Grape Feta and Bacon Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing

I have a serious case of salad envy. Every day my Instagram feed is flooded with gorgeous photos of amazing salads overloaded with mouth-watering ingredients. That type of food is hard to create when working with a strict budget because A) the more ingredients you have to buy, the higher your bill will be and B) pretty ingredients are often expensive ingredients. BUT today I did it. I broke down the “delicious salad” formula to its bare bones and used leftover ingredients from my fridge and freezer to make this delicious Grape Feta and Bacon Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing.

So what is this “delicious salad” formula? It’s easy: Base + sweet + salty + crunchy + creamy. As long as you have those five things you’ve got a pretty rockin’ salad. Here’s what I plugged into the formula: romain (base) + grapes (sweet) + feta/bacon (salty) + bacon (crunch) + feta/dijon dressing (creamy). As you can see, sometimes an ingredient can cover two categories and sometimes two ingredients share a category. No problem. As long as you have those flavors and textures covered, you’re good.

If you can’t find these exact ingredients for good prices or don’t happen to have 3oz. of bacon left in your freezer like I did (don’t laugh), here are some ideal ingredient substitutions:

Base: baby spinach, kale, parsley, cous cous

Sweet: strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, apples

Salty: Parmesan, croutons

Crunch: walntus, pecans, croutons, celery

Creamy: avocado, goat cheese

Want to add more to make it a bit more filling and meal-worthy? Add a sliced chicken breast or a scoop of cooked grains like bulgar, couscous, or quinoa.

Grape Feta and Bacon Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing

This Grape Feta and Bacon Salad is gourmet made simple and affordable. BudgetBytes.com

4.58 from 7 votes
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Grape Feta and Bacon Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing

This Grape Feta and Bacon Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing uses a simple formula to make a "gourmet" salad both easy and affordable. 

Total Cost $6.66 recipe / $1.67 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

CREAMY DIJON DRESSING

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise $0.56
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar $0.09
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.56
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.08
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • Freshly cracked pepper $0.05

SALAD

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce $1.99
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes $1.11
  • 1/4 red onion $0.20
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled $1.12
  • 3 oz. bacon $0.88

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, Dijon, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill). Refrigerate the dressing until ready to use.
  2. Slice the bacon into one-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  3. Chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces, then rinse with cool water in a colander. Allow the lettuce to drain while you prepare the rest of the toppings.
  4. Thinly slice the red onion. Slice the grapes in half. Crumble the feta.
  5. To build the salads, divide the lettuce between four bowls and top each with grapes, sliced onion, bacon pieces, and crumbled feta. Drizzle the creamy Dijon dressing over top, then enjoy.

This Grape Feta and Bacon Salad is gourmet made simple and affordable. BudgetBytes.com

This Grape Feta and Bacon Salad is gourmet made simple and affordable. BudgetBytes.com

Step by Step Photos

Creamy Dijon Dressing

Prepare the dressing first. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used light mayo), 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill). Refrigerate the dressing until you’re ready to serve the salad.

Frozen Bacon

Because bacon is so highly flavored, I often use just a little bit in a recipe. So, when I buy a 12oz. package of bacon, I cut the package across the slices into four equal parts and then freeze it (in a freezer bag). That way I can take out one 3oz. piece at a time to use in a recipe. I had one section left that needed to be used, so I took advantage of it for this salad.

Cooked Bacon

Cut the bacon into one-inch pieces, then cook in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Let the cooked bacon drain on a paper towel lined plate until ready to use.

Cut and Wash Lettuce

Chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces, then wash it well in a colander. Let the lettuce drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Prepped Salad Toppings

Thinly slice 1/4 of a red onion. Slice 1 cup of red seedless grapes in half. Crumbled about 2 oz. of feta.

This Grape Feta and Bacon Salad is gourmet made simple and affordable. BudgetBytes.com

When you’re ready to build the Grape Feta and Bacon Salads, divide the lettuce between four bowls, then top with sliced onion, grapes, bacon, and feta. 

This Grape Feta and Bacon Salad is gourmet made simple and affordable. BudgetBytes.com

Then drizzle that delicious creamy Dijon dressing over the salad.

This Grape Feta and Bacon Salad is gourmet made simple and affordable. BudgetBytes.com

Then take a pretty picture to post on Instagram. ;) Salad envy no more.

This Grape Feta and Bacon Salad is gourmet made simple and affordable. BudgetBytes.com