Bread Crumbed Salad

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I am usually hard-pressed to find a salad that’s a crowd-pleaser across the board.  And I’m not talking about a dinky little side salad with chopped lettuce and maybe a couple slices of cucumber and tomato…I’m talking about a real salad that can qualify as a full meal.

I’ve noticed that a lot of girls usually go for a sweet/savory combo, like a salad of pears, caramelized nuts, and cheese (like brie or blue!) on a bed of field greens, with some kind of fruity dressing like raspberry walnut.  Definitely one of my favorite salads, but ladies, I admit, it’s basically dessert masquerading as salad.

And guys…well, in my experience guys go for anything with bold flavors that is far from a salad in form but still bears the term “salad” in name.  Like pasta salad, taco salad (served on a bed of tortilla chips instead of lettuce!), and a whole lot of grilled meat served on a tiny little bed of lettuce.  (Not that I blame you, guys – it’s hard to find a salad that can be a satisfying meal!)

That’s where this salad comes in.  For the guys, it’s hearty with beans and cheese, and bold-flavored with olives, scallion, and a garlic-y lemon dressing.  And for the ladies…well, just give it a try and if the fantastic combo of flavors doesn’t seal the deal, then the crunchy breadcrumb topping will…plus the fact that with a salad like this you can enjoy dessert after the meal instead of during it.  ;)

Bread Crumbed Salad

Serves 2

Breadcrumb Topping (recipe below)

Lemon Olive Oil Dressing (recipe below)

4-6 cups chopped Romaine lettuce (or any lettuce you like)

2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3-4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (I used fresh mozzarella balls called bocconcini)

A handful of good quality olives

Breadcrumb Topping:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 very small onion, finely diced

1 large clove garlic, grated on a microplane

4 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried) thyme, rosemary, or dill

2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley

Pinch each salt and pepper

Lemon Olive Oil Dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 tsp crushed dried mint

1 small clove garlic, grated on a microplane

Pinch each salt and pepper

For the Breadcrumb Topping:  In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion and sauté until tender and just starting to brown (about 3 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Turn the heat down to low and add the garlic and bread crumbs; sauté until the garlic is fragrant and the breadcrumbs are light golden brown (about 2 minutes), stirring frequently.  Turn off heat and stir in the herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cool completely.

For the Lemon Olive Oil Dressing:  Whisk together all ingredients.

To Assemble:  Divide the lettuce between 2 plates or bowls.  On the top of each, scatter the scallions, chickpeas, mozzarella cheese, and black olives.  Drizzle on the dressing, then top with the breadcrumb topping.

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  1. says

    You are so right about the genders and their salads! I never liked sweets on salads until I tried a strawberry/feta one and my eyes almost welled up with tears…but all in all, I’d still prefer a savory one than a sweet salad any day!

  2. says

    You know Faith, I just made a pan of croutons for a salad and ate half of them before putting them on the salad… they are so darn good. Your crumbs would be the same and a great idea for a salad (also, not as easy to steal before hand!). Great looking salad… I can see why it would be a hit!

  3. says

    Ur guy and gurl salad made me grin and smile , cute , though i never did notice that, not that i go to a salad bar too often :-) ( just sayn)
    Actually i all like all the salads u mentioned in both the lists honestly :-))

    But ur salad tops it all!
    As if the cheese and chickpeas dont make things so exciting , the topping takes it to another level all together , yummm!
    Love it !
    All’s sunshine well and am hoping so is the same with u too!

  4. says

    You are right on Faith, I totally go for the hidden “desserts” in salads. If a place ever comes up with cheesecake salad, I’d probably be the first in line.

    The moment I saw your photo, I am addicted. This looks SO delicious and all the toppings bring together crunchiness, creaminess, and pure deliciousness! Wonderful salad!

  5. says

    I never stopped to think about the differences between girly salads and manly salads but you’re right! At least in my experience. The breadcrumb topping on this…mm! I mean, who WOULDN’T that appeal to?

  6. says

    What a lovely salad. It would be perfect along with a piece of barbecued chicken on a hot summer night. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  7. says

    I guess you’re right! I like fruity flavor and I like brie while the hub doesn’t like fruit mixing with food. This salad is hearty and comforting. I like the way you cook breadcrumbs!

  8. says

    Your recipes are always so delightful and lovely, I should have known right away when I clicked over from FoodGawker that this one was yours! So smart and fresh, with such great textural contrasts- I love the sound of this.

  9. says

    Faith I love the idea of using panko as a bread crumb and to give an extra flavor to the already yummie salad. Beautifully done!
    Hope you have a great week ahead :-)

  10. says

    I love any and all kinds of salads but do admit the ‘dessert’ one you described is my favorite. You did a great job making a salad that will appeal to everyone. The bread crumbs are different but delicious sounding!

  11. says

    Excellent observations on the differences between genders. I know Ryan loves a hearty salad with beans! Thank you for sharing your words and pictures, my friend. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. I’m enjoying your post with a big bowl of watermelon. Just perfect. Much love and many blessings from Austin!

  12. says

    OMG..what a lovely looking crunchy & salad. Yiu must have seen in my blog that I LOVE wood dishes..all your possessions are darn pretty…Loved every bit of it!
    As far as liking goes, you are so on husband think I like grass & I think that he is fooling himself in the name of eating salad :)

  13. says

    I love the name–it’s so cute! And I love the concept too. It’s been way too long since I ate a salad for a meal. Thanks for making the concept more appealing with this gorgeous one!

  14. says

    hi Faith

    thanks for commenting on my blog
    I love having you pop by and write such lovely things

    hope you are well

    you are so good at posting recipes regularly – i don’t know how you juggle it all – life and blogging

    well done!

    Betty bake

  15. says

    You described my perfect salad and didn’t realize it was so girly. ;) This one does sound filling and wonderful. Your pictures are incredible! Love the bread crumb topping.

  16. says

    How funny they guy “v” girl on salad….I am now thing I neglect the male gender with most of my salads, lol.

    This however is a beautiful salad and I doubt anyone would appraise otherwise :)

  17. says

    I love a meal of a salad like this one and especially like the minty salad dressing, yum! Your photos with all the wooden bowls and ingredients are gorgeous;-)

  18. says

    I just noticed your tag “the difference between guys and gals” – lol! Too true about the gender differences in salad preference. Before I met him, Peter thought salads were things like antipasto salad … or pasta salad. I’m not kidding ;)

    I love the look of this bread crumbed salad! It’s so hearty, which I actually like in salad, and it’s definitely substantial enough for a meal. Love the chickpeas!

  19. says

    What a wonderful, satisfying salad, Faith! I’ve been playing with breadcrumb toppings myself this week – they add such a wonderful crunch to so many things.

  20. Regina says

    This was very good. It inspired a new love of salad for my husband and I. Even our boys are digging it. The topping is wonderful and the combination of flavors and spices is fantastic. Thanks so much for the post!

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