Bacon, Apple and Arugula Salad with Apple Cider Dressing

Apple, bacon, arugula salad. Perfect for fall.
Apple, bacon, arugula salad. Perfect for fall.

Oh hello Denver, have we met? That’s right! We were roommates almost ten years ago. How could I forget?

My little universe just got a lot smaller folks. After a long, slow cruise around New England and through the Midwest, I’ve made my way back to Denver, where I plan to stay for a bit. (Sorry, not able to define “a bit” right now). What makes this move a little crazy is the full-circleness of it. I lived in Denver right after graduating college in 2005 (which I wrote about here) and was faced with a major crossroads at that time. Finding myself in Denver once again feels like starting again at “Go.” Do not collect $200.

Approaching Denver from Kansas.
Approaching Denver from Kansas.

There are some eerie parallels. Ten years ago I waited tables at a breakfast joint in Cherry Creek, rented a room from a couple near City Park, arrived with all my worldly possessions in the back of a car, having recently returned from a solo summer backpacking stint in Europe. Fast forward to 2014, I just got hired at that same breakfast restaurant, am living with a different couple near City park, just moved all my worldly possessions out of the back of the car, and as you all now, recently returned from an epic adventure in Spain.

Denver sunset.
Denver sunset.

Approaching Denver from Kansas was a special experience as the mountains rise suddenly and gracefully out of what seemed like, just moments earlier, endless plain. The exact same feelings of accomplishment, finality, clarity, and direction hit me as when, making the final approach into Santiago de Compostela, the cathedral appears, clear and calm, stretching out of the city. And I knew from the center of my gut to the edges of my eyebrows that coming to Colorado was the right way.

One especially welcome perk to settling in somewhere for a bit is access to a kitchen. I’m diving right into a Whole30 (well, actually it will be a Whole14) and couldn’t be happier to cook the heck out of everyday. The weather here in Denver has been sunny and warm, so we were lucky enough to enjoy this fall-inspired salad al fresco.

Now Denver, what crossroads do you have in store for me? This oughta be good.

Eating outside while it lasts.
Eating outside while it lasts.

Bacon, Apple and Arugula Salad with Apple Cider Dressing
Serves 4

1 lb thick cut bacon
1 large apple, chopped
4 green onions, cut lengthwise
4 handfuls spinach
4 handfuls arugula

For dressing:
2/3 cup apple cider
1 TBL agave or honey
1 TBL Dijon mustard
2 TBL apple cider vinegar
1/3 – ½ cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until desired crispness. Reserve all but about 2-3 TBL of fat in the pan and add apple and green onion. Sautee until soft, about 5 minutes.

To make dressing, whisk cider, agave, mustard and vinegar together, drizzling oil in slowly to emulsify. You’ll need to eyeball this. If you’re not sure about the oil proportion, just add a little at a time until the consistency looks right. Don’t worry, it’s really not a big deal. Add some salt and pepper.

At this point, after crumbling the bacon, you could toss everything together in a big bowl, or plate individually. Up to you. Main thing, enjoy.

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