The Perfect Fall Salad

September 21, 2015

filling-colorful-fall-salad-tahini-dressing

This past weekend was officially the last weekend of summer and I am surprisingly okay with that. In past years I would have been to the beach at LEAST a half a dozen times by this time of year, but nowadays I don’t crave going to the beach at all and, if anything, I would actually prefer hanging out at a pool with 3 layers of SPF and a pool noodle.

In all seriousness though, the real reasons I’m not so sad about saying bye-bye to summer are 1. the return of cozy tops and jeans to my daily rotation, 2. winding down the year and all of the holiday get togethers coming up, and 3. pumpkin, butternut squash and cinnamon on everything!

awesome-fall-salad-sweet-potatoes-bacon

Since I know there will be lots of baking and holiday eating coming up in the next few months, I’ve been eating homemade salads for lunch most days. This salad was one that I threw together with a whole bunch of ingredients that I had on hand and I realized it is THE perfect fall salad (hence this post title). So of course I just had to plate it up really nicely and share it here. :)

It started with the sweet potato and bacon. I always have extra bacon left in those packages you get from the grocery store and I knew that bacon and sweet potatoes would be yummy together (salty and sweet!), so I chopped and cooked both of those up. And then I realized avocado is great in salads too, especially when there’s bacon – very cobb salad-y right? – so that when in. The dried cranberries and slivered almonds came in because I literally put them in every salad I make, no matter what else is in it. Cranberries are very fall-ish too, aren’t they? Goat cheese went in next because to me, no salad is complete without some cheese. You could use any other cheese you like and it would taste just as great. I almost put grated sharp cheddar cheese in here and that orange cheese with the orange sweet potatoes would have been super halloween-y!

And finally, the tahini lime dressing is one that I’ve never made before but it is now my new favorite, which comes at a perfect time since I just bought a big jar of tahini that will last me through many servings of this dressing and of course, HUMMUS (very likely a hummus recipe coming at ya sometime in the future). The combination of everything in this bowl reminds me of curling up with a blanket and drinking a Starbucks PSL. So. very. autumn.

fall-salad-sweet-potato-bacon-goat-cheese

Ingredients:
For the Salad:
– 1 and 1/2 cups of baby spinach
– 1/3 cup bacon, chopped (about 2 slices)
– 3/4 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (half a medium-sized sweet potato)
– 1/4 cup dried cranberries
– 1/2 a ripe avocado, cubed
– 1/4 cup slivered almonds (or other nut of your choice)
– 1/4 cup goat cheese (or other cheese of your choice)
– 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
– salt and pepper to taste
Note: As with any salad, none of the measurements have to be exact – add more or less of any of these ingredients as you like! The salad I made is very hearty and is comparable to an entree-sized salad.
For the Tahini Dressing: 
– 1 tablespoon organic tahini (available on Amazon for about $8 here)
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 teaspoon lime juice
– 1 teaspoon agave syrup
– salt and pepper to taste

To make:

1. In a non-stick pan or skillet over medium/high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Once cooked, set bacon aside and discard bacon grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan.
2. Add cubed sweet potatoes, cinnamon, salt and pepper to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, or whenever potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove from pan and let cool.
3. While your cooked ingredients are cooling, make your dressing by mixing or whisking all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Note: This recipe makes a small amount of dressing compared to the size of this salad since the salad itself has plenty of flavor and moisture. However, if you like having more dressing simply double the dressing.
4. Starting with a bed of baby spinach, assemble all ingredients in salad bowl. Top with dressing and enjoy!

beautiful-healthy-fall-salad-tahini-dressing

perfect-sweet-potato-bacon-fall-salad

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