A few years ago, when we lived in Georgia, a restaurant that we frequented served up a seasonal salad with mixed greens, fresh strawberries, nuts, and bacon all tossed in a black pepper vinaigrette. I would skip the bacon and even without it, it was one of the best salads I’ve ever had. I crave it to this day — especially when I see a basket of strawberries.
Since strawberries are in season now, it seemed like the perfect time to take a stab at creating my own version of that salad — this time, with the bacon. Well, with coconut bacon. If you haven’t made coconut bacon before, I have a step-by-step tutorial on how to make it on Beard & Bonnet. It’s really simple to do and it’s completely worth it. Most bacon substitutes get the flavor right, but the texture is wrong. Coconut bacon is about as close as you can get to nailing both the flavor of bacon and the crispy texture too.
So does it taste like coconut? Well, a little bit, but it’s hardly detectable. And if you’re one of those people who dislikes coconut flakes because of the chewy texture, don’t worry — the coconut gets crispy in the oven, so that chewiness goes away.
The sweet spring strawberries are the perfect compliment to the savory, salty bacon. I opted to use a prepared salad mix from the store, which makes this simple salad even easier to throw together. I used an herb blend because I love the little bits of cilantro, basil, and dill running through the greens, but you can use any lettuce mix you want — just toss in a few of your own favorite herbs before serving.
To finish things off, I added almonds and roasted pepitas for some crunch (and protein!) and drizzled it all with a homemade black pepper vinaigrette. I like having my salad with a few thinly sliced wedges of cheese on the side to round out the meal, but this is one of those salads that’s satisfying all by itself — no need to add soup or a sandwich!
For the coconut bacon:
For the black pepper vinaigrette:
For the salad:
Make the coconut bacon:
Make the black pepper vinaigrette:
Build your salad:
You'll have some leftover vinaigrette and coconut bacon from this recipe. The vinaigrette will last a week or two in the fridge, and the coconut bacon keeps for a few days in a tightly covered container at room temperature.
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