The only thing better than revisiting a classic is making it better. Chopped Wedge Salad features some major upgrades, including a dressing swap for warm bacon vinaigrette and adding homemade herb croutons. Don’t worry – there’s still plenty of crisp iceberg, smoky bacon, tangy blue cheese, and ripe tomatoes to go around!
Is there a salad more perplexing than the wedge salad? It apparently has a history that pre-dates its surge to popularity in the 70s, and I know we love to revisit 20th-Century dishes, but I am hard pressed to comprehend why it had another recent-ish resurgence.
I can only assume it showed up on steakhouse menus 50 years ago because they already had to provide you with a serrated knife with which to cut your prime rib, so why not get more than one use out of it? But thanks, Sizzler, I don’t need to practice on a slab of lettuce.
Then, I don’t know, a decade ago (?) this cumbersome starter showed up on menus again. And not just at steakhouses. And I need to know why. There is no dish less fun than wedge salad to eat despite its near perfect combination of flavors and textures.
To start, is easily one of the Top 3 uses for iceberg lettuce. It may also be one of the Top 3 uses for blue cheese. It has bacon. Period. And, though perhaps not as big a selling point to some, it relies heavily on fresh tomato for a burst of balancing acidity.
There is nothing not to love about the flavors featured in a wedge salad recipe. But since there are things to loathe about eating it, I simply got rid of them.
What is a Chopped Wedge Salad?
To put it bluntly, a chopped wedge salad is just an easily edible version of the original. A little more work on the front end allows you to enjoy the same great (evenly-distributed) flavors with no effort or mess at the table.
This chopped wedge salad recipe is one of my favorite lunches, but totally works as a side salad to accompany a hearty protein. It draws on the classic with a few twists that make it healthier, tastier, and better…er.
Right outta the gate, I eliminated the need to cut your lettuce on your plate by *gasp* chopping it first. Revolutionary, I know!
Next, I scrapped the blue cheese dressing in favor of crumbles (which give it just as much punch). It’s heavy and makes crisp iceberg go limp. Or it would if they ever gave you enough of it on a wedge salad!! But I digress… Instead, I added the warm bacon vinaigrette from my BLT Salad and Tomato Salad recipes, and yeah, it’s just as good as you’re imagining.
To top all that and seal this as the best chopped wedge salad ever, we added fresh croutons, which aren’t typically found on a wedge salad, because apparently wedge salad needed one more strike against it.
What Do You Put in a Chopped Wedge Salad?
- Iceberg Lettuce: accept no substitutes.
- Tomatoes: use any kind you like. They need to be ripe, but firm.
- Bacon: save the grease for your dressing!
- Blue Cheese: skip blue cheese dressing and use good quality, buttermilk crumbles.
- Chives: adds an onion-y zing without overpowering other flavors.
- Croutons: homemade croutons make all the difference.
- Dressing: using bacon vinaigrette adds more bacon flavor without making it heavy or soggy.
Make Your Salad Tomatoes Shine
When diced raw tomatoes are a key ingredient in a dish, like salad or salsa, there’s one special trick you employ to make them as flavorful as possible – salt them! Bonus side effect – it also draws out excess moisture to keep your salad crisp. Serious Eats has some serious tips in this article.
How to Make A Chopped Wedge Salad
Chopped Wedge Salad isn’t just as simple as slicing and dicing in advance. Start with super fresh lettuce and tomato. Make a vinaigrette with your bacon fat. Swap heavy blue cheese dressing for tangy crumbles. Add homemade croutons for extra good measure. Makes a lovely lunch or a super side salad at dinnertime.
- TOMATOES. Place tomatoes into strainer, nest into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- BACON. Cook bacon 7-8 minutes in 10” skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally until fat renders and bacon is crisp. Remove using a slotted spoon. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- DRESSING. Drain all but three tablespoons of bacon fat from skillet. Add shallot. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.
- Turn off burner, then pour in 1 tablespoon vinegar. Shake pan until vinegar stops bubbling.
- Pour in remaining vinegar, honey, and mustard and whisk until well combined. Transfer to a small pitcher or spouted measuring cup.
- BUILD. Place chopped iceberg lettuce into a large salad bowl.
- Gently stir tomatoes to remove any water that has accumulated, then shake gently. Sprinkle over the lettuce.
- Add bacon, blue cheese, and chives. Whisk vinaigrette again, then drizzle over salad.
- SERVE. Divide between four plates. Top each with half a cup of croutons. Season with ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
- This salad doesn’t keep – only make as much as you’ll consume in a single sitting.
- The best way to chop bacon is with kitchen shears.
- We like creamy, mild buttermilk blue cheese.
- Quality matters across the board! You want extra crisp, super fresh iceberg and perfectly ripe tomatoes.
- Time permitting, homemade croutons really take things up a notch.
Are Wedge Salads Healthy?
Not with all that heavy blue cheese dressing, they’re not. Our healthy wedge salad recipe cuts out some of the fat and calories (and all the preservatives) by relying on a homemade dressing with whole ingredients.
Plus, if you’re on a low carb diet, this chopped iceberg lettuce salad will be an instant favorite as long as you skip the croutons.
More Super Popular Salads
- Buffalo Chicken Salad (Restaurant Style)
- Steak Fajita Salad
- Chicken Shawarma Salad
- Crunchy Chicken Taco Salad
- Easy Tossed Italian Salad
Did you make this chopped wedge salad? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 2 medium ripe tomatoes, any variety, seeded and finely diced to ½”
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 4 oz bacon, diced into 1” diced sized pieces
- 1 small shallot, finely minced to ¼”
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp whole grain mustard
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 2 cups croutons, homemade preferable (see notes for our favorite recipe)
- 2 oz good quality buttermilk blue cheese, crumbled, about ¼ cup
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- Ground pepper, to taste
- Place the tomatoes into a fine mesh strainer and nest into a bowl. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Place the bacon into a 10” skillet, then heat over medium heat. Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders and the bacon is golden brown and crisp, 7-8 minutes. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and set onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Drain all but three tablespoons of bacon fat from the skillet. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2-3 minutes. Turn off the burner, then pour in 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Shake the pan until the vinegar stops bubbling. Pour in the remaining vinegar, honey, and whole grain mustard and whisk until well combined. Transfer to a small pitcher or spouted measuring cup.
- Place the chopped iceberg lettuce into a large salad bowl. Gently stir the tomatoes to remove any water that has accumulated (they will weep about 2 tablespoons of liquid), then shake gently. Sprinkle the tomatoes over the lettuce, then the cooked bacon, crumbled blue cheese, and chopped chives. Give the bacon vinaigrette another whisk, then drizzle over the salad.
- Divide the salad between four plates. Top each with half a cup of croutons, then season with ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.