Take your salad game to the next level with this BLT Salad with Toasted Quinoa and Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing.
Vegans… Vegetarians… Countrymen… Don’t run. There’s a brontosaurus-friendly version of this salad snuck into the post. My darling T-Rex chefs? I imagine you’re doing your proudest, most fanciful happy dance right now. I never thought I’d say this but… there’s bacon. on. the. blog. Kind of crazy right? Crazy delicious.
BLT Salad with Toasted Quinoa and Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing
BLT Salad with Toasted Quinoa
- 1/2 cup dry quinoa
- 3/4 cup water or veggie broth
- 4-6 slices of additive/sketch-free bacon
- as much crisp lettuce and juicy tomato as your heart desires
- Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing:
- 3 TBSP Dijon mustard
- 3 TBSP natural mayo [homemade or a quality store-bought brand]
- 2 TBSP diced/minced vidalia onion, caramelized [see below for instructions]
- 1/2-1 TBSP vinegar, to taste
- 1-2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp dried minced onion or onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- a pinch of salt and pepper
- I also have a recipe for a mayo-free Honey Dijon Vinaigrette but since we were making a BLT salad, I felt like a little creamy mayo kind of had to be there this time around. Tis tradition!
- First grab your quinoa, pour into a sieve or mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly to remove its natural coating.
- Shake out any excess water from the sieve, toss it in a pot and pat it dry with a few paper towels.
- Turn heat to medium and toast your quinoa to remove any leftover moisture.
- While toasting, continue to move the quiona around frequently [with a fork, spoon, tool of choice] so it doesn't burn. Once dry, add in your water or broth and increase heat to high.
- Once the quinoa reaches a boil, reduce to low/simmer and cover, leaving a small corner of the lid ajar to allow steam to escape. Set your timer for 12 minutes.
- New to quinoa? Here's a [visual/tutorial] of the cooking process!
- While the quinoa simmers away, cook your bacon [aim for crispy!] on a non-stick pan or skillet and set aside, leaving a tiny bit of leftover bacon grease in the pan.
- You can even set aside a little extra for re-toasting the quinoa once it's done fluffing; totally optional.
- Toss in your chopped onion [from the dressing recipe] and saute on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until caramelized and golden-brown. Add the onion to the remaining dressing ingredients and pulse in a food processor or blender until smooth.
- Set aside.
- No blender/processor? Mince the onions as small as you'd like them and simply whisk your dressing together! It won't be perfectly smooth but the flavor will still shine through!
- Leave the pan/skillet used for the bacon and onion on the stove. Once your quiona has finished cooking, fluff with a fork and toss onto the skillet and toast once more. Any leftovers from the bacon and onion will help deepen it's flavor.
- Season with salt and pepper and you're good to go!
- All that's left to do is pile your plates high with fresh lettuce, toasty quinoa, juicy ripe tomatoes and crispy bacon and drizzle with dressing. Dig in!
brontosaurus chefs try it with [this] smoky maple tempeh bacon [or crispy pan-fried tofu!] and use your favorite oil [coconut, olive, etc…] to caramelize the onion for the dressing.
so… how was it!? Though it’s a bit more complicated than your standard salad it’s entirely worth it for this bread-free [and gluten-free!] BLT. The bestie and I are were all about it but… but the real test? Paul. It’s always Paul.
While he loves bacon, he’s not quite marching in the quinoa pride parade yet [quinoa fried rice might be the only way I can get it in him!] so I was super nervous for him to try it. Something magical must have happened when the bacon and quinoa collided because he INHALED this salad as quickly as I did. Consider his quinoa horizons broadened!
But enough about my picky partner-in-crime — back to the salad!
The toasty quinoa makes a fabulous substitute for bread and the creamy Dijon dressing packs way more flavor than the plain mayo that BLTs are normally slathered in. Factor in some super ripe in-season tomatoes and I’m basically in BLT heaven. I scarfed mine for lunch but this recipe could easily be served up as a side salad at dinnertime or as a side for a party or potluck. Simply set the dressing aside until it’s time to chow down! And in case you need a few more t-rex and brontosaurus salads for your arsenal, check out the posts below! <3