Spring Vegetable Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
For the Salad:
- 6 Small Radishes
- ¼ lb Green Beans
- ½ Large Head Kale
- ¼ lb Bacon
For the Vinaigrette:
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Minced Shallot
- 1 Heaping Tablespoon Honey
- 1 teaspoon Chili Flakes
- Salt to Taste
- Pepper to Taste
- Snap the ends off the green beans and set aside. Leave a ½ inch of stem on the radishes and quarter them.
- Strip the kale off its Stems and finely chop it.
- Cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and lightly salt it. Prepare an ice bath and blanch the green beans until bright green and slightly tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to the ice bath.
- Blanch the radishes until pale pink and barely tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath with the green beans. When the radish and green beans are chilled drain them well.
- In a large mixing bowl, warm the honey just until it runs easily. Whisk in the chili flakes, shallots, the entire juice of the lemon, and the red wine vinegar.
- Cook the bacon till crispy and remove with a slotted spoon. Slowly pour the bacon fat into the dressing while whisking briskly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust as needed.
- Mix the kale into the warm dressing then add the radishes and green beans and toss to coat. Serve immediately and garnish generously with bacon.
Did You Make It? Tag Us!
- Gluten Free: Yes! This dish is naturally gluten free.
- Dairy Free: Yes! This dish is naturally dairy free.
Meal Prep: Follow these steps if you want to prep ahead of time:
- Complete this recipe through step 6. Store the vegetables and dressing separately in the fridge and cook the bacon. Strain the bacon and store it and the fat separately in the fridge. When ready to make the salad heat the bacon in a pan till hot and warm the bacon grease before whisking into the dressing. Dress the salad right before serving.
What other veggies can be used?
- Heck, just about anything! Asparagus, peas, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, fava beans, spinach, chard, you name it! Consider roasting items like the broccoli and potatoes to add depth of flavor.
How do I know how to adjust the vinaigrette?
- What do you taste the most? If it’s just bland add salt. If it tastes fatty add more acid. Shallots and black pepper add depth and body, honey balances the acid and salt, and of course, chili flakes just tie it all together.
Won’t the bacon fat solidify after I dress the salad?
- Eventually, yes. I recommend only dressing a small portion of the salad right when you’re ready to serve it. (If I dress too big of a portion and it gets cold sometimes I’ll actually microwave the salad for 10-15 seconds, it’s so hearty it won’t wilt it ;).
Ramblings of a Line Cook
When the spring radishes appear, all pink and white and red with their plumage of green tops standing up like peacock feathers, it’s my own personal Christmas. I steal glances at them with a foolish grin on my face as I drive my cart by, while busy produce clerks line them neatly in a row as though they were twinkle lights strung from a balcony.
I often fall prey to my fancies and buy more of them than I possibly know what to do with and always chide myself for letting the beautiful tops wilt and rot before turning them into a pesto.
Spicy in a raw garlic sort of way, a few thin slices from a single radish can carry a salad on its own, leaving so many radishes that still need to be eaten. And so, with a waste-not mentality in the back of my mind and a new determination to just let vegetables be vegetables, I snapped the ends off some spotty green beans, chopped up a head of kale, and took the last bit of bacon from the bottom shelf.
Boil some water and blanch the vegetables. Watch the colors change and snatch them out before they’re overcooked. Into an ice bath, the cold a shock to us both. Crisp some bacon and keep the drippings. Hunt through the pantry and the hanging produce basket for the bones of a good vinaigrette and emulsify it with the bacon fat.
The salad is fresh, it’s warm, it’s taken the role of a centerpiece on the coffee table where we eat every night. The mac n cheese gets cold while we inhale the salad. This is what spring is about.