This hearty salad is inspired by the flavors of Oktoberfest. It’s loaded with ham, sharp cheddar cheese, crisp apples, and buttery pretzel croutons. Honey mustard vinaigrette ties it all together and gives the salad a zesty bite.
I’m not sure where pretzel croutons have been all my life, but I’ve definitely been making up for lost time. I saw them on a menu recently and thought the idea was completely brilliant. Pretzel croutons can transform even the most ho-hum salad into a special treat that will make you pledge to eat salads more often.
It’s really easy to make them, too! Defrost some frozen soft pretzels in the oven or microwave, cut them into bite-sized pieces and pan-toast them until they’re golden brown and crispy. They add a great salty crunch to your salad, and pair especially well with cheese and honey mustard dressing.
You can use broken pretzel rods in a pinch, but starting with soft pretzels gives you a final texture that’s more like a regular crouton. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can even use homemade soft pretzels. These pretzel croutons will keep for several days in an airtight container, so go ahead and make a big batch!
For the Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Salad:
- 1 7 ounce ham steak, diced
- 1 pat butter
- 2 frozen soft pretzels like Superpretzels, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 romaine hearts chopped
- 1 apple cored and diced
- 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese diced
- Make the dressing by whisking together the mustard, honey, vinegar, and oil, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until browned and heated through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Return the pan to the stove and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the pretzel pieces. Cook 5-8 minutes, or until deeply toasted. Remove from heat.
- Arrange the lettuce in a large serving bowl. Top with the ham, pretzel croutons, apples, and cheese. Serve with the honey mustard.