Escarole Bistro Salad

This Escarole Bistro Salad has a warm bacon dressing that pairs perfectly with crisp escarole greens! Serve this salad as a side dish or the main course!

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 Bistro Salad on a white platter

Escarole Bistro Salad Recipe

We called this salad a “bistro” salad because it’s what we imagine 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 belong there, but for now, I’ll save my wine for dinner.

This Escarole Bistro Salad is hearty enough for the main course but also perfect 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, it just makes it seem like more of the main event!

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 need every bit of them!

bacon and fresh bread crumbs toasting in a skillet

A key to this Escarole Bistro 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.

Just grab a few slices of a good, crusty 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 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 recipe with a warm bacon dressing

As you can see from the picture above, the bacon dressing is pretty epic. 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.

Our boys love to eat it like that, anyway. Not sure if it’s table manner approved but it whatever gets them to eat their greens…

Can You make This Salad Recipe With Other Types Of Lettuce?

Sure! You do need a sturdier green to hold up to the warm dressing, but there are other options is you don’t like escarole.

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

Or try 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 fresh breadcrumb topping

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. Go ahead and wash your escarole, spin it in a salad spinner or dry the leaves very well with paper towels and place into a resealable bag with a couple of paper towels.

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

When ready to serve, make the dressing in a skillet and toss or assemble the salad.

Escarole Bistro Salad on a platter with fork and serving spoon

Looking For More Salad Recipes?

Escarole salad with bacon and fresh breadcrumb topping

Escarole Bistro Salad

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

This Escarole Bistro Salad can be served as a side dish or the main course! Crisp, cool escarole topped with a warm bacon dressing and a crunchy bread crumb and bacon topping!



  • 1 small 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
  • fresh 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

Keywords: mantitlement, salad recipe, recipes with bacon, escarole recipe, escarole salad, main course salads


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