This escarole salad is satisfying and flavorful. It is chock full of flavors and textures like crunchy almonds, buttery avocados, "bacon" flavor chickpeas, pineapple, dried apricots and zesty lemon. I love how the sweet and salty ingredients compliment the bitter greens. This flavor combination came to me when I was sick with a cold. This salad is perfect for a vitamin and flavor infusion!
If you have never tried escarole, you must! It is a hardier lettuce than most and has a mild bitterness that compliments sweet dressings or fruits. It holds up well to tossing, so it is more of a tosser than a drizzler. I love it dressed simply with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper but it also tastes amazing in a basic vinaigrette.
Often salads containing escarole contain bacon because the sweet, savory smokiness of bacon compliments the bitter green. In my Escarole Salad, I choose chickpeas instead. I bake the chickpeas in "bacony" flavors like smoked paprika, maple syrup and soy sauce. They come out of the oven meaty, flavorful and crave worthy.
I added some fruits to this escarole salad for more sweetness. I love pineapple for its flavor profile and also for it's health benefits. Pineapple is wonderful when you have a cold for the extra vitamin C and to thin your mucous. Dried apricots are also also tasty and medicinal. They are great for your digestion and other unmentionable things. Adding sweet fruits to salads makes adding sweeteners to the dressing unecessary which is great if you are avoiding added sugars.
For healthy fats, I added buttery avocado, olive oil and slivered almonds to this Escarole Salad. They bump up the nutrition and also add texture. With all the plant based protein and healthy fat, this salad eats like a meal. It is filling without being heavy. This is the perfect fall or winter salad to help you eat some more roughage. In those months salads are often overlooked and it is important for your health to keep eating raw food and not just cozy comfort food.
- sheet pan, bowl
For Salad base
- 4 cups escarole washed and chopped
- 1 cup pineapple chopped
- 1 avocado peeled and chopped
- 5 each dried apricots sliced thin
- 4 tbsp slivered almonds
- 2 tbsp mint chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Lemon squeezed
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
For "bacon" chickpeas
- 15 oz chickpeas drained well
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- To a bowl add escarole, apricots and pineapple, avocado, almonds and mint.
- Drizzle oil and squeeze lemon, add salt and pepper and then mix well with your hands
For "Bacon" Chickpeas
- Preheat oven to 400
- Toss Chickpeas with olive oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, and smoked paprika the put on a sheet pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes so that the soy sauce and maple do not burn. These chickpeas will be firm and meaty, not crispy when finished.