September 30, 2013

Apple Bacon Chicken Salad

Crisp fall apples atop a bed of fresh greens paired with red onion, savory chicken, blue cheese, maple-cinnamon candied pecans, and bacon pieces. The salad is finished with a garlic-dijon vinaigrette. 

Fall Apple Chicken Salad with Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette #mysterydish |

Words can't even express how awesome this salad is. The flavors are incredible together. I don't think I've ever been so in love... with a food that is. There's just something so perfect about this combo: sweet and tart apples, sweet pecans with cinnamon and maple flavor, sharp blue cheese, perfectly seasoned chicken, fatty bacon, spunky red onion... and it is all tied together by the spicy-sweet garlic dijon dressing. You'll just have to make it to understand what I'm talking about.

Apple Bacon Chicken Salad

For the Salad:
1 (10 oz) package 50% spring mix 50% baby spinach
6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced or diced small
8 oz crumbled blue cheese
2 fuji apples, cored and diced

For the Chicken:
2 large chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

For the Pecans:
1 cup whole pecans
1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Dressing:
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
dash of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

To make the chicken, generously season each piece of chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook chicken in oil for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165˚F. Remove to a plate, cover with foil, and let rest 10 minutes before dicing for salad.

To make the candied pecans, stir pecans with syrup, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add pecans and cook stirring occasionally for 7-9 minutes or until pecans smell toasted and fragrant (but not burnt!!!). Spread out on a piece of parchment paper to cool completely.

To make the dressing, combine the garlic, sugar, vinegars, and mustard together with an immersion blender (a regular blender will work too). With the blender running slowly drizzle in all of the olive oil. Then add the salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and totally emulsified. The dressing will be thick but still very pourable.

To assemble the salad, combine the lettuce, bacon, onion, blue cheese, diced chicken, candied pecans, and apples together in a large bowl. Add enough dressing so that the lettuce is coated but not soggy.

Yield: 6 servings
Recipe Source: an Amanda Jenks original

My Recipe Notes:
After the chicken rests it can be used in the salad immediately or refrigerated separately for later use. I usually refrigerate the chicken until completely cool.

After cooking the chicken, I wash out the skillet with soap and warm water and use the same skillet to make the candied pecans.

Core and dice the apples last so they don't brown.


  1. This is so great! I had no idea you used FOUR ingredients! Rock star status up in here. This will be a beautiful salad to serve at Thanksgiving this year :-D Totally doing it.

    1. You totally should! My mom brought this to a party recently and it was a hit :)

  2. It looks phenomenal! I can't wait to make it soon. And congrats on using four ingredients! That's awesome!

  3. I have been eyeing this dish since the moment you put the picture on Facebook - can't wait to try it for myself!

  4. Oh my word. This salad looks to die for. I'm so proud of you for using four of the ingredients! I was lame and only used two, lol! There's nothing I like better than a good salad. This looks fantastic, Amanda!

  5. My mouth was watering as I read the opening sentence and then I saw the pictures. Done deal, definitely trying this salad. I love how you used the mystery ingredients on this one! Pinning

    Krista @ Joyfulhealthyeats

  6. i love candied pecans! love this salad--i bet it is so good.

  7. I made this salad after seeing it on the September mystery dish at Seehubbycook. It is FANTASTIC!! Thank you for a salad that has such and explosion of flavors! The bonus for me is I now have a recipe for candied pecans.


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