I’m about thirty seconds away from head butting the screen.

Warm Brussels Caesar with Bacon Ciabatta Croutons I howsweeteats.com

This salad is THAT good.

And there is a great reason that I’m telling you about salad today. Salad? Can we call it that? It’s like bacon grease, bacon, bread, dressing and some cheese shavings. But it’s a salad. How fair is that?

Anyhoo, the reason is BACON CROUTONS. Yes. The croutons of the bacon variety.

But wait. How was your weekend?

My weekend was almost as good as bacon croutons. I watched about seven straight hours of sons of anarchy late into the night. I watched almost as many youtube videos on show interviews because I can’t keep real and faux life separate. I spent a large chunk of time with Eddie at a horse racing track supporting his passion and not-so-secretly stalking a bunch of people on instagram that I want to be my friends. We ate one meal and one meal only on Saturday that consisted of the most massive burger ever and a freaking burnt almond torte milkshake.

Yeah. I said burnt almond torte. Am I dead yet?

Warm Brussels Caesar with Bacon Ciabatta Croutons I howsweeteats.com

After that, we participated in marriage therapy otherwise known as grocery shopping.

See, there are certain activities that Eddie and I know better than to do with each other and one of these things is grocery shopping. Another one is attempting to run together but that is neither here nor there. We had a lapse of judgment on Saturday and found ourselves at the store – together – which prepped me for life with a small child and gave him good free throw training as he shot peppers, bok choy, whole chickens and bottles of bbq sauce into the cart from ten feet away right before he proceeded to buy $24 of seedless grapes. He also plays this duck hunt game on his phone and I’m like almost certain that he surpassed at least six levels while simultaneously running the cart into other shoppers on his own personal speedway.

Then. He dropped a giant jar of pickles on the ground and pickle juice went all over his pants and shoes while pickles piled up to his ankles. He hates pickles. He hates the smell of pickles.

I love pickles. So much that I could sip the juice. I think I did so as a kid. I know you either get it or think I’m nuts. It’s a thing though.

But. This was one of those instances where I could not stop laughing. Totally dying of hysterics to the point of embarrassment. Pickles for everyone!

We planned on coming home from the store, maybe taking a nap and then eating these Brussels salads for dinner since we had a huge lunch. We did come home, we did take naps, we did not eat Brussels salad and instead finished milkshakes. That’s a weekend meal right there for you.

Warm Brussels Caesar with Bacon Ciabatta Croutons I howsweeteats.com

But these salads. These freaking salads. I was inspired by this smoky kale caesar salad which was blowing my mind a few weeks ago. Last week I had an overabundance of Brussels – can I just say that even though I’m slightly giddy for spring, I’m really sad for this sprout season to be over because I just can’t get enough? – and was craving something… different. The thing is that I’ve done a bunch of crazy crap with the little green things this year and while I wanted something with variety, I didn’t want it to be crazy. Like I wasn’t feel a Brussels quesadilla at that very moment.

So I fried some bacon. Took the grease and drenched ciabatta cubes with it, then toasted them until golden. Sauteed the Brussels until slightly soft and warm and then folded in a bit of this yogurt parm Caesar dressing. The salad soaks up a bit of dressing but the flavor is on. Tossed with the bacon, the croutons, some extra shaved parm… UGH. It’s so me new favorite meal. I ate it three times last week.

I’m probably going to eat it again today? You will hear about this salad approximately 34 more times before I’m over it.

Warm Brussels Caesar with Bacon Ciabatta Croutons I howsweeteats.com


Warm Brussels Caesars with Bacon Ciabatta Croutons

Yield: serves 1 to 2

Total Time: 30 mintues


2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 cup ciabatta bread cubes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound brussels sprouts, sliced and stems removed
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

yogurt caesar dressing
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons greek yogurt
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
4 anchovies, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crispy and the fat is rendered, then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel. Pour the bacon grease from the skillet over the bread cubes on the baking sheet and toss well. Sprinkle with the garlic powder and toss once more. Add the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cubes are golden, tossing once or twice while cooking.

