This is the second of three recipes I thought of immediately. Everybody enjoys a good BLT sandwich, but since we were asked to focus partly on salads I decided to work the elements of the sandwich into a salad. Following the classic Italian panzanella (bread salad), my main focus was how to best make the croutons. I used day old homemade bread because that's how it worked out, but fresh bread (not straight from the oven fresh) would work because you toast the cubes in the oven. To incorporate the Newman's Own product, I tossed the baslamic vinaigrette with garlic and tomatoes with the cubes and roasted until crispy on the outside. This way, you get the taste of the vinaigrette on the salad itself and also infused into the bread.
And yes, there is plenty of bacon.
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BLT Bread Salad
recipe by Christina Provo
The classic sandwich meets an Italian salad in this adaptation of two favorites featuring homemade croutons and bacon.
Prep time: 30 minutes
8 cups good quality bread, cubed into 1-inch chunks
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
5 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced baby spinach
1/2 pound bacon
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
6 tablespoons Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette, plus more for serving
Sliced portobello mushrooms, optional
- Preheat oven to 400° degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss bread cubes with garlic, half of the grape tomatoes, and 3 tablespoons Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette. Sprinkle lightly with black pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove sheet from oven and place on a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium. Stack slices of bacon and slice into six pieces. Place half of the bacon in the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon pieces to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain bacon grease and repeat with remaining bacon.
- In a large bowl, mix together romaine lettuce, spinach, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add the bread cubes to the lettuce and spinach and toss again. Divide salad among bowls and top with bacon pieces and cheddar cheese. Drizzle with additional Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette before serving.