So much I love about this salad right now!
Before I get to that, let me say that I feel like salad is very much needed today. We’re all coming in from the weekend. Our inboxes are full, our shoulders sunburned. We spent yesterday in traffic and we hit the snooze button 3x. Hold on. Coffee refill, stat. We not only ate cake and cookies this weekend, but cookie cakes and cookies. We opened the pool and fired up the grill. Throw in some summer shandy, s’mores, and backyard BBQ grub.
Post long weekend blues: very real and very now.
Yes, salad is very much needed today. Especially a salad that doesn’t make you feel like you’re eating salad. I call those trickster salads. You know the kind. More stuff than lettuce. More layers, textures, flavors, bacon, fruit, and cheese. Still counts as a salad though. Because there’s lettuce. Those are the very best kinds of salads, no?
My mom shared the recipe with me months ago; it’s one of those staple recipes she borrowed from a dear friend. I’ve made it for lunch, for dinner, for friends, and for bridal showers. Everyone loves it. I’m not sure if there’s room on the internet for another strawberry bacon salad, but this one is my absolute favorite!
The Must-Have Stuff
- Crispy bacon. The more, the better.
- The juiciest strawberries you can find
- Nuts– any of them. I love pecans. Toast them if you’re feeling ambitious!
- Blue cheese. Bleu cheese? I’m not fancy enough, so blue.
I know blue cheese freaks 90% of the population out. Let’s get real: it’s not winning any beauty awards and its stench is undoubtedly suspicious. But its bold flavor is probably the best part, especially paired with the sweet strawberries and honey balsamic vinaigrette. Are you a blue cheese person? I love it in my omelets, on my pizza, and I’ve even whipped blue cheese into mashed potatoes before. (That was REALLY good!) If blue cheese is just totally not your thing, I get that. And you’re certainly not alone! Feta cheese, gorgonzola, or a creamy goat cheese would all be wonderful here.
Even though my heart belongs to those salty blue cheese crumbles, what I really love about this salad is the honey balsamic vinaigrette. It’s homemade! And it’s easy! I typically see this salad with a poppy seed dressing of sorts, but the honey balsamic vinaigrette takes it to a whole other level.
This is one of those salads that’s not only perfect for entertaining, but for a quick weekday lunch or a light dinner. Takes, maybe, 20 minutes to make and I can eat a huge plate of it without feeling like I need to follow up with 12 more servings and a large pizza on the side. If I make it for dinner, I usually add grilled chicken or baked salmon. I’ve even added chopped red onion, cooked quinoa, sliced avocado, and one time I added hard boiled eggs and arranged it like a cobb salad. Really anything you can dream up as long as you don’t ditch all the stuff.
The stuff is what makes it so good. 🙂
This is, hands down, my favorite strawberry bacon salad. Always a crowd-pleaser and takes less than 20 minutes to prepare!
- 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce (spinach is delicious too!)
- 1 pound strawberries, sliced
- 5–6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese*
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans*
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup olive oil (I use extra virgin)
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- I make the vinaigrette first and like to keep in in the refrigerator until ready to use. It’s great for up to 2 weeks stored in the refrigerator. All you do is whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together. Taste, then add salt and pepper as needed.
- In a large bowl, toss all of the salad ingredients together, then mix in the vinaigrette. You may not need all the vinaigrette– use as much or little as you prefer.
- Plate and serve. Salad makes wonderful leftovers for lunch the next day!
- Cheese: Instead of blue cheese, try feta, gorgonzola, or goat cheese.
- Pecans: If you have some extra time, toast the pecans for added flavor. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread pecans on top and toast for 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool before adding to salad.
Keywords: strawberry bacon salad
More berry salads! I’ve got this crispy chicken salad too– with a homemade fresh berry vinaigrette you’ll just love.