This hearty salad is filled with Fall-forward ingredients, perfect for a weeknight dinner, packed lunch, or even a Thanksgiving side dish.
One of my favorite salads in Denver is the Grilled Chicken Salad at True Food Kitchen. And I kind of hate how much I love this salad, as the rest of the menu is delicious as well, but the chunks of manchego cheese and juicy apples have me ordering that salad every time.
The original salad includes jicama, apple, faro, dates, manchego cheese, grilled chicken, and champagne vinaigrette. My version is a bit different, yet still has the lovely contrasting textures and plenty of Fall flavors. I had to keep the manchego cheese as that’s the key to this salad (in my opinion), so please try to find this cheese! Instead of faro I went with barely (Bry and I have been obsessed lately), pears instead of apples, and no dates as I wanted to lighten up the sweetness of the salad. However, diced dates or figs would be a lovely addition, especially if serving for Thanksgiving. Because I try to eat vegetarian a couple days each week, I used maple-baked tofu instead of grilled chicken. But feel free to add in any proteins of choice – chickpeas would be another nice vegetarian option if you aren’t a tofu fan. For the dressing, I went with a simple apple cider and Dijon mustard vinaigrette.
As mentioned a few times, this salad would be a great side dish to serve at Thanksgiving, just leave the chicken or tofu out. It would also be a delicious, healthy way to use up thanksgiving leftovers as you could use turkey for the protein and add any leftover cranberry sauce and roasted vegetables.
Can you believe we’re already talking about Thanksgiving?! I feel like it was only just July and yet Bry’s birthday is this weekend, Halloween is next week, and I’m starting to plan my Thanksgiving menu. I’m not complaining though. I adore this time of year with all the decorations, crisp Fall air, and ski season (a.k.a hot cocoa season) on the horizon!
So here’s a toast to staying healthy throughout the upcoming holiday season!
- 14-16- oz of roasted tofu or chicken could also use 1-2 cans of chickpeas, roasting the chickpeas before adding to the salad
- 1 large pear
- 4-5 ounces manchego cheese cut into small cubes
- 1 cup cooked barley
- ¼ cup roasted slivered almonds
- Optional 1/3 cup diced dates or figs
- 12 ounce bag mixed baby greens washed and dried
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Pinch salt and pepper
- Prep your ingredients by dicing tofu (or chicken), pear, cheese, and dates (if using). Set aside.
- Place rinsed salad greens in a large serving bowl. Add cooked barley and then the diced tofu/chicken, cheese, pear, and dates (if using). Sprinkle almonds over the top.
- In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust.
- Pour dressing over salad and toss well before serving. Enjoy!