BLT Salad with Creamy Ranch Dressing – We unpacked all the classic flavors of a BLT sandwich and turned it into a salad. With crispy bacon, fresh veggies, homemade gluten free croutons, and creamy ranch dressing, this main dish salad is always a crowd pleaser! (Gluten free, dairy free)
I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my favorite sandwiches is a BLT. That salty-savory bacon + lettuce + tomato combo on toasted bread is just a CLASSIC. My family loves them as much as I do, so I make them once every few months to satisfy the craving.
But….let’s be honest: 9 times out of 10 we are exactly 1 bite into a BLT when the entire slice of bacon comes out on the first bite, or all the toppings spill out the bottom while my kids are trying to hold theirs. So, I figured, let’s cut out the middle man and just turn this BLT into a salad!
- Pros: less spilling. Easier prep. Less toast to make.
- Cons: there are zero cons! It’s a BLT SALAD!!!
To be clear, this is definitely less of a “quinoa and kale vitamins” type of salad and more of an “open faced sandwich turned into a salad” type of salad. But it sure is delicious and my entire family eats it without complaint. So it’s a winner in my book!
What’s in BLT Salad?
LETTUCE. The big perk here is more lettuce and veggies than a typical BLT sandwich. For me, that means a big, leafy base of romaine or butter leaf lettuce. Use your favorite!
CRISPY, CRUMBLED BACON. I bake my bacon (highly recommend!) since I already have the oven on for croutons. We like ours on the crispy end, but you can cook it to your taste. I like to look for uncured bacon, which doesn’t contain nitrates and is often made with fewer additives and less sugar. Pedersons Farm, Applegate, and Colemans are a few brands I like, but more options pop up all the time! (You can also use turkey bacon, if that’s your jam)
TOMATOES. BLT salad needs plenty of fresh tomatoes! I like halved grape or cherry tomatoes for their great texture, and I love the multicolor ones for even more color. If you can’t find baby tomatoes, just dice up some regular ones!
HOMEMADE CROUTONS. Instead of toasted bread in a BLT sandwich, I add homemade croutons to my BLT salad. It’s a nice nod to the toast, and it fills this out a bit more. I don’t shy away from plenty of croutons. You’ll end up with the equivalent of 1 slice of bread per serving with this salad, instead of the 2 you’d have with a sandwich. You could absolutely do less if you prefer.
GREEN ONION & FRESH HERBS. I elevate and brighten the flavor by adding some green onion (mild and blends in well with the lettuce) and some fresh herbs. My favorite is cilantro, but you could also get away with parsley, or even basil or dill.
AVOCADO. You knew I would, didn’t you? It’s optional, but avocado + BLT ingredients = extra amazing. Slice it, dice it–whatever makes you happy!
Let’s Talk Salad Dressing!!!
In place of the mayo you’d traditionally spread on a BLT, we top this BLT salad with a creamy ranch dressing. It’s delicious and also happens to be dairy free!
That said, you could go in about 1000 dressing directions with this BLT salad:
- Creamy ranch is a classic.
- You can go tangy with a honey mustard.
- Or, you can add a little bit of kick or spice things up by using my Tomatillo Ranch Dressing, Cilantro Lime Ranch, or Southwest Ranch.
- If creamy dressings or ranch aren’t your jam, I love a good balsamic dressing with these flavors!
FAQ + TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THIS BLT SALAD
MORE IDEAS FOR MIX-INS – This salad plays nice with all sorts of flavors, so feel free to fill it out with corn, jicama, bell peppers, etc.
KICK UP THE PROTEIN – You can fill this out even more by adding some grilled or rotisserie chicken to the mix.
TIPS FOR SERVING A FAMILY. When we serve this, I usually keep the components separate and let everyone build their own. That way, we’re all eating the same meal without all the fights and fussing. My kids love that they can mix and match toppings and it’s easy to skip any ingredients you don’t love.
WHAT BREAD CAN YOU USE FOR CROUTONS? For gluten free, we like Canyon Bakehouse, Schar, Glutino, Three Bakers, or Trader Joe’s brands. (The same method works whether you’re gluten free or not, so use whatever you normally eat!)
HOW DO YOU STORE LEFTOVER CROUTONS? I store mine in an airtight bag for 1-2 days in the fridge. They do tend to soften over time, but you can perk them up in the oven or a toaster oven for a few minutes if you want.
CRAVING MORE? YOU MIGHT LOVE THESE OTHER MAIN DISH SALADS…
- BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad
- Lemon Dill Shrimp & Orzo Salad
- Thai Chopped Salad
- Southwest Chicken Salad
- Taco Pasta Salad
BLT Salad with Creamy Ranch Dressing – We unpacked all the classic flavors of a BLT sandwich and put it into a salad. This main dish salad is always a crowd pleaser! (Gluten free, dairy free)
For the Gluten Free Croutons
- 6 Slices gluten free bread, diced
- 1–2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Optional: 1 Tbsp fresh herbs (like rosemary) or 1 tsp dried herbs (like dill or rosemary)
For the Salad:
- Croutons (see above)
- 12oz smoked bacon (I like uncured/nitrate free)
- 8–10oz chopped romaine lettuce
- 8–10oz grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado
- 1 green onions, sliced
- 3–4 Tbsp fresh herbs, such as cilantro (can sub parsley or basil)
- To serve: Ranch Dressing or your favorite salad dressing
First, cook your bacon and make the croutons:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Get out 2 baking sheets and line one with foil.
- Arrange slices of bacon on the foil-lined baking sheet closely together but not overlapping.
- Put bacon in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until bacon has reached your desired crispness.
- Right after you pop the bacon in the oven, start on the croutons. In a large bowl, combine diced bread, olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs (if using).
- Stir to coat well and spread the bread out on the remaining baking sheet. Give the baking sheet a shake to distribute the bread well. (You don’t want any large clumps)
- Put the croutons in the oven with the cooking bacon and bake croutons 10-15 minutes, or until they’re golden. I like to stir my croutons halfway through the cook time to allow them to cook evenly.
- Let croutons cool slightly and crumble the crisped bacon for your salad.
When the bacon and croutons are done, assemble your salad:
- Add lettuce to a large bowl.
- Top with croutons, crisped & crumbled bacon, tomatoes, avocado, green onion, and fresh herbs.
- Drizzle with ranch dressing and stir to coat.
- Category: Main Dish, Salad
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: BLT Salad, Main Dish salad, BLT, gluten free croutons, ranch dressing, gluten free, dairy free