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BLT Salad and Crispy Shallot Croutons

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 8 entree-sized salads 1x


  • 1 C full fat mayonnaise (substitute at your own risk)
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 3/4 C finely shredded or grated fresh parmesan
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 t white pepper
  • 1 lb. uncured, nitrate free bacon
  • 1/2 C peanut or vegetable oil (or your preferred frying oil)
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced, rounds broken apart
  • 1 large head of romaine (not just the heart), chopped small (1 1/4 lbs.)
  • 1 head of cauliflower (1 1/2 lbs.) chopped into 6 C bite sized pieces
  • 3/4 lb. tomatoes, chopped (4 romas)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Make the dressing: Combine mayonnaise, maple syrup, parmesan, vinegar and 1/2 t white pepper and mix thoroughly in food processor or by hand. Refrigerate until needed. Dressing can be made a couple days in advance. It may separate slightly–just shake or stir.
  3. Lay bacon on a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer, over a wire rack if you have one that fits the pan. Place in preheated oven and cook until deepened in color and crispy. Begin checking at 12 minutes for thinner bacon, 15 minutes for thick-cut bacon. If some pieces finish while others are still soft, remove slices in batches, but be careful not to spill grease when moving the tray in and out of the oven. When done, use tongs to transfer to paper towels to cool, then crumble or chop into pieces that are small, but still big enough that they retain the texture and taste of bacon.
  4. Make the crispy shallot topping. Heat oil in a small saucepan (1/2 to 1″ depth of oil) over medium heat until very hot (turn up heat if needed). A water droplet hitting the surface should pop and sizzle if the oil is hot enough. Mix cornstarch with 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper. Just before frying, sprinkle the shallots with cornstarch mixture and toss to coat. Shake to remove excess. Add to pan in a few batches, stirring occasionally as they fry. Remove from oil when golden brown (about 1 ½ to 2 minutes) to drain on paper towel, and repeat with remaining shallots.
  5. Put the romaine, cauliflower, and bacon in a large bowl, drizzle with almost all the dressing, and toss to combine, adding more dressing to your liking (alternately, serve the salad undressed in individual bowls with dressing on the side).
  6. Serve salad topped with fresh tomatoes and crispy shallot “croutons”.


The dressing is thick–it will be easier to serve with a spoon or in a squeeze bottle (I did the latter).

I haven’t tested the dressing with reduced fat mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, so I’m not sure how substitutions will work. I strongly recommend using regular old full fat mayonnaise to avoid any weird separation or, worse, curdling.

To make the salad meatless, omit the bacon, or substitute coconut bacon, a popular vegan substitute (although the salad, with dressing, will not be vegan). You can find it pre-made at some grocery stores and there are many recipes for it online.

  • Prep Time: 55 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Cuisine: Gluten Free