If you love a lettuce wedge salad, you'll love this flavorful take on the classic. Blue cheese crumbles and herby dressing pair with beets and crisped pancetta, all on fresh iceberg lettuce.
You know what the Classic Wedge is. Your mind probably goes straight to rich blue cheese dressing and, if you’re lucky, crispy bacon bits.
The iceberg lettuce is just the vehicle we wisely use to get the other ingredients into our mouths!
A New Take on a Lettuce Wedge Salad
Change perfection? I think you will like where I’m going with this. The delicious flavors are still there, just ENHANCED! My changes:
- Swap bacon for pancetta
- Add hazelnuts and sweet beets
- Big chunks of blue cheese
- Herby vinaigrette instead of creamy dressing.
I made the iconic side salad worthy of a meal by swapping bacon for meaty pancetta and adding crunchy hazelnuts and roasted beets.
Dress it with a tangy, lemon parsley vinaigrette, but don’t forget the blue cheese! Keep it classic with big, creamy pieces of Roquefort.
All the salty, rich, crunchy tastes we want…just new!
The Wedge Salad Shape
You can still serve this salad with the iconic wedge of lettuce. Be my guest. But I love still enjoying all the flavors without having to wrestle with that big wedge.
I cut or tear my iceberg lettuce into pieces that can soak up all the delicious dressing, and mingle with the bits of crunch and soft blue cheese.
Dressing for a wedge salad:
Typically a creamy blue cheese dressing douses a wedge of iceberg lettuce. We top it with bacon bits or crumbles and call it delicious.
It is! It's tasty, and why mess with perfection? You'll like what I've done!
I lightened up a classic diner salad with herby, lemon vinaigrette. It adds a nice zing to the crispy lettuce.
I didn't forget the blue cheese. I just enhanced it! Fresh crumbles of cheese land in your mouth with each bite.
How to cook pancetta:
I swapped traditional bacon with pancetta in this iceberg lettuce salad. Pancetta is a cured Italian bacon and is much more meaty than bacon.
I cut it into cubes. There is a fair amount of fat on pancetta and you can trim this off a bit, or just keep it for flavor.
Pancetta needs to be cooked slowly. You want to render the fat from the pieces rather than fry it to a crisp. This will take about 20 minutes over medium heat.
Classically a creamy blue cheese dressing is served on an iceberg lettuce wedge salad. I like to make an herb vinaigrette. You can also use store-bought blue cheese, Ranch or Caesar dressing.
You can prepare all of the elements for this salad ahead of time. Then arrange the salad in a bowl or on a platter and dress it when ready to serve.
The pancetta and beets can be cooked ahead. Keep cooked pancetta covered at room temperature for up to a day. The beets can be cooked, peeled and refrigerated. The nuts can be roasted and set aside. The blue cheese can be crumbled.
Other favorite salad recipes:
- Sesame Ginger Beef Salad
- Grilled Pita Salad with Lemon Chicken Kabobs
- Warm Salmon and Arugula Pasta Salad
Let me know how it went!
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The New Iceberg Wedge Salad
- 2 Red and golden beets
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- ¾ pound pancetta
- 1 head Iceberg lettuce
- ½ cup Hazelnuts
- ½ cup Roquefort cheese (or other blue cheese)
Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ clove minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley chopped
- ½ cup Extra-virgin olive oil
- Wrap beets, a sprinkling of kosher salt and a little olive oil in aluminum foil. Roast at 375ºF until tender, about 1 hr. Set aside to cool.
- Dice pancetta into ½-inch pieces. Cook in a skillet over medium heat until fat is rendered and pancetta is golden and cooked, about 20 min. Reserve a few tablespoons of the fat for the dressing.
- Slice iceberg lettuce and serve with pancetta, sliced beets, toasted hazelnuts, crumbled Roquefort cheese and Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette.
- Stir together lemon juice, garlic, black pepper, sugar and flat-leaf parsley. Combine reserved pancetta fat and enough extra-virgin olive oil to make ½ cup and whisk into dressing.
- Prepare the ingredients the day before. See tips in the post.