Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad with Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing is the crunchy, creamy, bacony salad of your dreams topped with a sweet, aromatic, tasty dressing you’ll love.
When you go to a restaurant do you love to order salads as much as I do? Is that a strange question? It’s just that restaurant salads are always so darn good and they put the yummiest toppings on the crispiest lettuce and I for some reason just don’t usually think to put all that fabulousness together in one healthy dish.
Well, all that’s about to change as I’ve decided to step it up in the salad and dressing department. First of all, we (meaning me and my family) could all use more veggies in our lives and I’ll take them any way they come. Second, salads are so easy to put together if you have the right ingredients and give it a little bit of forethought like you would any other meal. The best part is you can use any type of lettuce or greens for your base (plus any other veggies you like in your salads) and then all you have to do is top with a piece of baked or grilled chicken (or even leftover chicken), crumble bacon, toss on a little feta and avocado, and top with the finger-licking-good Vidalia Onion Dressing.
I have to admit, I’m digging Vidalia onions right now — they are easy to find, easy to cut (no tears!) and taste so, so good raw, cooked, or blended into dressings, marinades, or salsas. Even my onion-hating friends admit they are in love with the Vidalia. (In fact, I may be adding this recipe to the blog at her request, so she can make it and share it whenever she likes.)
WHAT IS A VIDALIA ONION?
A Vidalia Onion is one of several different kinds of sweet onions, in this case, the Yellow Granex. They have been historically gown in the town of Vidalia, GA, thus giving this delicious onion its name. (Fun fact, the Vidalia Onion is Georgia’s official state vegetable.)
The Vidalia onions tend to be very mild and sweet in taste and are easy to put in a variety of recipes — from kabobs to marinades and from salads to dressings and everything in between. I love that they don’t make me cry when I cut them and I also love that they are one of the few onion varieties my kids enjoy eating.
WHAT MAKES THIS SWEET VIDALIA ONION DRESSING SO GOOD?
I think people often forget that onions are in the same family as garlic. Garlic is standard in tons of dishes (and goes great with onions as well). But, if we can blend up dressings with garlic, then why can’t we do the same with onions? I say we can and we will (and I did!).
In addition to the delicious Vidalia Onion, I’ve also included some of my other favorite ingredients: olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic, orange juice, Dijon, and of course salt and pepper. It’s equal parts tangy, sweet, and sour, pairs so well with the chicken, bacon, and feta that makes up the “meat” of this salad. You’ll want to make a double batch of this dressing and eat it on all your salads from now on!
HOW DO YOU STORE VIDALIA ONIONS?
While some onions can be put in the pantry or a cool, dry place, it is recommended that Vidalia onions are stored in the veggie drawer along with your other vegetables because they have a high water content. That high water content means they are more easily bruised and don’t keep as long as drier onions.
To help absorb the moisture of the onions, you can wrap each one in a paper towel or in the legs of clean, sheer pantyhose before placing in your veggie drawer. (Add an onion to the pantyhose, tie a knot, add another, tie a knot, etc. till you’ve used up the whole leg.) Vidalia onions will keep for months this way (wrapped and refrigerated).
You can also place your onions in a cool, dry place on racks or screens, but the onions cannot be touching one another and don’t store them with potatoes, as this will make the onions spoil faster as well.
I sure do hope you love this Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad with Sweet Vidalia Dressing as much as I do. It’s a keeper for sure!
Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad with Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing
- 4-6 cups lettuce
- 4 strips of bacon - cooked til crisp and chopped
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
- 2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts - OR 2 cups cubed or shredded chicken
vidalia onion dressing
- 1 medium vidalia onion - diced
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup honey - or more to taste
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt - or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper - or to taste
- 2 tablespoons mayo - (optional, to thicken the dressing)
chicken marinade (optional)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- If using the chicken marinade, combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl, add chicken and toss to coat, cover and chill for 30 minutes. Bake or grill until cooked through, chop and set aside.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a food processor or quality blender, pulse until smooth.
- Assemble salad with lettuce topped with chicken, bacon, avocado, feta, and sunflower seeds. Drizzle dressing over everything and serve.