Remember May Bank holiday weekend? If I recall, the weather was quite nice…well nicer than this horrendous weather we are having to deal with at the moment. So much for us having a repeat of last year’s incredible heat! Thinking back to drier times and to get us into the summer spirit, here is another simple, healthy recipe for you to get stuck into.
Now the title may make this seem like it is just a bog standard salad – but that is where you are fooled! This is great for if you’re having friends over, cooking for family or just want to enjoy it for yourself (because there is nothing wrong with that). This isn’t just a chicken and bacon salad, this has so many additional elements, layers, textures that it is just constantly surprising you! The chicken thighs are juicy and flavourful – the choice of spices give it this almost Shawarma vibe. If you like yours a little charred round the edges, you can even throw these on the BBQ and get that additional smokiness!
The apple and walnuts add a wonderful level of crunch and the honey mustard dressing gives an extra sweetness with a kick to balance out the saltiness from the bacon – also – bacon makes everything better!
This is another recipe where, the basis of the salad is interchangeable – feel free to throw in some avocado (my local store had sold out on this occasion…typical), or use kale instead of spinach (remember to remove the chunky stalks and really ensure you dress it well if you do).
Prep time: 15 minutes + 2 hours marinating Cook time: 30 mins Total time: 45 minutes + 2 hours marinating
For the Chicken 600g Skinless, boneless chicken thighs 3 Tbsp Ground cumin 3 Tbsp Paprika 1 Tbsp Garlic powder 1 Tbsp Onion powder 2 Tbsp Salt 1 Tbsp Pepper 2 Tbsp Olive oil
For the Salad 8 Rashers unsmoked bacon 300g Baby spinach 1 Cucumber, sliced into quarters 420g Cherry tomatoes, halved 3 Spring onions, chopped 200g Walnuts, roughly chopped 1 Pink lady apple, cored & thinly sliced
For the Dressing 1/3 cup Runny honey 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil Salt Pepper
For the Chicken
Combine all the spices and chicken thighs in a plastic food bag and ensure every piece of chicken is well coated.
Ideally, leave the chicken to marinate overnight, or minimum 2 hours before you’re due to cook it to ensure it takes in all the flavours.
Preheat the oven to 180C, place the marinated chicken onto a large baking tray and avoid overcrowding.
Bake for 30 mins after which you can check if it is cooked through. If it’s still a bit pink, leave for another 10 mins then check again. You don’t want to over cook the meat.
For the bacon
This is a great mess-free method that gets the bacon nice and crispy and I found this via The Defined Dish).
Place the bacon on baking paper on another tray
Place into a COLD oven (very important!) and then turn the heat to 190C and cook for around 30 mins.
If you don’t have a separate oven, you can do this before you cook the chicken and then either leave wrapped in foil whilst you wait, or have it cold.
And the rest…
In a large salad bowl, add the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, chopped walnuts, apple slices and spring onion.
Slice the chicken and bacon into bite size chunks and add to the salad bowl
Mix up the dressing, test for seasoning and adjust accordingly and pour over the salad.
Toss to combine and ensure everything is well coated
Serve and enjoy!