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I don’t know how typical of an Irish Salad this is, but I found a recipe for bacon salad with cheese dressing in an Irish cook book and found my mouth watering at the thought. The original recipe says to use cooleeney cheese and apples from Tipperary, I’ve never had cooleeney cheese in my life and have no idea what it tastes like, but it seems to me that most farmhouse cheeses have a strong or distinct flavor. Unfortunately while the vegan cheese market is growing it has not yet grown so big as to incorporate ‘off beat’ or regional or specialty cheeses. So I chose to use a combination of vegan Provolone and cream cheese as that was all I had available outside of cheddar, jack, mozzarella or Jalapeno Havarti. Still, despite my recreation not being as accurate as possible I do think it turned out damn delicious, and I will definitely be making it again.

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The key to this salad I think is to make sure you use quality products, because it’s so simple you want the best flavor you can find. Get the freshest fall apples, get the crispest lettuce, use your favorite vegan cheese and buy the good coconut flakes to make the coconut bacon. You do that, and you’re going to have a shining star of a side salad. A great accompaniment to any meal, or a nice light lunch, if serving as a lunch enjoy with some brown soda bread scones!

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Bacon Salad with Farmhouse Cheese Dressing 

2 Heads Romaine lettuce chopped or torn
½ Cup Coconut Bacon (Recipe Follows)
1 Large tart Apple Chopped (I Used Pink Lady)
Dash of Sea Salt
Dash of Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Minced Fresh Parsley

Cheese Dressing

1/3 Cup Vegan Sour Cream
1- 2 Tbsp Vegan Cream Cheese
2- 4 Slices Vegan Provolone (or favorite sharp vegan cheese)
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Cracked Black Pepper to taste
A Dash of Agave if a sweeter dressing is desired (Optional)

Coconut Bacon 

½ Cup Dried Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
½ Tbsp Liquid Smoke
Dash of Smoked Paprika
Dash of Garlic Powder
Dash of Smoked Sea Salt

Instructions – Coconut Bacon 

– Combine all liquid ingredients in a bowl, and pre-heat a small pan over medium heat. Once heated add the coconut flakes and pour the sauce over, mix with a spatula to combine. Fry for 3-5 minutes turning occasionally so the flakes don’t burn. Once browned and most of the liquid has been absorbed turn off the heat and remove the coconut to a plate to cool. Let cool 5 minutes. Leave any remaining liquid in the pan.

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Instructions – Salad 

– Cook the chopped apple in the liquid remaining in the pan you used to cook the coconut bacon. Saute apple until golden and then remove from the heat.

– Place Romaine, Coconut Bacon, and Apple in a large bowl and garnish with salt, pepper and parsley.

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Instructions – Dressing 

– Combine all dressing ingredients in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk together until cheese has melted and everything is smooth and heated through.

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– Pour the warm dressing over the salad, toss to combine and serve!

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