Escarole Salad Recipe

This refreshing Escarole Salad Recipe has a warm bacon dressing that pairs perfectly with crisp escarole greens! This refreshing salad can be served as a side dish or as a main course. Swap out the greens to your liking, but the sightly bitter flavor of escarole is perfectly matched with buttery croutons and salty bacon.

Homemade salads always taste the best! Also check out our homemade Creamy Caesar Salad that goes perfectly with steak or chicken, or for a fun salad night with the kids try our Loaded Cheeseburger Salad!

escarole salad with bacon and breadcrumbs on platter with fork on the side

Escarole Salad Recipe With Bacon

This Escarole Salad Recipe reminds is what we imagine we’d be eating for dinner on the streets of Paris, sipping on our glasses of wine. I’m pretty sure there’s wine with every meal in France, which is why I do think I need to visit there soon.

A hearty salad that is filling enough for the main course but also works well as a side salad to go along with chicken, fish or steak. You can arrange this salad on a platter as we did here, or toss in a bowl like you would any other salad recipe.

We prefer an arranged salad when serving as the main course because of it’s beautiful presentation.

How Do You Make This Escarole Salad?

Start by making the bacon and bread crumb topping. The bacon gets cooked first so that we can use the drippings for the warm bacon vinaigrette. Don’t be shy with the bacon drippings here. We’re going to use every bit of them!

bacon and breadcrumbs in a skillet

A key to this Escarole Salad’s deliciousness is using fresh bread crumbs. Not only for the flavor but the texture, as you can see here there’s tiny bits of bread crumbs and also larger pieces.

To make homemade bread crumbs, grab a few slices of a leftover white bread and pulse them a few times in a blender or food processor. Stop when you have most of the bread broken up into crumbs but still have some larger pieces.

The fresh breadcrumbs get toasted in the same skillet that you cooked the bacon in, along with garlic and parsley. Then remove the topping from the skillet and set aside while you make the bacon vinaigrette.

escarole salad shown close up from the corner of a platter

As you can see from the picture above, the bacon dressing is pretty amazing. It clings perfectly to the escarole without wilting it too much. You can actually just pick up individual leaves of the escarole with the dressing and bacon topping and eat as is.

As this escarole salad does have to be assembled at the last minute, all the components can be prepared in advance to save time.

What Other Types Of Lettuce Can I Use?

While you do need a sturdy green to hold up to the warm bacon dressing, but there are other options if you don’t like escarole.

  • Romaine
  • Iceberg
  • Cabbage
  • Radicchio
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Endive
  • Frisee

Or try using a combination of any of those leafy greens! Combining different lettuce varieties will give you an added layer of flavor and texture.

escarole salad with bacon and breadcrumbs on platter

Can You Make This Escarole Salad Ahead Of Time?

To make this salad recipe ahead of time, you have to separate it into a few parts. Wash the escarole, spin it in really well in a salad spinner so that the leaves are dry. Place the washed escarole in a storage bag with a paper towel to remove any extra moisture.

Make the bacon and bread crumb topping and store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use, but do remember to save the bacon drippings for making the dressing!

When ready to serve, make the bacon vinaigrette in a skillet and toss or assemble the salad as you like.

escarole salad on white platter with forks

Looking For More Salad Recipes?

escarole salad with bacon and breadcrumbs on platter

Escarole Salad Recipe

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x

This Escarole Salad Recipe has the perfect combination of flavors and textures! Slightly bitter greens tossed with buttery croutons and salty bacon. This salad work both for a side dish or a light meal!



  • 1 head of escarole
  • 6 strips thick cut bacon, diced
  • 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs or Panko
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, divided
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings divided
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • lemon wedges and fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Separate the leaves of escarole, wash and dry (salad spinner works great for this!) and then set aside on paper towels.
  2. Add the chopped bacon to a large skillet and cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place onto a paper towel lined plate. Drain the drippings from the bacon into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings back into the skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add the fresh breadcrumbs in with the garlic and toss to coat in the bacon drippings. Toast the breadcrumbs, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add the bacon and the chopped parsley back into the pan with the breadcrumbs and toss together to combine. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Into the same skillet, add 4 more tablespoons of the bacon drippings over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of garlic and the chopped shallot, cooking for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the mustard and honey to the skillet, working into the shallots and garlic. Then carefully pour in the vinegar, whisking to combine. Season with salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Pour the dressing into a bowl and let cool slightly.
  5. Assemble the salad by placing the leaves of escarole onto a platter, overlapping the leaves. Generously add the bacon and breadcrumb on top of the escarole, followed by the warm dressing.
  6. Garnish the salad with a squeeze of fresh lemon and more fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

You can add a fried egg, grilled chicken or shrimp to this salad too!

If you run out of bacon drippings you can substitute with olive oil

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

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