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Bacon Salad

April 28, 2010
Bacon Salad

Bacon Salad

Spring has arrived and soon we’ll have access to deliciously fresh spinach, kale, and lettuce in Minnesota.  This is one of my biggest food challenges with my kids – getting them to eat leafy greens.

Before I was a parent, I would think, “Of course my children will eat the same foods that I like.  Of course they will want to eat all that is healthy and nutritious.

But now that I have children of my own, I realize this is easier said than done.

What a fool I was.

Another week, another leafy greens attempt.  This time I had a genius idea:
Bacon!  They like bacon.  They will eat leafy greens if it tastes like bacon!

And the Bacon Salad was born.  More accurately, the BBLT = Bean, Bacon, Letuce, and Tomato

I made the salad with a velvety butter lettuce, thinking the grainy texture of spinach would drive my kids up the wall.  But still – they cried, complained, claimed it was akin to torture.


My daughter did her best to make a case for not eating leafy greens.

Me: “You’re old enough now to start eating lettuce.  Kids your age eat greens.”

Daughter:  “I’m going to ask all of the kids in my class if they eat lettuce.  I’ll bet they’ll say no.”

Husband: “Why don’t you ask your teacher if lettuce is good for you?”

Daughter: [silence]


Don’t be influenced by the little ones.  Take it from me, this is a yummy salad for you bacon lovers.  And the beans will provide protein and fill you up.

Bacon Salad (BBLT)
Recipe by Striving Bean
Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients – Salad

  • 1 – 15 oz. can navy beans (rinsed and drained) OR
    if using cooked beans, use 1 & 2/3 cups (1.66 cups)
  • 1 head shredded butter lettuce (or leafy greens of your choice)
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 8 – 10 strips of bacon, cooked (1 Tablespoon of bacon drippings reserved)
  • 1 avocado, sliced for topping
  • Pita chips, crushed for topping

Ingredients – Dressing

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (you can use all rice or all red wine vinegar instead if you wish)
  • 1 Tablespoon reserved bacon drippings
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar


  1. Put shredded lettuce in a large bowl.
  2. Add diced tomatoes.
  3. Add navy beans
  4. Crumble bacon strips and add to bowl.
  5. Make dressing, stir dressing ingredients together.  Keep bacon drippings warm so they don’t solidify.
  6. Whisk dressing until well blended.
  7. Pour dressing over salad, toss gently with hands.
  8. Top with avocado and crushed pita chips.
  9. Serve immediately.

Our family weighs in:

  • Daughter hated it. “It looks pretty, but tastes disgusting!” …sigh…such drama…
  • Son was border-line.  I think he liked the taste but was heavily influenced  by his big sister’s salad distain.
  • Husband liked it.
  • I liked it.

Chef’s notes:

  • Suggested add-ins:  Top with chopped green onions, toss in sliced red bell pepper
  • We did not use all of the dressing. You may have extra.

How do you “inspire” your kids (or yourself) to eat leafy greens?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2010 8:56 pm

    Great question. Belonging to a CSA, I get tons of greens. I might take a class at Mississippi Market on May 8 called “Greens With an Indian Twist”.

  2. mari permalink
    April 28, 2010 9:52 pm

    Have you tried Kale Chips? They are very easy and nutritious, and very addictive. It taste somewhat like potato chips — which I’m sure your kids love! I make them 2 versions, one with EVOO, the other one with sesame oil. Both are delicious.

  3. Michelle permalink
    April 28, 2010 10:04 pm

    I see that mari is on to the same/similar idea as I have. I make crispy kale for my family and both kids (6 yrs. and 3 yrs.) love them. I cut the leafy part of the center stem, coat with olive oil, a little salt and rosemary. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about eight minutes (Don’t let them get too brown – they should be just starting to brown).

    I will have to send you a kale cracker recipe that a friend of mine created.

  4. April 28, 2010 10:07 pm

    I love this kale chip and kale cracker idea!

    • Michelle permalink
      April 30, 2010 4:40 pm

      Here is the Kale Cracker recipe – all credit for this creation goes to my friend Amy Fluet.

      Blanch torn kale leaves in boiling water. Let drain, squeezing out excess water. Chop them fine in a food processor and measure out 1c. (freeze the rest for another batch). Don’t clean out the food processor.

      In the processor combine 2c. whole wheat or spelt flour, 1 T. brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 c. sunflower seeds. Pulse briefly and add 1 T. oil and process until well ground and incorporated. Add the kale and process. If the dough doesn’t come together in a ball add a bit of water 1 T. at a time. (The dough can be allowed to rest at this point for about 30 minutes)

      Use about 1/4 of the dough at a time and knead briefly on a floured surface. Taking a portion at a time roll through a pasta machine starting on setting #1. If it seems too wet add a bit more flour. I generally on consecutively thinner settings until I am at #5. (I imagine this can be done with a rolling pin if you don’t have a pasta machine – but #5 is pretty thin). At this point you could sprinkle on some grated cheddar cheese or seeds or spices (I like the cheese or just a light sprinkle of salt).

      Cut the rolled dough into cracker size pieces and transfer to a cookie sheet. Bake about 6-10 minutes at 400 degrees. They will crisp as they cool.

      This is another recipe my kids really like!

      • April 30, 2010 8:14 pm

        Yum Michelle – thanks for the fantastic Kale Kracker recipe! Is cracker with a “K” too hokey? 🙂

  5. May 3, 2010 7:27 pm

    I love this salad! And I love that you love beans because I’m a bean freak…. all kinds. I’m subscribing to your feed with anticipation of all good bean recipes to come!

    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog!

  6. May 4, 2010 7:49 am

    cute blog, all about beans, your my kind of our house we take beans very serious..I could eat them everyday, I love that you involve your kids in the cooking process, that’s important. great salad.


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