1 medium heart of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 of a loaf ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally
1tablespoons olive oil
1 cup grape and/or cherry tomatoes
3 slices bacon
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup torn fresh basil
Brush cut sides of lettuce and bread with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Thread tomatoes onto skewers,* leaving 1/4 inch between each tomato. For a charcoal or gas grill, place lettuce and bread, cut sides down, and tomato skewers on the rack of a covered grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes or until light grill marks appear on lettuce and tomatoes and bread is toasted, removing food from grill as it is done. Coarsely chop lettuce and cut bread into 1-inch pieces. Remove tomatoes from skewers.
For vinaigrette, in a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Cut up bacon; set aside. If necessary, add enough of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the reserved drippings to equal 3 tablespoons. Add onion to the reserved drippings; cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Cook about 1 minute more or until reduced slightly, stirring to scrape up crusty browned bits.
In a large bowl combine lettuce, bread, tomatoes, bacon, basil, and cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
From the Test Kitchen TIP: This recipe can easily be doubled to serve 14 to 16 people.
*TIP: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes; drain before using.
Nutrition Facts: Per serving: 135 kcal cal., 9 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 4 g monounsatured fat), 13 mg chol., 245 mg sodium, 8 g carb., 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 4 g pro. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
1/2 c. yellow grape tomatoes or pear tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
4 thick-sliced bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/2 c. tart cherry preserves
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Preheat oven to 400°. Scrub beets and trim tops to 1 in. Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake 50-60 minutes or until tender. Remove foil; cool completely. Peel beets and cut into 1/2-in. pieces.
In a large bowl, combine salad greens, apples, carrot, tomatoes, beans, walnuts, bacon and cooled beets. In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients until blended. Serve with salad. Yield: 10 servings (1 cup each).
1 cup salad with about 1 tablespoon vinaigrette equals 181 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 221 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 fat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable.
Originally published as Harvest Salad with Cherry Vinaigrette in Taste of Home September/October 2013, p3-7