Cook’s Salad

By Kevin • 30 or Less, All, Salads • 5 May 2013

Cooks Salad

When I really got into cooking years ago, I realized early on that I’m not a chef, but a cook. If you’ve ever had the chance to work in or watch a restaurant kitchen during a busy service, you’ll understand that it’s nothing like the relaxed pace of cooking for yourself or friends at home. There’s no time to try something new again if it doesn’t work and drinking an entire bottle of wine during service might be frowned upon. Besides, “chef” literally means “chief” and the last time I checked, I was being ordered around by my wife and dinner guests, not leading a brigade in my kitchen. I have immense respect for the gruelling work, talent, training and years of experience required to be a chef. For now at least, I’m a “home cook” and I’m happy to use that term. If it’s good enough for Nigella, it’s definitely good enough for me.

A typical chef’s salad has ham, turkey, egg and plain cheddar. That’s boring and if you know me, you’ll know me, you’ll know that I need bacon and smoked cheese.

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4


12 slices bacon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon stevia (or other sweetener equivalent to 1 teaspoon sugar)
1 large clove garlic – very finely chopped or crushed
¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 pound leafy greens – washed
½ small red onion – very thinly sliced
2 ounces smoked white cheddar – grated


Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the bacon strips on it in a single layer. Bake for twenty minutes or until crisp.

While the bacon is cooking, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, tomato paste, stevia, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper.

Toss the salad leaves and onion with the dressing mixture.

Plate the dressed salad, topping with the bacon cut into one-inch pieces. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve immediately.

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