This bread crumb salad recipe is as simple as it sounds with toasted breadcrumbs, fresh mozzarella, good quality olives, and canned chickpeas, and it's every bit as delicious as it is easy to whip up. In just 15 minutes, you'll have a beautiful salad that's satisfying enough for a full meal!
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 in itself!
I’ve noticed that a lot of ladies 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. (Guys, not that I blame you – 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 gals…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. ;)
The Best Easy Bread Crumb Salad Recipe
I explain the ingredients and give substitutions in this section. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.
- Olive oil - or you can use avocado oil
- Onion - use a really small onion (or a shallot) and dice it small
- Garlic - for flavor and aroma
- Panko breadcrumbs - I love the larger texture of Panko breadcrumbs here
- Fresh thyme - or rosemary; if you don't have fresh thyme or rosemary on hand, you can substitute with dried thyme, dried rosemary, or dried Italian herb seasoning
- Fresh parsley - for a pop of bright green color in our crunchy bread crumb topping
- Salt and black pepper - to season the dish
Lemon Olive Oil Dressing:
- Olive oil - or use avocado oil instead
- Lemon juice - if you don't have fresh lemon juice, use 2 teaspoons of vinegar instead (such as balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar)
- Crushed dried mint - dried mint adds a subtle grassy sweet undertone to this salad dressing; if you don't have this, you can substitute with dried Italian herb seasoning
- Garlic - it elevates the flavor of this salad dressing, but a little goes a long way because we're using it raw
- Salt and black pepper - the seasonings
- Romaine lettuce - or any type of lettuce you like
- Scallion - for mild onion flavor; you can use chives instead
- Canned chickpeas - these add protein and help make this salad a hearty, satisfying full meal; if chickpeas aren't your thing, swap them out for any canned beans you like (cannellini beans are also delicious!)
- Fresh mozzarella - I used fresh mozzarella balls called bocconcini
- Good quality olives - such as Castelvetrano or Kalamata
How to Make Bread Crumb Salad
Step 1: Make the Breadcrumb Topping:
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet 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.
Step 2: Make the Lemon Olive Oil Dressing:
Whisk together all ingredients.
Step 3: 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. Serve.
Variations on This Recipe
- Bump up the protein. If you want, you can top this leafy green salad with grilled chicken, steak, or hard-boiled egg.
- Use your favorite type of beans. Or skip them if you're not a fan!
More Salad Recipes for People Who Think They Don't Like Salad
- Mediterranean Bean Salad - this salad is quick and easy to make, great for meal prep, and with big bold flavors, it's anything but boring!
- Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts - quinoa bumps up the protein and makes it filling
- Ramen Noodle Salad - with crunchy amen noodles and a flavorful dressing, you'll forget you're also eating a ton of vegetables!
Bread Crumb Salad
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 very small onion finely diced (or shallot)
- 1 large clove garlic grated on a microplane
- 4 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh minced thyme or rosemary (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme, rosemary, or dried Italian herb seasoning)
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Lemon Olive Oil Dressing:
- 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
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese I used fresh mozzarella balls called bocconcini
- ¼ cup good quality olives
For the Breadcrumb Topping:
- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet 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.
- 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. Serve.
- To Bump Up the Protein: Top this salad with grilled chicken, steak, or hard-boiled egg.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on August 15, 2011. I updated it with more information on May 23, 2023.