One of the fun things about touring colleges with our teenagers is checking out new cities and trying new restaurants. Last spring, in both Texas and California, we inadvertently had several delicious meals all from the same restaurant group – Hillstone. We are big fans of their menus and always had great service, so trying out several of their restaurants was a treat. They all have their own unique vibe and menu differences at each location, but consistently have great food and drinks. And I’m not sure why, but the people watching scene has always been top notch, too.
One popular item that has been consistent on each menu and one I have had multiple times is the Macho Salad. A meal all to itself and everything you want in a salad: crunch, creaminess, saltiness, and sweetness. The highlight for me is always the cornbread croutons.
Re-creating this salad at home was a no-brainer. We almost always have leftover cornbread from chili and now they have a new and delicious use in this salad. In fact, freezing leftover cornbread in cubes makes this dish all the more easy. Pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store and you can have this salad on the table in no time at all.
Mixed Greens with Roasted Chicken, Dates and Cornbread Croutons
This salad is inspired by a delicious dinner we had at Hillstone in Santa Monica. The Macho Salad, similar to a Cobb Salad but with a fun twist of cornbread croutons, dates and crispy prosciutto. Tossed with a maple citrus vinaigrette, it makes a satisfying lunch or dinner.
- 1 cup cornbread croutons
- 4-6 cups arugula and/or mixed greens
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
- 6 pitted dates, sliced
- 1 avocado, cut in half, pitted and cubed
- ½ cup almonds, toasted, chopped
- 1 cup roasted chicken, diced or shredded
- ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
- 4 slices crispy bacon or prosciutto
- 1 tbsp minced shallot
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch Maldon salt or any coarse flake salt
For the dressing: Add ingredients to a mason jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until emulsified.
For the salad: Add ingredients to a large bowl. Toss with just enough vinaigrette to coat the leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
To make cornbread croutons:
Bake a batch of cornbread. When cooled, cut into cubes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat and place on a rimmed sheet pan in an even layer. Bake at 350 until golden brown, about 8-10 min.