BLT Chopped Salad with Mushroom “Bacon” + Creamy Basil Dressing (vegan | plant-based)

Attention! This is my new favorite salad. Like, I’m in love. It has all the flavor of a BLT sammie but in salad form, and without the bacon of course. For the rich, salty bacon flavor I use roasted mushrooms and to make it a BLT salad, I combine them with homemade croutons, fresh and sweet grape tomatoes, creamy avocado, a flavor-packed ranch-style dressing made from sunflower seeds and romaine lettuce.

This salad is super filling and main course worthy. So much flavor, texture and color – it’s simply irresistible. As always, change it up as you see fit. If you want more protein, I would add some white beans, or if you eat dairy, some white cheddar cheese would be delish. If you’ve got four very hearty appetites to feed, double the croutons. If you’re serving to guests, reserve some of each mix-in to garnish on top.

BLT Salad with Mushroom “Bacon” + Creamy Basil Dressing
serves 4 (entree)


for the mushroom “bacon”

20-25 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1.25 teaspoons sea salt, fine grain

for the dressing

1/3 cup sunflower seed kernels
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice and zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons
1 teaspoon sea salt, fine grain
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves

for the croutons

2 thick slices sourdough bread* (use 3 slices if on the thinner side)
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt, fine grain

for salad

2 large hearts of romaine, shredded or finely chopped
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large ripe avocado, diced

To Make

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).

Start with the mushrooms. Toss with olive oil and salt, transfer to a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread into a single overlapping layer. Roast for 25 minutes. Toss and rearrange. Roast for another 10-20 minutes, checking every few minutes and tossing if needed. Mushrooms should be dark and golden, but not black. Season with more salt to taste, they should be salty.

For the croutons, cut or tear bread into small pieces. Transfer to a baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes at 425. Remove from oven, toss with olive oil and 2 pinches salt. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes or until crisp with golden edges.

Make the dressing while the mushrooms and bread are in the oven. Combine all dressing ingredients except for basil in a high speed blender. Blend until super smooth and creamy. Add basil and pulse until basil is finely chopped.

To assemble the salad, toss everything together with the dressing. The idea is for the salad to be spoonable, so everything should be pretty small to bring it all together. Reserve some dressing for drizzling on the top.

– for the croutons use any fresh bread you want – ciabatta would be delicious too! Just make sure it’s a good quality bread.

5 thoughts on “BLT Chopped Salad with Mushroom “Bacon” + Creamy Basil Dressing (vegan | plant-based)

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