finished with tangy raspberry vinaigrette and sweet cinnamon roll croutons.
When Dad and I blitzed through baseball stadiums on the East Coast in August, I fell victim to the time change. We ended our tour in Washington, DC, and by the time I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, exercised, and showered each morning, most people had already snagged sandwiches for an early lunch break. Instead of nibbling on stale breakfast pastries, Dad and I skipped straight to the savory stuff.
With our hotel situated two blocks from Union Station, we walked to the train terminal every day. After our second stroll over, I discovered and dragged my very excited Dad to the Chop’t Creative Salad Company, an establishment unique to DC and NYC. (We love our big healthy salads!)
Upon arriving, we joined the colossal queue snaking through the diners’ tables. As we approached the counter, the workers tossed questions our way. “Greens?” the first woman asked, poised in front of 5 different buckets on the back wall. “Toppings?” inquired the next guy, his tongs hovering above the slew of veggies, fruits, nuts, and cheeses. “Good?” a third server checked after deftly slashing through my entire mix—spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, and chicken—with an oversized mezzaluna. (Basically a round-bladed rocking knife as long as your arm with wooden handles on either end.) “Dressing?” the same guy requested before squirting in my selection from a plastic squeeze bottle. “Bread?” he confirmed, then shut the lid and shuttled the container down to the cashier.
After polishing off every shred of spinach and scrap of chicken, the squeaky hamster wheels in my brain started turning. Maybe salad for breakfast isn’t such a bad thing… A few moments passed, then: What about a breakfast salad?
Back at home, that’s exactly what I created: a Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Salad. I hunted around for morning-friendly morsels of sweet and savory ingredients—hardboiled egg whites, salty bacon, sweet juicy apples—and tossed them with crisp romaine lettuce. Since every salad deserves a dressing as an underlying backdrop, I drizzled in a few tablespoons of tangy raspberry vinaigrette before adding the star of the salad: crunchy golden cinnamon roll croutons.
The Immaculate Baking Company shipped me a sample of their cinnamon rolls, which I popped open for this recipe to save a little time. Each buttery, flaky pastry quickly puffed up in the oven, and I slyly snuck a few bites of the airy rolls as I sliced them up to toast for the croutons. Although any cinnamon rolls will work—even homemade—I’d recommend a can of refrigerated ones if you’re running short on time. I promise I won’t tell!
I opted to prepare all of the ingredients in the morning. I stood stirring in the kitchen, mesmerized by the perfume of bacon grease as it popped and sizzled in the pan until the comforting scent of cinnamon wafted into my face after I cracked open the oven door to check on the croutons. Following a quick chop of the hardboiled egg whites and crisp apples, I tossed everything into the bowl and ate.
Although I included directions to follow my lead, this light and healthy salad also caters perfectly to leftovers! Just chop up a few of the hardboiled eggs you forgot to pack in your brown bag lunch; crumble the extra bacon that failed to fit on your BLT; and dice the apples you intended to put in a pie. Or if your family devoured all of those leftovers, you could easily cook (and cut) the toppings the night before and simply assemble the salad the following day.
Every bite of this skinny salad starts with the crisp refreshing lettuce coated in tangy raspberry dressing. A burst of bright apple ensues, followed by the subtle savory bacon bits and soft egg whites. As for me, I saved all of the sweet cinnamon roll croutons to eat slowly one-by-one at the end. (Doesn’t everyone save the best for last?)
With its healthy ingredients and simple prep, I’m already planning on enjoying this Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Salad again for a lazy weekend brunch—or even for serving our extended family on Christmas morning while unwrapping holiday gifts!
*Disclaimer: The Immaculate Baking Company shipped me these cinnamon rolls free-of-charge. All text, opinions, and recipe are my own.