Return the skillet to the burner and heat over medium-low heat. Add the brussels with the salt and pepper and stir well. If you need a drop of olive oil feel free to add it, but I just used a little residual bacon grease in the skillet. Cook the brussels until warm and slightly soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove them from the skillet and toss with a few spoonfuls of the caesar dressing. Add the bacon and croutons on top and serve!

yogurt caesar dressing
To make the dressing, add the garlic, yogurt, parmesan, mustard, vinegar, anchovies, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until pureed. With the processor still on, stream in the olive oil until a creamy dressing forms. This will make more dressing than needed, but you can store it sealed in the fridge for about 5 days and stir well before using.

[dressing from my roasted corn caesars]

Warm Brussels Caesar with Bacon Ciabatta Croutons I howsweeteats.com

and it’s CRUNCHY too. My life.

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114 Responses to “Warm Brussels Caesar with Bacon Ciabatta Croutons.”

  1. #
    Rachel — February 4, 2014 @ 10:56 am

    !! This is happening as soon as humanly possible.

    Also, try making a dirty martini but use pickle juice instead of olive juice. Or mix olive and pickle juice. It’s to die.


  2. #
    Victoria — February 4, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    ohh my…it looks sooo delicious!!! def a must try!



  3. #
    Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker — February 4, 2014 @ 11:17 am

    Love this salad! We also ran errands on Saturday and ended up at the grocery store, but we have a new routine when we end up at the grocery store together… I go in, and he waits in the car and putzes on his phone. Everyone wins! :)


  4. #
    Andi — February 4, 2014 @ 11:27 am

    OMG!! this looks AMAZING!! i love your blog and your recipes!! You’re awesome. :)


  5. #
    Jeff Winett — February 4, 2014 @ 11:59 am

    Your unique salad recipe….it’s on tomorrow’s docket before pizza…Thank U, am so psyched.
    Now as for that burnt almond torte milkshake….just a picture…no recipe?? You Milkshake teaser, you :)


    • Jeff Winett — February 6th, 2014 @ 12:37 pm

      Well, one day later, and I did it! This salad was everything you’ve said and more. Hubs was pouting before salad time, stating that he wants a traditional leafy salad before our pizza last night….well, he’s singing a different tune now, and all I want to do is make this unique salad for everyone I know. The pungent dressing is so fabulous, and will be enjoyed again tonight on another salad that I will come up with. I used a 4 millimeter slicing blade for the sprouts, and a pound of these gems were sliced within seconds. Additionally, every dressing component went into my immersion blender beaker, and I simply pushed a button, resulting in a perfect emulsification.
      Cheers and thank you so much for what you’ve shared. Your site always inspires me.


  6. #
    allie@sweetpotatobites — February 4, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

    I really don’t like brussel sprouts but I might be able to get on board with this salad. Plus BACON.


  7. #
    Sophia @ NY Foodgasm — February 4, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

    Mmmmm this sounds amazing and bacon croutons- BEST invention EVER!


  8. #
    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — February 4, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

    Yum! Bacon makes everything taste better. I’m so ready for spring, but I’ll miss brussels sprouts too.


  9. #
    Kjirsten (Balanced Healthy Life) — February 4, 2014 @ 6:45 pm

    This sounds and look delish! I’m picky with Brussels sprouts but do love them with bacon! :)


  10. #
    Chris — February 4, 2014 @ 7:57 pm

    I hate Brussels sprouts. They taste like something that almost, but not quite, qualifies as a vegetable…but with zesty overtones of weedkiller. Over the years, by sheer force of will, I have learned to love lots of things I used to avoid (such as mangos, coriander (cilantro) asparagus, various offally bits, anchovies and olives). Until now, I’ve been happy to leave sprouts on the ‘list of evil’ that I refuse to even attempt to enjoy (in the company of tripe, durian, frozen dinners, banana chips and sweet soy bean paste) but I have to admit this recipe has me wondering….


