Sunday, September 5, 2010

Arugula Salad with Turkey Bacon, Walnuts, and Cornbread Croutons

My husband and I have a regular favorite salad structure...good sturdy greens, smoky turkey bacon, candied nuts, a little fresh or dried fruit, and a some strong cheese.  What we have here is another variation on the regular, pulled together with some delicious homemade cornbread croutons, some dates, and my all-time favorite cheese, comte.  Have you had comte?  It's been my favorite for years, since I discovered while studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence.  Give this humble little salad a try...the flavors all pull together so well!  It's a tasty, filling main-dish salad, but also would be nice enough to serve to guests.

Arugula Salad with Turkey Bacon, Walnuts, and Cornbread Croutons
serves 3 as a main course, 6 as a side-dish or starter

6 cups baby arugula, rinsed and dried
2-3 serving-sized squares cornbread, from leftovers or store-bought (alternately, 1 large corn muffin would work) (low-fat, if you prefer)
cooking spray
1 tsp cinnamon, divided
1 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
pinch cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
6 thin slices turkey bacon
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp whole-grain mustard
1 garlic cloves, pushed through a press.
3 Tbsp chopped dried dates
1 oz or less Comte cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cut cornbread (or corn muffin) into 1/2 inch dice.  For best results, be sure to cut the cubes evenly.
3. Spread cornbread cubes out on a baking sheet covered with foil.  Spray 5 times with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, and a little sit.  Toss to coat.  Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until firm and well toasted.
4. Toast chopped walnuts in toaster oven or on stove-top.  Once you can smell them and they begin to darken, remove quickly from heat.  Spray five times with cooking spray (short, quick, sprays!), and then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 pinch cayenne pepper, and generous pinches of salt and pepper.  Stir to coat.
5. Cook turkey bacon according to package directions, and once crisp, remove from heat to cool slightly.
6. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette.  Blend the canola oil, red wine vinegar, pressed garlic, water, salt, and pepper well. 
7. To assemble main-dish salads, in each of 3 bowls, place 2 cups baby arugula.  Top each with 2 slices turkey bacon, crumbled, 2 Tbsp candied walnuts, 1 Tbsp dates, and 1/3 dressing.  Then arrange a few cornbread croutons on each salad.
8. To finish salads, use a vegetable peeler to create delicate shavings of Comte, and sprinkle a few on each salad before serving.


  1. This is the kind of salad I love also. Maybe with some chickpeas thrown in. I really love chickpeas.

    I've never had comte before! Need to try it!

  2. I also love this kind of salad. It's beautiful and tasty as well as being nutritious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  3. I agree with you and your husband's approach to salads - definitely needs to have some light protein, fruit, cheese and nuts to make it out of the ordinary. And the cornbread croutons look great!

  4. Delicious looking salad!! I love all the different flavors!

  5. It sounds delicious! And it looks so pretty. I like my salads to have some nuts, dark greens, a smidgen of a flavorful, strong cheese, and a little fruit too.

  6. Ooo good mix. I like the smoky and sweet together.