Food & Drink

Go ahead, make a Thanksgiving salad

This iceberg wedge salad gets color and taste from bacon, vegetables and a homemade blue-cheese and buttermilk dressing.
This iceberg wedge salad gets color and taste from bacon, vegetables and a homemade blue-cheese and buttermilk dressing.

Salads are not always the most popular side dish for Thanksgiving. The thought is there should be room for turkey, gravy, dressing and green beans, so why add greens into the mix?

This salad marries classic wedge components with colorful vegetables cut into neat 1/4-inch cubes known as brunoise. Omit the bacon for a vegetarian salad.

Wedge Salad With Blue Cheese Dressing, Bacon and Pretty Vegetables

FOR THE DRESSING:

2 1/2 ounces good-quality blue cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)

1/4 cup regular plain Greek-style yogurt

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

FOR THE SALAD:

1 head iceberg lettuce (about 1 pound)

4-ounce length of zucchini, trimmed and cubed

4 radishes, sliced

1/2 small red onion, diced

16 grape tomatoes, cut lengthwise, or 1 large heirloom tomato, cut into large dice

4 strips thick-cut cooked bacon, crumbled or cut into 3/4-inch pieces, at room temperature

For the dressing: Combine the blue cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, cayenne and black peppers, and dried thyme in a blender or food processor; puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl; the yield is 1 cup. Cover and refrigerate.

For the salad: Line a small baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels. Core and rinse the lettuce, then cut it into 6 equal wedges, placing the wedges on the baking sheet with a cut side down. Take enough paper towels to cover the wedges with a double thickness. Blot the tops of the wedges with the paper towel and cover the wedges with it. Refrigerate while you assemble the salad toppings.

Divide the wedges among salad or soup plates. Generously coat each one with dressing. Top/surround with the zucchini, cucumber, radish, red onion, tomatoes, bacon and the remaining 2 ounces of blue cheese.

Dressing variation: Combine 2 1/2 ounces of crumbled fta cheese, 1/4 cup of room-temperature Garlic and Fines Herbes Boursin cheese, 1/4 cup of low-fat buttermilk, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper in a blender or mini food processor; puree until smooth.

Makes 6 servings, each with 190 calories, 14 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

Make ahead: The dressing and the blue cheese spread can be refrigerated a day in advance.

Food writer and cookbook author David Hagedorn

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