The Best Lil’ Arugula Salad I Ever Did Taste

fullsizeoutput_470afullsizeoutput_470efullsizeoutput_470dfullsizeoutput_4708fullsizeoutput_470fI often spend my Saturday mornings scrolling through Pinterest while I sip on my coffee. In search of new recipe inspiration, I go about my lazy weekend morning routine until my scrolling finger begins to cramp. Pinterest for the most part never lets me down. Yet, for some reason as I looked for THE winter salad to end all other winter salads, nothing was hitting all the right notes. Granted, I was trying to make a salad that could hold its own our gnocchi bolognese first course. Not an easy task to make people excited for some lettuce greens after they’ve licked their plates clean from the pasta course.

However, while no salad could ever beat a pasta recipe that’s been passed down four generations, I think I did the salad community some justice with this recipe. It hits all the right notes and while you won’t find it grouped with the “detox” salads anytime soon, it tastes pretty dang good and sometimes that is all that matters!

I might just like this salad particularly well because it combines two things I love very much – pancetta and parmesan – a combination which may even give peanut butter and jelly a run for its money. To be fair, I can justify adding parmesan to most things – edible or not – but pancetta is a game changer on this dainty lil’ bed of greens. However, while our local grocery stores have upped their game recently, they still don’t make it easy for a girl to find herself some pancetta!

Thankfully, Trader Joe’s understands the need for Italian bacon and at most TJ’s stores, you can find a little package of pancetta tucked in with salamis and cheeses in the deli section. While I can’t advise anyone in their financial decisions, I highly recommend splurging on Trader Joe’s new blue cheese mustard as a fabulous dipping sauce and accouterment to all your sandwich needs.

But, back to salads…I love this salad as a fancy first course, or even on its own topped with a little rotisserie chicken! Also, I like to dress the salad a half hour before serving to let the apples marinate and all the flavors develop!

Parmesan Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup shaved/grated parmesan
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp oregano/Italian seasoning

For the salad:

  • 1 package cubed pancetta
  • 10 oz baby arugula
  • 1 cup honey crisp apple (julienned)
  • 1/2 cup shaved parmesan
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts

Instructions:

  1. Start by cooking the pancetta in a small pan over medium heat until all the fat has been cooked out. Place the cooked pancetta on a paper towel to get rid of any excess drippings and allow it to cool.
  2. Next, prepare the salad dressing by combining the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, oregano, and parmesan in a blender/food processor. You can store the dressing in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
  3. Add the arugula to a large bowl.
  4. Cut and julienne the honey crisp apple until you have about one cups-worth, and add the apple to the bowl with the arugula.
  5. Measure and add both the parmesan and pine nuts to the salad, as well as the pancetta cooked earlier.
  6. Slowly drizzle in the dressing prepared earlier, reserving half initially. As you begin to toss the salad, you can add in more dressing as needed.
  7. Top each portion with a little more shaved parmesan and serve immediately to your favorite people!

Peppery greens, crispy pancetta….what more could you ask for? If you try this recipe and like it as much as I do, please let me know! In the meantime, I will be detoxing from Christmas cookies and See’s candies.

-xo Grace

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