Brenda Stanley
Belle's favorite salad includes bacon bits, gazed pecans, apple chunks and blue cheese crumbles.

I enjoy cooking healthy, but if it doesn’t taste good, what’s the point? No amount of “it’s good for you” is going to matter to a family staring at a plate of yuck.

When it comes to salads, the dressing is often what makes it or breaks it. If it isn’t thick and rich, you feel like you’re being deprived. But of course, there is the feeling of guilt if you eat something delicious and know that is it full of fat. It’s enough to drive you away from salad and into a chicken fried steak. But before you give up your quest to find a salad that is both healthy and delicious, try my favorite salad. It is wonderfully tasty and simple to make.

Over the years, I’ve been like a mad scientist in my kitchen creating a salad that is healthy but also flavorful. I love texture and taste that meld together. This salad tosses together lettuce, sweet apples, ripe tomatoes, and a savory twist of bacon. It is lightly coated with a creamy poppy seed dressing that I should patent, and then topped with the sweet and salty crunch of glazed pecans.

My favorite salad is a mainstay at my house and a family secret I should keep — but of course, I won’t. I’ll divulge the mystery and give you the recipe for a salad your family will love.

Belle’s Favorite Salad


1 large head Romaine lettuce (or any other lettuce works great) cut into bite size pieces

1 apple, cored and coarsely chopped

2 Roma tomatoes coarsely chopped

½ cup real bacon bits (use the stuff that comes in the bag)

½ cup glazed pecans (find these in the baking section) chopped

Toss together.


1 cup fat free mayo or Miracle Whip

3 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)

1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

¼ cup skim milk

¼ cup blue cheese crumbles (reduced fat works great)

Whisk together all ingredients and drizzle over salad. Toss and add more dressing if needed.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of

twins and a grandmother of two. She is a cookbook author and

novelist. Her website is at