Tag Archives: one dish meals

Warm Fennel Salad with Bacon

Warm Fennel Salad with Bacon | Paleo + LifeMy friend S. mentioned that she currently has a bumper crop of lettuce, which got me thinking about warm salads. I have often wondered why Americans don’t usually cook salad greens; it is an easy way to increase one’s veggie intake. It’s also a handy way to use up the greens before they go bad — I’m sure we aren’t the only family who buy lettuce with good intentions but sometimes find it shriveled in the fridge several days later.

While I was thinking about salads, I found gigantic bulbs of Florence fennel at our local farmer’s market. I had my littles with me, so was not able to get a picture, but it was an impressive site: with the fronds attached, each fennel bulb was about two feet long. It was so strikingly beautiful, I just had to buy some. I remembered that my friend with all the lettuce also happens to be very fond of fennel, and that as a college student in Santa Barbara, she used to forage for wild fennel.

I brought these two ideas together to create a simple, paleo-friendly dish that is inexpensive enough for a college student budget, and substantial enough for a meal. I used spinach because that was what I had on hand, but another salad green like a red leaf or buttercrunch lettuce would be just as tasty and would take even less time.
The mild, licorice-like taste of fennel gets even milder here, with gentle cooking; the deeper flavors of garlic and bacon dominate. Dress this salad with a dash of oil and vinegar; add tomatoes and slices of avocado if you like, but it is quite tasty as is.

Fennel & Onion Salad with Bacon


  • 1 12 oz. package bacon
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 medium bulb fennel
  • 1 purple onion
  • 1 lb. spinach
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Prepare bacon in the oven, following the package directions. Once the bacon is fully cooked, remove from the oven and set it aside, reserving the rendered fat.
  2. Meanwhile, mince garlic. Thinly slice fennel and onion. Wash the spinach; spin the leaves dry in a salad spinner. (If you do not own a salad spinner, just squeeze the moisture from the leaves as best you can and pat them dry with a paper towel.)
  3. Warm a large saute pan over medium heat for approximately two minutes. Pour the rendered bacon grease into the saute pan.
  4. Add minced garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic browns. Add onions and fennel to pan; saute them until they soften (6-8 minutes).
  5. Add spinach to the saute pan. Stirring continuously, cook until spinach is warmed through (4-5 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Crumble in the reserved bacon. Serve immediately.

Peach, Cherry & Chicken Salad

There is no love in my heart for summer’s heat. My ideal temperature hovers between “comfortable in a sleeveless t-shirt” and “hmmm, might want a sweater.” Being hot annoys me. It feels like a personal insult from the universe, and my attitude responds accordingly.


Peach, Cherry & Chicken Salad | Paleo + LifeThe reason I don’t just pack myself off to the Outer Hebrides is the incredible bounty of luscious fruit and plump veggies summer brings our way. Stone fruit, in particular, is a weakness of mine. Peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries … any and all of them take my breath away. The kids and the husband love them, too: dessert at this time of year is often an exquisitely ripe peach or a fistful of dark cherries.

Sometimes, my cooking is inspired by a trip to the farmer’s market, desire to try a new technique, or a great sale on something special. This one? Well, it was my summer kitchen math.

Summer kitchen math goes something like:
93 degrees = too hot too cook = fast + single bowl + no stove.

I was also feeling indulgent and could not stop thinking about having dessert for dinner. So I came up with an excuse to do just that.
My beloved stone fruit takes center stage, along with crisp romaine lettuce, leftover roast chicken, and a touch of lemon thyme. I finished it with a drizzle of maple lemon dressing so delectable it made me want to lick the bowl.

Variations: If you enjoy dairy, crumble in a touch of bleu cheese. A handful of slivered almonds is also an excellent addition.

Peach, Cherry & Chicken Salad


  • One head of romaine lettuce, washed
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion such as Walla Walla
  • Leftover chicken breast from roast chicken
  • Four small peaches
  • 1 cup dark cherries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme
  • Bleu cheese (optional)
  • Slivered almonds (optional)
  • Maple Lemon Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper


  1. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the lettuce into strips. Place in a large salad bowl.
  2. Roughly dice the onion; add to the salad bowl.
  3. Remove the chicken breast from the carcass.Slice in thin strips and add to the bowl.
  4. Cut the peaches in half, removing the pits. Slice each half into eighths (in other words, sixteen slices from each peach).
  5. Slice the cherries in half, removing the pits. Add the fruit to the salad bowl.
  6. Sprinkle the lemon thyme into the salad. Using your hands, gently toss the salad together. Set aside.
  7. Dressing
  8. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously together.
  9. Drizzle over the salad. If using optional blue cheese and/or almonds, add them now. Serve immediately.



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