Say hi to my guest blogger, Laura! I first stumbled upon Laura’s recipes via her Instagram account (@paleo_in_comparison) and quickly came to admire her creativity when it came to food and her genuine nature. She’s a wife, homeschool mom of two rambunctious boys, and the Paleo blogger behind Paleo In Comparison and a growing Facebook community of the same name. In November of 2011, after years of yo-yo dieting and eating disorders, she stumbled into the Paleo lifestyle. With a total weight loss of 60 pounds (27 kg), and a complete change in her physical and emotional health, she’s never looked back. Paleo gave her life and health back, and helped her form a healthy relationship with food (I can relate!). She’s passionate about sharing her story, and believes that clean eating and living are essential to lifelong health and wellness. I know you’ll love her approach to food and her sense of humor.
If you’re looking for a tasty salad for your holiday table, I think this is perfect and the thought of the hot, sweet dressing makes my mouth water! With no further adieu, here’s Laura and her Collard and Brussels Salad with Hot Sweet Bacon Dressing…
“But salads aren’t sexy.”
That’s what I said to my husband when I told him I was considering making a salad for this guest post.
Salads are often neglected in the Paleo / Primal community for the glitz and glory of a rare steak, “Paleo” cookies, and bacon-wrapped…well…anything! But there are a lot of benefits to eating salads.
First, while I don’t subscribe to a raw food only diet, there most certainly are huge benefits to consuming our fruits and vegetables raw whenever possible. It’s just science – cooking can destroy and break down some of the vital nutrients and fiber in our foods. Cooking is a process – albeit a harmless one – but eating foods raw is the closest to unprocessed that we can get. Salads are a great way to get a lot of different veggies into our diets in their purest form.
On the more practical side, raw foods like salads are super convenient and easy to take with us anywhere. Cold travels better than hot, and you don’t need a microwave or oven to reheat it.
Whenever someone wants “a light lunch,” they go for a salad, but I would argue that nothing will fill your belly faster than raw veggies! Because all of that fiber hasn’t been broken down in the cooking process, you’re going to feel fuller longer – just be sure to drink plenty of water to help your tum-tum digest all that fibrous goodness!
Salads? Not sexy? Boy, did I change my mind fast! Healthy is sexy. So, if A=B and B=C, then A=C. It’s Logic 101. Salads are healthy, healthy is sexy. Therefore, salads are sexy!
The result of my salad revelation was this chicken thigh salad inspired by the colors of the Holiday season. Don’t worry, I was a good Paleo / Primal cook, and threw a little bacon grease in there for good measure. I hope you enjoy this sexy salad as much as my family did!
Collard and Brussels Salad with Seasonal Fruit, Hot Sweet Bacon Dressing & Crispy Chicken Skin Crumbles
Ingredients For the Salad
- 8 cups raw collards, shredded or finely chopped
- 4 cups raw brussels, quartered
- 1-1/3 cups raw cranberries
- 1 large green pear, sliced (or two small)
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin on (if you have a hungry set, make double for 2 thighs per serving)
- Salt & pepper
- Special equipment: parchment paper
Directions for the Salad
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Remove skins from raw chicken thighs. This should be very easy. You may need to use a small paring knife in some spots, but the skins should come off easily just by hand. Once removed, cut the square-like pieces of skin in half. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper – this will help absorb the grease as the skins bake, making them crispier. Place on the cookie sheet and bake until deep golden brown and crispy, approximately 15 minutes. When finished remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool completely, uncovered.
- Remove parchment paper from cookie sheet, use the grease from the skins to coat the bottom of the cookie sheet. Place chicken thighs onto cookie sheet and coat with remaining grease (if you don’t have enough grease, you can coat the thighs with a little fat of choice – duck fat or ghee is always great with chicken). Season simply with a little salt and pepper. Bake at 375°F (190°C) until internal temp reaches 160°F (80°C), approximately 20-30 minutes depending on how many you cook. Allow to cool. Remove meat from bones & shred with your fingers.
Ingredients for the Dressing
Directions for the Dressing
- Melt bacon grease in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add balsamic vinegar and crushed garlic. Reduce liquid until it starts to thicken and the fat and vinegar are incorporated. Stir mixture occasionally with a rubber or wooden spatula while cooking. Once it has thickened, remove from heat and pour into a separate bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk well. Keep in mind the dressing should be served warm. Refrigerate leftovers and simply reheat to serve. The fat in the dressing will cause the dressing to harden when cold, so don’t be alarmed. Reheating will bring it back to proper consistency.
Plating the Salad
- On each full-sized dinner plate, make a base with 2 cups of raw collards and 1 cup of raw Brussels sprouts. Place 1/4 of the pear slices on greens. Top with meat from 1 chicken thigh (2 if you doubled the chicken). Top with 1/3 cup of cranberries and some crumbled crispy chicken skins. Serve dressing on the side, or simply drizzle over the salad before serving.
Change it Up
- You can use any leftover white meat you have for this salad.
- If you want to make it with leftover meat, and do not have the crispy chicken skins, simply replace them with crispy bacon crumbles.
- You can also make a quick and cold sweet dressing with honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon, and a little salt and pepper.
Do you have any questions for Laura? Let her know in the comments below!