Right about now, there are many of you who have been teased with a hint of Spring, and, as a result, are ready for the end of winter. Even though you may love the comfort of cold-weather foods like soups and stews, there’s a part of you that’s yearning for something fresh and light. Something savory and juicy, with a taste of citrus that brings to mind warm days in the out-of-doors. Picnics in the sun. Lazy meals on the patio on a warm evening.
This wilted arugula and bacon salad with lime dressing brings all those things to mind for me. The peppery arugula and the sweet onion are brightened by a slight wilting in the lime dressing. And the crunchy, chewy bacon bits give it a salty, rounded texture that really makes this one of the best and easiest salads around.
This salad is a go-to in our home. Everyone loves it. Even my onion-averse son. I have served it to appreciative guests, and have even had some of them request it again on future visits. With only three ingredients in the salad and a very simple and easy lime dressing, this is a dish you can whip up in 15 minutes or less.
let’s see what goes into the wilted arugula and bacon salad
I’ve made this salad at different times with either red wine or white wine vinegar. Although they were all yummy, everyone in my family prefers it with a lime dressing. There’s something about that citrusy tang that really brings the flavors together.
I use low-sodium bacon. Seriously, I don’t miss the extra salt at all. Same big bacon flavor with less salt? I’m in!
This recipe calls for quite a bit of onion, so please don’t let that scare you off. Sweet onion is so much milder than other onions, and wilting in the citrus acid mellows it out even more.
let’s assemble the wilted arugula bacon salad
Make the dressing first so it can sit for a few minutes, letting the flavors blend and deepen.
Meanwhile, you can start on your bacon bits. This recipe calls for a lot of bacon bits.
To make bacon bits, the bacon must be very, very crunchy. I like to use a paper plate layered with paper towels, with an extra flap of paper towel to pull over and cover the bacon while it cooks. I put it in the microwave and get it very crispy.
You want to render as much of the fat as possible and cook what’s left into a solid.
Then just cut it up with a large knife. If it is cooked correctly, it will crumble easily under the blade.
Next, slice your onions very, very thinly. As I said before, sweet onions are not near as sharp as white or yellow onions. And slicing it thinly makes it more uniform in size with the baby arugula.
Toss the onion and arugula in a large bowl with the dressing and let it sit for a bit until lightly wilted.
Then transfer to a serving platter and top with the bacon bits.
Toss the salad again with the bacon bits just before serving. You want the bacon bits to retain some crunchy-chewiness, so you don’t want it to sit and wilt as long as the onion and arugula.
Then transfer to salad plates and serve.
It’s wonderful as a side salad or as the base for an entrée topped with a grilled protein. Great as a dish to take to a picnic or a party because you can assemble it before leaving, then dress and top with the bacon bits when you get there.
Refreshing, full of juice and, and a wonderful blend of textures. My mouth always waters on the first bite because my brain has been conditioned to expect something really special.
Give it a try. I’m sure you’ll love it!
- FOR THE SALAD
- 3 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup sweet onion, sliced very thinly
- ¾ cup bacon bits (about 6 slices, cooked crisp, and chopped)
- FOR THE DRESSING
- 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, diced
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 teaspoons of agave nectar
- Fresh cracked pepper
- First, prepare the dressing so that that the flavors can set.
- Next, brown the bacon to a crisp in the microwave and chop into bacon bits.
- Slice the onion very thinly.
- In a large bowl, toss the arugula and onion with the lime dressing.
- Allow it to sit and wilt for about 5-10 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving platter and top with the bacon bits.
- Toss with the bacon bits just before serving out portions.