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!
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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 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme or rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, rosemary, or dried Italian herb seasoning)
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Lemon Olive Oil Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried mint optional; or 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
- 1 small clove garlic grated on a microplane
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 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
- 1/4 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.
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!
I’m so glad this salad was a hit in your house, Regina! It’s a favorite in my house as well. :)
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.
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!
lovely n delicious…beautiful cliks..
5 Star Foodie says
Sounds like a terrific salad, loving the breadcrumb topping!
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;-)
I’d be happy with this salad anytime. Lovely flavors.
Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather says
Love that this salad makes for a meal! The crunchy topping sounds like fun. I love panko :)
I totally love the idea of this salad!!!
Magic of Spice 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 :)
I think bread crumbs could top pretty much anything with incredible results. Just can’t beat that crunchy addition!
[email protected] says
I really enjoy a hearty salad that can replace a full meal. I often go for beans and cheese too. But next time willtry your dressed up breadcrumb version, looks wonderful.
this looks beautiful! thank you for sharing this and for visiting my blog! have a great day:) xox
My husband will love this with one minor change, he is not a lettuce fan so I would use spinach and sorrel. Sounds good to me :-) Diane
Sara (The Veggie Eco-Life) says
I think it looks yummm! But I have to admit that I think I would add some potatoes…
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.
Heavenly Housewife says
Wonderful salad, love all the gutsy flavours… still… I don’t think Mr P would appreciate JUST salad for dinner. He might cry. For me though, I love it.
That salad has my name on top!!!!! Looks amazing,Faith! Your pictures are soooooo beautiful.
[email protected] says
I love the look of these shots. The salad is a great combo for me… lots of crunchy bits
Blond Duck says
I’m afraid I tend to fall in the “Guy” salad territory…
What a great combination of flavors and textures. It looks so filling without being heavy.
This definitely looks like a more delicious way to enjoy salad. Love the mozzarella in there – delicious.
Betty Bake says
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
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!
Angie's Recipes says
Lovely salad! But I like your wooden bowls even more ;-))
[email protected] 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 it..my husband think I like grass & I think that he is fooling himself in the name of eating salad :)
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!
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!
Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons says
I love EVERYTHING in this salad! and its such a unique combo too! You can officially make all my salads from here on out =) I trust you. lol
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
really beautiful styling Faith! And yes I’ll admit I’m one of those girls that goes for sweetness if I can! :P
Carolyn Jung says
Crunchy, buttery crumbs make anything and everything better. Heck, I could even nibble on them straight. ;)
Carolyn, Haha — you and me both! Just give me a spoon, lol! ;)
Wow—it’s beautiful and looks/sounds totally delish!
That salad looks very hearty and satisifying! I love all those flavors and am now craving a salad!
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 :-)
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.
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!
I’m not a boy but I’d happily devour this salad! Love the addition of savory, crunchy breadcrumbs. Mmm. :-)
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
Nicole, RD 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?
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!
Mia Summer Rose 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!
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!
A great idea! That salad must be really enjoyable.
Faith @ For the Health of It 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!
Love a hearty salad. The crunchy topping is an awesome idea