  11. #
    Chelsea — February 4, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

    Oh this makes me want to love brussel sprouts! I will for sure be making it! So glad I found your blog! Looks delicious :)


  12. #
    Gretchen — February 4, 2014 @ 8:31 pm

    I find grocery shopping works best alone. I love the idea of the bacon croutons! And I’m a vegetarian!


  13. #
    Larry — February 4, 2014 @ 8:38 pm

    I’m like… dying right now. DYING. From not having this in front of my face right now.


  14. #
    Justine Kaitlyn @prettyinpistachio — February 4, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

    Just made this tonight. It is BOMB. So good.


  15. #
    Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs — February 4, 2014 @ 9:38 pm

    Bacon!! Delicious, Jessica!!


  16. #
    gail — February 4, 2014 @ 10:58 pm

    Mmmmm…you had me at bacon…..


  17. #
    Amy Mak — February 4, 2014 @ 11:09 pm

    Oh dear, I’m terribly excited about this. My mouth is watering but the clock says 10:24p.m. and I really shouldn’t get up to cook bacon. Plus, I need brussels. Can’t wait to make this! I’ve never fried brussels – only baked them. Maybe this time I will like them more as they should be crunchier. Yum, yum, thank you!


  18. #
    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — February 4, 2014 @ 11:15 pm

    I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed this salad sooner than later! Brussels are one of my favourite vegetables, and bacon – well, haha, it’s my boyfriend.


  19. #
    Brooke — February 4, 2014 @ 11:44 pm

    Hey Jess!

    Just curious- any idea how this holds up for leftovers? I’m a Personal Chef, and am super interested in including this in menu’s for my clients. How would you suggest reheating and/or serving for leftovers?


    • Jessica — February 5th, 2014 @ 8:00 am

      i think for best reheating – i wouldn’t toss the brussels with the dressing at all. This makes a fairly small serving so I think for 2-4 people, you could double the recipe, then toss half with the dressing. To reheat the remaining brussels the next day, add them to a skillet (probably best for the croutons too?) then toss with the dressing after warmed, I still it will be best served immediately though.


  20. #
    Pat — February 5, 2014 @ 1:52 am

    Wow, this looks and sounds wonderful. I have some brussels sprouts in my refrig, I’m going to try it out.


  21. #
    ami@naivecookcooks — February 5, 2014 @ 11:36 am

    I want to eat them so so badly!


  22. #
    Lynne from Design The Life You Want to Live — February 5, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

    I am drooooooooooling. I can’t wait to make this and watch back to back episodes of netflix shows until the end of time.

    Now THAT’S how you spend a day. Yes.

    Lynne xx


  23. #
    angela@spinachtiger — February 5, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

    Sometimes I get intense brussels sprouts cravings, like right now and this salad. About the pickles, my husband HATES and I LOVE. He doesn’t like anything with any brine, or mustard, but sometimes I sneak it into dishes anyway. But never on pickles. He’s missing out!


  24. #
    Sarah — February 5, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    I love pickles!! At a bar here in santa barbara you can get a shot of whiskey with a pickle back (a side shot of pickle juice) and it is incredibly tasty. I like to sip them, and its a perfect combination! Not sure if your a whiskey drinker, but its definitely something to try if you are!


  25. #
    Karen K — February 5, 2014 @ 3:30 pm

    PLEASE give me one or two ideas for what kind of soup this salad would go well with?
    Thank you :)


  26. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — February 5, 2014 @ 3:30 pm

    Oh my gosh, I’m dy-ing about the pickles! Yes, to pickles + juice, always. I’m in an office full of people, and it was dead silent until I read that bit about the pickles jar incident….now I’m hysterical and everyone in staring.


  27. #
    cheri — February 5, 2014 @ 6:50 pm

    This looks incredible. Love all the components!


