This BLT Salad with Quinoa and Homemade Ranch Dressing is a healthy and hearty meal that will fill you up and keep you powered up for the rest of your day.
I am not a big salad eater. They typically do not fill me up nor seem appetizing to me. I prefer heartier meals, but over time I have learned to fall in love with salads by making them.. well, heartier.
This could be the addition of meat, but also an assortment of vegetables to keep things lively. For me, the key to eating healthy is to trick myself into thinking that I am eating a big-honking-hearty meal that doesn’t leave me hungry.
Why this recipe is so great
One of my favorite ways to trick my brain (and stomach) is to mix in some quinoa into my salad. Quinoa is gluten-free, packed with fiber and protein, gives you energy and, ta-dah, fills you up!
The beauty of quinoa is that it cooks quickly, taking about 15 minutes. Fluff it with a fork and add it to your salad warm or cooled off, whatever you prefer. Another trick I have found to making salads more appetizing is homemade salad dressing.
I’m a huge fan of ranch dressing, but have you ever tried making it yourself. Holy cow! It is so much better homemade than store bought. So much more zing and flavor!
You’ll see. It’s perfect for salads like my BLT salad, or even dipping your favorite crudités.
Ingredients you need
Ranch dressing ingredients
- Buttermilk: What gives ranch dressing it’s unique flavor is buttermilk. Although you can substitute buttermilk easily enough in baking recipes, there’s no good replacement when it comes to ranch dressing.
- Mayonnaise: This is used to thicken the dressing.
- Sour cream: Gives some extra zing.
- Apple cider vinegar: Although you can use any type of vinegar (just not balsamic), apple cider vinegar has unique flavor so try not to replace it.
- Worcestershire sauce: Another unique flavor component that is hard to replace.
- Spices: parsley, chives, dill, garlic, salt, pepper,
BLT salad ingredients
- Bacon: You can use regular bacon or turkey bacon.
- Spring mix greens: I love the variety of a spring mix, but feel free to use any green of your choosing.
- Tomatoes: Big fat juicy tomatoes are a must for our BLT. Whichever tomato you use, be sure they have flavor!
- Radishes: I love the bite radishes offer. If you are not a fan of them, omit or substitute with cucumbers.
- Quinoa: This is not a must, but as I explained above, quinoa gives this salad some heartiness to it. You can use any color of quinoa or mix in brown rice or couscous.
1. In a blender mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, garlic, chives, vinegar, dill, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until smooth. Add buttermilk and blend again to combine.
2. Pour dressing into a bottle, seal and refrigerate for one hour for flavors to meld together.
3. Meanwhile, in a small pot add quinoa and 2 cups water. Cover pot and bring water to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, approximately 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork and cool to room temperature, approximately 20 minutes.
4. Place spring greens mix in a large serving bowl. Toss the cooled quinoa with the greens. Scatter cooked bacon, radishes and tomatoes over the salad greens. Serve with refrigerated ranch dressing.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup minced parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 TBS minced fresh chives
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 5 oz spring mix greens
- 1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1-pound of heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
- In a blender mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, garlic, chives, vinegar, dill, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until smooth.
- Add buttermilk* and blend again to combine.
- Pour dressing into a bottle, seal and refrigerate for one hour for flavors to meld together.
- Meanwhile, in a small pot add quinoa and 2 cups water. Cover pot and bring water to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, approximately 15 minutes.
- Fluff quinoa with a fork and cool to room temperature, approximately 20 minutes.
- Place spring greens mix in a large serving bowl.
- Toss the cooled quinoa with the greens.
- Scatter cooked bacon, radishes and tomatoes over the salad greens.
- Serve with refrigerated ranch dressing.
* for thicker dressing, add ¼ cup of buttermilk
While dressing is in the fridge, you can cook the bacon. I like cooking bacon in the oven. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil and lay bacon in a single layer. Cook for 15 mins or to desired doneness at 400ºF. Drain cooked bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to cool.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 712Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 41gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1680mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 30g
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