This BLT-avocado salad with basil pesto salad dressing is a dream. Ridiculously delicious. Incredibly easy to put together and such a crowd pleaser. It’s really one of those salads where you can just “bung it in” and you know it will good.
It’s a sturdy sort of salad – so you can easily make a big batch the night before, scoop it into tupperware and it will be the perfect packed lunch to take to work. It’s delicious enough to serve for a dinner party, just grill some chicken, or sear some steaks to go with, and you have the best supper. In fact, make this for supper and please invite me round. Yes?
I don’t need to tell you that bacon and avocado are the best of buds. Pret a Manger did that for us a while ago, and no one has looked back since. Hats off Pret. But add in basil pesto and this is the sort of ménage-à-trois you might want to get on board with. Yes, I went there. A basil pesto dressing is a wondrous thing. Simply make a pesto (although I now always leave out the cheese, and I promise you really can’t tell), then loosen it with a good glug of olive oil, and hey bingo! Or hey presto! Whichever will do. This is amazing just drizzled over some ice berg lettuce hearts…or chopped cos, or even the sad sort of leaves you might find lurking at the bottom of your fridge…it’s that good!
You can get all of this ready in advance, sot it’s a great entertaining salad. Frying off the pancetta is the hardest part. *sigh…tough life*. This can be done a few days ahead. Make the basil dressing a few days in advance. Then just get chopping and you are ready to go! Everything apart from the avocado could be chopped the day before. See, how easy is this??
Because of all the delicious ingredients we have lurking in there, I can promise you even the most fervent salad dodgers will love this salad. I like to think of it as a ‘gateway salad’…it’s a great place to start to learn to love all things salad-y.
Note: the pancetta is always the most popular aspect (UNLESS you are a veggie OBVS), so always go big on the pancetta to avoid any fights breaking out over the salad tossers.
- 250g pancetta
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
- 1 bag of spinach
- 2 gem lettuce hearts
- ½ red onion
- 1 ripe avocado
- large bunch of basil - about two cups, stalks and all
- /2 cup nuts, pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds are my faves at the moment
- large clove garlic, crushed
- /2 cup - 1 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Start by frying the pancetta. Add only a little olive oil and then fry until lovely and cripsy. Once golden tip onto a piece of kitchen towel to soak up any excess fat.
- Take a large, flat bowl. I always think salads look much lovelier in shallow bowls rather than deep ones.
- Then add the spinach. Tear the gem lettuce hearts into the bowl as well.
- Chop the cherry tomatoes in half, around where their belts would be. Finely chop the red onion.
- Add the pancetta.
- I always place the avocado, whole, into the bowl, at this stage, because if you cut it too early it goes brown, and if it's in the bowl, I know I won't forget it!
- Make the pesto, by bunging all the pesto ingredients into the food processor and whizzing it up! I like to pour it into a little jug
- When ready to serve, chop the avocado and add to the bowl (I like to bring it to the table untossed so you can see all the different elements)
- Then add the pesto dressing and give it a good mix at the table.
- Completely and utterly delicious!
The beautiful crockery can all be found here.