Wedge Salad with Homemade Low-Cal, Low-Carb Blue Cheese Salad Dressing

Happy "salad days", all! This recipe is my salad version of a hot-weather favorite, that late-summer indulgence of good bread, bacon and tomato we call the BLT. For the salad version, start off with a much lighter but completely rich Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing where it "pays" to pay attention to texture. Drizzle the dressing over a wedge of iceberg lettuce, a juicy tomato, crispy bacon plus a few bread crumbs cooked in bacon grease. Then, y'know, just call it “dinner”! Tonight, maybe?!

Wedge Salad with Homemade Low-Cal, Low-Carb Blue Cheese Dressing, it's the salad version of a BLT! Tips, nutrition, Weight Watchers points at Kitchen Parade.
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“Cheapskate!” I imagine chefs muttering to themselves when I walk in with a markswoman’s bead on the salad menu. Even a small green house salad is a welcome satisfying bit of freshness: add a cup of soup and it’s a healthy lunch a-plenty.

But two restaurant salads are my personal bullseyes, sometimes for a shared appetizer, more often for my own main course.

The first is good year-round, a roasted beet salad. (See my rhapsody here, How to Make a Roasted Beet Salad.)

The second is worth ordering only when the summer’s best tomatoes are sun-warmed and rain-juicy.

It’s a wedge salad, that fat triangle of iceberg lettuce topped with pungent blue cheese salad dressing, small bites of perfect summer tomatoes and crispy bits of bacon.

A wedge salad is a bread-less BLT, that summer indulgence of good bread, bacon and tomato. To add just a “hint” of bread to a wedge salad, I brown a handful of panko in the still-hot skillet after removing the bacon pieces and hot bacon grease.

What do you think, are we cheapskates to order wonderful salads at restaurants?

HOMEMADE LOW-CAL & LOW-CARB CREAMY FETA SALAD DRESSING Use the same recipe, just substitute good feta for blue cheese.
ALANNA’s TIPS To get the salad onto the table quickly, start the bacon, then while it sizzles on the stove, make the Blue Cheese Salad Dressing. The more I cook, the more I pay attention to texture. That’s why there are three different blue cheese elements in this salad, two in the dressing, one crumbled onto the plate. I’m usually parsimonious about salad dressing but this dressing is so light, I think that a whole quarter-cup is the right amount. Of course, use as much as you like, yourself. A head of iceberg lettuce will yield four or six lettuce wedges. No surprise to drain the cooked bacon bits on a paper towel but use the same technique with the tomato pieces too: it prevents the salad from getting flooded with watery tomato juice. Consider a double batch of the Blue Cheese Salad Dressing. It’s great drizzled over sliced summer tomatoes, as a dip for grilled vegetables or a dipping sauce for grilled chicken or steak.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Real Food. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly.
Hands-on time: 10 minutes for dressing, 20 minutes for salad
Time to table: 10 minutes for dressing but improves with chill time, 30 minutes for salad
Makes 1-1/4 cups dressing, enough for 5 Wedge Salads
  • 3/4 cup (180g) buttermilk (either commercial or Homemade Buttermilk)
  • 1/4 cup (56g) mayonnaise (low-fat works fine)
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 ounce (28g or about 1-inch square) blue cheese
  • 1 ounce (28g) blue cheese, crumbled
    WEDGE SALAD, per serving
  • 1/4 pound (115g) bacon, cut into small pieces (see TIPS)
  • 1 tablespoon panko (what's panko recipes?
  • 1 wedge crisp iceberg lettuce
  • 1/4 cup Homemade Blue Cheese Salad Dressing
  • 1/2 large ripe summer tomato, cubed and drained on paper towel
  • 1 ounce (28g) blue cheese, crumbled

BLUE CHEESE SALAD DRESSING In a small food processor, combine all ingredients except the blue cheese crumbles and process until smooth. Transfer to a serving cup and stir in the crumbled blue cheese. (If texture isn’t important, add blue cheese to the food processor with the other ingredients. See ALANNA’s TIPS.) Chill until ready to serve. Can be made ahead of time, flavors really develop with several hours in the refrigerator.

WEDGE SALAD Cook bacon pieces in a skillet until crisp, pouring off the fat as it renders. Drain on a paper towel. With just a touch of bacon fat left in the skillet, cook panko until golden brown.

Place wedge on a large plate and drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle bacon, panko crumbs, tomato and blue cheese on and around the wedge. Serve immediately.

NUTRITION INFORMATION, BLUE CHEESE SALAD DRESSING ONLY Per Tablespoon/Quarter Cup (assumes low-fat buttermilk): 21/86 Calories; 1/6g Tot Fat; 1/3g Sat Fat; 3/13mg Cholesterol; 50/201mg Sodium; 1/4g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1/3g Sugar; 1/4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points .5/1, WW PointsPlus 2

NUTRITION INFORMATION, PER SALAD, as written: 266 Calories; 15g Tot Fat; 8g Sat Fat; 32mg Cholesterol; 1512mg Sodium; 14g Carb; 3g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 24g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS W Old Points 6, PointsPlus 7

WEIGHT WATCHERS TIPS To lower the points for a side salad, use half the bacon and half the blue cheese. DIABETIC & LOW-CARB TIPS Use full-fat mayonnaise and omit the panko to reduce the carbs still further.

This cook just might be obsessed with the BLT! Check out the BLT Pasta Salad and the swoon-worthy Homemade Mayonnaise for BLTs. Good thing tomato season is short!

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.