September 5, 2014

Cold Cucumber Noodle BLT Salad with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette (Gluten Free, Paleo, Whole30)

Cucumber Noodle BLT Salad with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette (Paleo, Whole30)

I'm fairly straight and narrow when it comes to following the rules. I always wear my seat belt. I don't break any traffic laws. Well, not often. I won't cheat, not even playing Yahtzee. I feel bad when I accidentally take the bank's pen. Sorry, I didn't mean to. Sure, I've broken some rules in my days, especially in my early 20's when getting pulled over for speeding was a regular thing. Hey, I have a heavy foot... I just believe most rules are made to be kept. But, there are some that are made to be broken. Like wearing white after Labor Day. Although I don't wear white before or after.

And eating summer meals after Labor Day... Okay, so it's probably not technically a rule. Labor Day is supposed to signify the end of summer (even though it's not officially over until the end of September). The end of outdoor events and parties. And for many, the end of tomato dishes and the beginning of all things pumpkin.

I actually planned to post this before Labor Day, but...stuff happens. 

Cucumber Noodle BLT Salad with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette (Paleo, Whole30)

Fresh garden cucumbers. Fresh and juicy summer tomatoes. These are signs of summer and are best eaten during long summer days. A tomato in the winter just doesn't taste the same. But every year around this time, I hang on tightly to summer and the light, quick meals that feature the beauty of summer produce. And tomatoes taste good well into September. So I hope you're with me on this, because this dish is so good! Go out and hoard the last of those fresh tomatoes, because you're going to want to eat this every week. (Please eat some for me too, because my body is not reacting well with tomatoes so this is sadly the last for me for awhile.)

Now, I call this a BLT salad because it is reminiscent of a BLT sandwich. We have the bacon and tomatoes, but instead of lettuce (which would seem weird in this) I used baby spinach. Baby kale or argula would also work well. I miss eating BLTs so this is a fun alternative. (Though I did eat one with a paleo pita pocket I was experimenting with. It's AIP too!) And spiralizing is just so much fun.

Okay guys, let's get to the recipe. I hope you enjoy! I like to top mine with the Tomato Basil Vinaigrette I posted recently, but the recipe is written so you don't need it. It simply adds a little extra flavor. I tried this without roasting the cherry tomatoes and it's delicious either way. When you roast the tomatoes, it does add a little more flavor, but also creates more moisture in the salad.

Concerned if eating bacon is healthy? Read HERE and HERE.
Cucumber Noodle BLT Salad with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette (Paleo, Whole30)Cucumber Noodle BLT Salad with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
serves 2-3

What you need:

3 medium or 2 large cucumbers, spiralized (2 1/2 cups noodles)
1 - 1 1/2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes (about 1 pint)
4-6 slices bacon*, cooked and crumbled
1 cup baby spinach (or baby kale or arugula)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp granulated garlic (I get bulk herbs here)
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
pepper, to taste

Optional for topping: 
Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette
feta cheese

*Let's be honest, you're going to want to cook more than that, because you will likely eat half of it. Find sugar-free bacon through US Wellness Meats. (Find how I stock my paleo pantry and more here.)

How to make:

Dice bacon into small cubes and cook over low-medium heat until crispy. Take care not to burn. Set aside. Peel and spiralize cucumbers using a spiral slicer (attachment with small triangles on the Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer) or a julienne peeler. Large English cucumbers are best for less moisture, but any med/large cucumbers will work. Place noodles between double-layered paper towels. Pat down gently to remove excess water. Toss noodles with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk ingredients in small dish first if desired. Add about 1 cup halved tomatoes (or less), spinach (chopped smaller if you'd like), and bacon and toss until mixed well. Optional: Serve with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette or top with crumbled feta cheese. Best served immediately. If made ahead, carefully drain excess liquid before serving.

Note: Because I prefer crispy bacon, I don't add bacon until ready to serve or sprinkle extra on top. 

To make with roasted cherry tomatoes (optional): Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half and place on baking sheet. Roast 1 1/2 cups halved tomatoes. Drizzle with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes begin to burst. May make a day ahead. Toss with salad as above without adding additional olive oil.

You can find more spiralizer recipes in my post that includes over 60 of them from various paleo and real food bloggers. I use the Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer and I talk about how to avoid a counterfeit unit in this post.

Find 60+ Paleo Spiralizer Recipes here.

Cucumber Noodle BLT Salad with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette (Paleo, Whole30)

60+ Paleo Spiralizer Recipes plus how to avoid a counterfeit Paderno slicer 
Tomato Basil Vinaigrette 
Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles and Spinach 
Tomato Cucumber & Red Onion Salad with Balsamic Basil Vinaigrette
Tangy Marinated Slaw (AIP)

I hope you all had a wonderful summer! My next few posts (while it will still be very slow around here) will be about my journey -- a very late update to where I am now since completing the Whole30 and following paleo.

Shared at: Real Food Wednesday, Allergy Free WednesdaysGluten Free Wednesday, Thank Goodness It's Monday

Cucumber Noodle BLT Salad with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette (Gluten Free, Paleo, Whole30)

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