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Quick and Easy BLT Salad with Pickled Onions

How to make a BLT salad
Debbie Koenig/TODAY

Chef notes

We’re taking all of the wonderful flavors of a classic BLT and turning them into a quick and easy salad worthy of any lunch or dinner. Instead of being the often forgotten ingredient hidden between juicy slices of tomato and thick-cut bacon, lettuce serves as the base of this salad. Bite-sized pieces of crispy bacon, cherry tomatoes and sourdough bread adorn the top. In addition to all of that, we like to add homemade pickled onions for a little something special. 

To make them quickly yourself, all you have to do is soak sliced red onions in a mixture of vinegar, water and salt ( add a touch of honey or sugar to bring out the onion’s natural sugars, too). Let the onions sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients for the salad. Cook the bacon in a frying pan until crispy, then use the rendered fats to coat the bread cubes for the most flavorful croutons. 

The only thing left to do after that is make the dressing. This dressing embraces the usual generous swipe of mayonnaise that you find on each slice of bread on a BLT. We combine mayonnaise with buttermilk and a bit of vegetable oil to create a smooth and creamy dressing to drizzle over the salad. Its fattiness (and that of the bacon) is nicely balanced out by the acidity from both the pickled onions and cherry tomatoes. Enjoy this sandwich-turned-salad for lunch, dinner or anything in between. 

Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it. 


  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, divided
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
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First, make the pickled onions: Place the onion into a non-reactive bowl. Combine 4 tablespoons cider vinegar with the water, honey, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pour over the onions. Set aside while you make the rest of the salad (20 to 30 minutes), stirring occasionally.


In a large frying pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Remove all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan, and add the bread cubes. Cook over medium-low heat, turning often, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the croutons to the plate with the bacon.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and set aside.


Place the lettuce on a platter; drain the pickled onions and scatter them on top along with the tomatoes, bacon, and croutons. Drizzle with dressing, toss gently, and serve.