  28. #
    Ladrea — February 5, 2014 @ 9:40 pm

    This sounds so good and need to make this weekend. I a m vegetarian and want to make this minus the bacon of course. For the dressing can I leave out the anchovy and is there anything to substitute in its place.


  29. #
    Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes — February 5, 2014 @ 10:10 pm

    “I’m about thirty seconds away from head butting the screen. This salad is THAT good. ” So is this what happens when you swear off exclamation points? Love that you’re doing up the Brussels again… seemingly, every time I stop by. Pickle juice is total karma. Everybody should love it, not sure why your man is so slow to catch on. Another great idea. Pinning away:)


  30. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — February 8, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

    I love every single part of this salad. Licking my fingers already.


  31. #
    Rachel Haynes — February 8, 2014 @ 10:15 pm

    Oh sweet expletives. I showed this to my boyfriend the day it came out, and I said “This is happening” and it did. This was beyond delicious. My mouth and tummy are so happy I can’t even tell you. Best caesar dressing ever, and well, bacon can do no wrong. But it’s totally health food because there are brussels sprouts.


  32. #
    Cate — February 9, 2014 @ 5:07 am

    totally with you on the pickle juice thing! x


  33. #
    Elizabeth — February 9, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

    Thought of you this weekend. I was in a restaurant in Columbus, OH called “Knead” and had their Brussel sprout appetizer. Shaved Brussels fried and mixed with bacon, honey, garlic, and balsamic. Will be attempting to recreate VERY soon!


  34. #
    Caroline — February 10, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

    Made this tonight – delicious! I was seriously craving a burger but convinced myself I should stick to my meal plan and I am so glad I did!! Didn’t even miss the burger. If that’s not an endorsement for a salad I don’t know what is.

    Thank you! Look forward to reading your bloggie erryday.


  35. #
    natalie @ wee eats — February 11, 2014 @ 1:05 pm

    I seriously cannot take my other half to the store with me. I always want him to come like “aw babe, come to the store w me” then if he does come for some reason… i remember why we never go together. It’s just like taking a child to the grocery store except the child has money and can buy whatever they want. Pure. Insanity.


  36. #
    Alyson — February 15, 2014 @ 11:37 am

    So I must admit that everything you makes looks amazing! But not all of it is something my little kids would eat. So I have to live vicariously through you. This recipe sounded a bit bizarre but I had to try it. For some weird reason all of my kids eat brussel sprouts… I ended up making this last week… And OMG was it amazing. Even my VERY picky us and loves it! This will most defiantly be a once a month thing!


  37. #
    Debra W — February 15, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

    This looked tasty when I pinned it a couple weeks ago, finally made it tonight for dinner and it was delicious. Great combination you put together!


  38. #
    Sofia — February 22, 2014 @ 8:59 am

    Hubby made this two nights ago and it was DELICIOUS! Added some chicken to make it a complete meal and couldn’t wait til the next day to enjoy the leftovers! Thanks for another great recipe!


  39. #
    wendy@chezchloe — February 23, 2014 @ 3:49 am

    Bacon is the bomb. We bought a half a pig last summer. I ate high quality farm pork EVERY DAY for months… and my cholesterol is down 50 points (was also eating loads of kimchi). Anyway- I also have jars of rendered leaf lard- and home wet cured bacon- both very good for croutons and much more.
    I’m loving the brussels sprout caesar.


  40. #
    Melissa — March 3, 2014 @ 9:37 am

    Ok, this salad rocked my SOCKS! I had enough brussels left to do the same salad again but it’s day five and even though you said the dressing lasts for 5 days, it makes me nervous bc of the anchovies. They don’t go bad in that length of time? I’m just afraid to food poison myself!


  41. #
    Erica June — March 19, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

    I think I might be obsessed with you. Literally (but in a non-harmful/scary way). The mushroom lasagna. The brussels and bacon skillet. And this? Gawd. Thank you. Signed–your newest fan.



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