What makes bacon better? MORE BACON! Need proof? This BLT Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing. Creamy diced avocado means you won’t miss the classic mayo dressing one bit. Ready in under thirty minutes means you can make it tonight!
The BLT is the greatest sandwich ever. Fight me 😁
Okay, please don’t fight me – I’m kind of a wimp. Unless it’s with words, and then we can tango – but lemme have my coffee first.
In any case, my opinion still stands. I have been a fan of the BLT for-like-ever. Evidence? Read my ode to the beloved BLT in this post, and while you’re at it, make that Fried Green Tomato BLT sandwich and become a summer-time hero to all.
Or, make this BLT salad and become a summer-time hero to all. You can’t lose!
As I have blathered on about time and time again, I’m not a super fan of mayo. But no mayo no problems, because we have Hot. Bacon. Dressing. Because the only thing that makes bacon better? More bacon.
How to Make a BLT Salad Step-by-Step
This BLT Salad is a classic, but with a delicious twist in the form of hot bacon dressing. Skip the mayo or buttermilk vinaigrette and toss your greens, ‘maters, and croutons with this tangy salty dressing instead. You’ll still get a kick of creaminess from ripe avocados, with double the bacony flavor.
First up – let’s make some croutons. Not those super hard bits you can buy in the grocery store. These homemade croutons are crunchy and crispy on the outside, but still tender enough on the inside – just like the toasted bread on a good BLT sandwich.
Dice half a loaf of sourdough bread into 1″ cubes, then spread them onto a baking sheet. Toss with a glug of two of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake until they’re golden brown and crispy.
While the croutons bake, fry up some bacon and prepare the rest of your salad ingredients. You want to render as much fat as possible from the bacon, so you gotta do it low and slow, and you need to start with a cold pan.
Place the strips of bacon in your skillet, then place over medium low heat. Cook the bacon, flipping occasionally (it’s okay to turn it over a few times to ensure evening browning), until the fat renders and the bacon strips are browned. Use tongs to remove the bacon strips, then place them onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain the fat and finish crisping up.
Turn off the heat and allow the bacon fat to cool for a few moments. Add one tablespoon of red wine vinegar to the bacon fat. It will bubble and sizzle, so be careful! Once it’s calmed down and stopped bubbling, add the remaining vinegar, along with a dollop of whole grain mustard and honey. Whisk, whisk, whisk, scraping up those delicious bacony bits from the bottom of the pan, until the dressing is emulsified.
In a large salad bowl, combine one head of chopped romaine lettuce and one head of chopped butter lettuce. I like the combo of the crunch from the romaine and the sweetness of the butter lettuce. You could do all of one, or substitute in other leafy greens too (see the variations section).
Add the cherry tomatoes and croutons to the greens. Chop the bacon and add that in too. Then pour the hot bacon dressing over the salad and toss.
That’s 👏what 👏I’m 👏 talkin’ 👏 ’bout 👏! Double bacon goodness, no mayo in sight. This makes a salty lady happy.
Portion the salad into bowls or plates, and top with some diced avocado for just the right punch of creaminess.
This BLT salad is perfect for weeknight dinners, but it’s also an awesome side dish for picnics and BBQs since it can be served warm or room temperature, and there’s little risk of spoilage if it’s sitting out in the sun for a bit. Bacon appetit!
BLT Salad Variations
- Add chicken! Grilled chicken breast really rounds out this meal into a super protein-packed dinner that everyone will love.
- Add a poached egg. Can you say breakfast salad? An egg is another great way to get an extra dose of protein and nutrients.
- Add grilled shrimp. Whaaaat? Yep – bacon and shrimp are made for each other (bacon-wrapped shrimp anyone?), plus shrimp offers additional protein and a punch of hearty healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Add cheese! We loved this with blue cheese, which sort of makes it more of a burger salad than a BLT salad, but that’s okay. You do you, so if you love blue cheese, toss in a handful along with the tomatoes and bacon before adding the dressing.
- Amp up the nutrition by adding a cup of sprouts (radish sprouts are perfect, and add lots of crunch), swapping the butter or romaine lettuce for baby spinach, arugula, or kale, and/or add in a few tablespoons of hemp seeds.
Tips for Making This BLT Salad Perfectly
- Make your own croutons. Store-bought croutons tend to be overly hard, and they won’t quite soak up the hot bacon dressing like these homemade ones do. Plus they take maybe 3 minutes of extra effort. Worth it!
- Cook your bacon properly so that you render as much fat as possible. Start the bacon in a cold pan, using a heavy pan that retains heat well (like cast iron), and cook it low and slow.
- Use either cherry or grape tomatoes – larger diced tomatoes result in big seeds and lots of residual juice that will compete with the flavor of the dressing.
- Don’t skip the avocado! In lieu of a mayo-based dressing, it brings the creamy texture the classic BLT requires.
More Dinner Salads You’ll Love
- Chicken Shawarma Salad
- Steak Fajita Salad
- Mediterranean Chicken Salad
- Orange Chicken Salad
- Salmon Quinoa Salad
BLT Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
This BLT Salad is a classic, but with a delicious twist in the form of hot bacon dressing. Skip the mayo or buttermilk vinaigrette and toss your greens, 'maters, and croutons with this tangy salty dressing instead. You'll still get a kick of creaminess from ripe avocados, with double the bacony flavor.
- 1/2 loaf sourdough bread sliced into 1" cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 8 strips bacon
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp whole grain mustard
- 1 head romaine lettuce chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 head butter lettuce chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 avocado peeled, pitted, and diced
Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a plate with several layers of paper towels and set aside.
Spread the bread cubes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, then toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the croutons are golden brown and crispy, 10-12 minutes.
Place the strips of baking into a cold cast iron skillet. Turn the heat to medium-low and heat until the bacon starts to sizzle and render its fat. Continue cooking over low and slow heat, flipping the strips every few minutes, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden brown and crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet using tongs and place onto the paper-towel lined plate to drain.
Allow the bacon fat to cool a bit while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Add one tablespoon of the vinegar to the pan - be careful! It will sizzle. Once the sizzling dies down, add the remaining vinegar, honey, and mustard. Whisk, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan, until the dressing has emulsified.
In a large bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, tomatoes, and croutons. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine.
Portion the salad into bowls and top with the diced avocado. Serve warm or at room temperature.