When it's just not quite fresh tomato season yet, the trick of barely cooking the tomatoes will make the flavors sing in this Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Avocado Salad. And this amazing salad is low-carb, gluten-free, South Beach Diet friendly, and with approved bacon it's Whole 30 or Paleo.
I bet I'm not the only tomato lover who longs for fresh tomato season and starts buying tomatoes in the store, even when I know they aren't going to be nearly as good as fresh garden tomatoes. Raise your hand if you're also one of those people who crave tomatoes early in the summer.
While nothing can really replace the flavor of a freshly-picked and vine-ripened tomato, if you have tomatoes that are pretty good, you can bump up the flavor a lot by barely cooking them, and that trick of warming up the tomatoes is the secret to the amazing flavor in this Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Avocado Salad. And believe me when I say this salad was just as good as it looks!
And there's a fun story about how I learned this trick of warming the tomatoes. In 2006 when I was a teacher/food blogger, a student gave me The Ultimate Low-Carb Cookbook as a teacher gift, and a recipe in that book is where I learned to add more ripe tomato flavor to tomatoes by warming them. Now the book is so old you can buy it from Amazon for $.01, but I still treasure the memory of what a thoughtful gift that was for a parent to give their child's teacher!
The salad that inspired this one didn't have avocado, and we cut down on the amount of bacon (which you can reduce even more if you want to make the salad even more South Beach Diet friendly). But everything about this salad combination just screams SUMMER, and if you're longing for that fresh tomato flavor, I hope this will help you get through the next few weeks!
Get the washed lettuce, diced tomatoes, and diced avocado ready. Cook the bacon in a frying pan until it's very crisp, drain bacon on paper towels, and blot off the fat.
Divide the lettuce between two serving bowls, break bacon into pieces, and sprinkle over the lettuce. Remove all but two teaspoons of the bacon fat and add olive oil; heat the oil, and cook tomatoes just one minute. Then add the vinegar, stir once, and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Pour tomatoes over the salad, and sprinkle diced avocado over the top.
Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Avocado Salad
(Makes 2 generous-sized salads. Recipe inspired by a salad in The Ultimate Low-Carb Cookbook that I got as a teacher gift back in 2006!)
3-4 handfuls chopped romaine lettuce
4 small tomatoes, diced in 2" pieces (or use cherry tomatoes cut in half)
1 avocado, diced
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
3-4 slices bacon, cooked very crisp then crumbled
1 T olive oil (or slightly more if you want to use less bacon fat)
1/4 tsp. garlic puree or 1 garlic clove diced very small
two grinds fresh ground pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Tear up the lettuce and wash and spin dry in a salad spinner; then divide between two salad bowls. Cut up the tomatoes and dice the avocado; then toss the avocado with the fresh lime juice.
Cook bacon in non-stick frying pan until it's very crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels, blotting off fat. Remove all but 2 teaspoons bacon fat from frying pan. Crumble bacon over lettuce in salad bowls.
Add olive oil and heat for 30 seconds over medium high heat. Add tomatoes and saute one minute. Turn heat down to low, add garlic and black pepper, and cook 30 seconds more. Add vinegar, stir to coat tomatoes, and immediately remove pan from heat. Pour tomato mixture over lettuce and top with diced avocados. Season with salt and more pepper as desired, and serve right away.
South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
The South Beach Diet doesn't recommend bacon due to the saturated fat, but when it's tomato season I sometimes just NEED a little bacon in my life. You can certainly use less bacon or use turkey bacon if you prefer. This salad is very low in carbs, and should be approved for most low-carb diet plans, even Paleo or Whole 30 if you get bacon without added sugar.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn's Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I'm sharing there.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you're a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More Salads with Tomatoes and Avocados:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet or Low-Carb friendly; check ingredients.)
Vegan Tomato Salad with Cucumber, Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Olives and Avocado Salad with Tomatoes and Feta ~ Diethood
Tomato, Avocado, and Feta Salad with Tahini-Balsamic Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)