plastic bag, and then dicing an apple when I want the salad and going from there. But yes, with the dressing, you can certainly make it ahead, and I plan to do that when it gets pot-luck time on the lake this summer!
Carole M. January 20, 2011
Kayb January 9, 2011
Oops! The category was supposed to be salad, not soup! Can't figure out how to change it....
Food52 January 14, 2011