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Garden Fresh Wilted Lettuce Recipe

Salad greens wilted in a hot vinegar and bacon dressing. Wilted lettuce is the perfect accompaniment for steak!

Our standard side dish and vegetable for grilled steak in the summer is a garden fresh Wilted Lettuce.

Serving a steak without Wilted Lettuce is a crime in our home.

This salad is literally dripping with a sweet and tangy, vinegar and bacon grease dressing. Even my children who are often less than enthusiastic about a salad squeal with delight when they find out I’m serving it. They all beg for seconds. And my forkful of ribeye begs to be dipped in the leftover puddles of dressing.

Wilted Lettuce is quite delicious and very simple to make… the best part is the minimal chopping. Tossing together a traditional garden salad can feel pretty tedious to me. Maybe it’s because our salads need to be so big (serving 10 daily). But Wilted Lettuce is fairly effortless in comparison to chopping all of the vegetables that go into a traditional salad.

I make collecting the bacon grease a piece of cake. In fact, let’s just take a break in our work of Salad Description and talk about cooking bacon. It’s coming complete with a confession.

I never, well hardly ever, cook bacon in a skillet. And when I do I’m reminded every time of why I don’t. I hate the mess, the splattering grease, and to be honest, I don’t think it tastes as good. Cooking bacon my way in the oven and you get perfect, evenly cooked bacon. And if you’re raising your own pork, curing and smoking your own bacon, you don’t want to mess up the last step in the months of work that it took to get you here!

Simply cook the bacon on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or so. It’s perfect!

Now, back to the salad. After cooking the bacon in the oven you will have all the drippings drained away into the tray. You can easily pour into the vinegar dressings mix. While the bacon cooking down into crispy goodness, tear the lettuce and slice the onion. The dressing mixes up in a minute. Easy, yet gourmet!

Salad greens wilted in a hot vinegar and bacon dressing. Garden Fresh Wilted lettuce is the perfect accompaniment for steak!

The point is, regardless of what you’re grilling, Wilted Lettuce is begging to be on the menu as your side dish!

Wilted Lettuce

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Garden Fresh Wilted Lettuce

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Salad greens wilted in a hot vinegar and bacon dressing. Wilted lettuce is the perfect accompaniment for steak!


  • 6 slices bacon (or more to taste)
  • 1 head lettuce, shredded
  • desired amount of onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar


  1. Cook the bacon, reserving the drippings.
  2. Crumble and toss with lettuce and onion.
  3. While the drippings are still warm add the vinegar, salt, and sugar. (Friendly Warning: Don’t hover over the pan for this step, the vinegar will heavily simmer and the smell burns your nose!)
  4. Simmer to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Pour down over the salad. Toss and serve warm.
  • Author: Reformation Acres


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  1. This does sound really good. We all love salad, the kids included. And I am sure they would love this one too.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I like the simple prep. I thought you might want to share something tasty with my readers. I am doing a new linky, Friday Feasts, on Momtrends.

  3. Thanks for posting this, it’s one of my favorites too! My Grandmother made greens beans with the same recipe.
    Claudia at Claudia’s Irish Eyes

  4. This recipe is similar to the warm spinach salad I like so much. I’ll definitely be giving this one a try! Thanks for posting it!

  5. This is funny but my hubby and I were talking about Wilted Lettuce just last night. We both grew up on it and then, when we stopped eating grease, we stopped our wonderful salad. I had almost forgotten about it….I don’t think it would hurt us if we just did it a few times. Thanks for reminding me of it…it has always been one of my favorite things!
    xo bj

  6. Yum! I haven’t had wilted lettuce salad in years. Thanks for the reminder…think I’ll treat my family this weekend!

  7. Now that salad looks simple enough and really tasty!! Thanks for sharing this one with us. Stop by and visit my food post; if you like what you see, click on the “Follow” button on the right. Also, think about placing my boutique button on your site for easy access. It’s the Gold Frame on the top right side that has porcelain roses. Should you want me to add you to my Food Blog list, just leave me a message.

  8. I didn’t know that there was a “real” recipe for wilted lettuce, a spring only favorite here. For we use garden leaf lettuce, scallions from the garden (or farmer’s market), and sliced garden (or farmer’s market radishes). But it is the BEST with steak. Love the bacon flavor and the sweet sour of this salad. It is yummy!

  9. I’m always looking for another way to do lettuce! This sounds great and your husband sounds like a sweetie!

  10. I’ve read about wilted lettuce with bacon drippings before, but I’ve never seen a recipe for it. This sounds much more appetizing than what I had pictured 🙂

  11. Hmmmm…. I am intrigued! Sounds like the perfect Southern salad. In the South every thing is done with bacon drippings, but I have to say that I have never had it on salad. Thanks for sharing.

  12. love wilted lettuce never thought about making it with iceberg though since I always use leaf lettuce from garden thank for broadning my horizon

  13. LOL Sorry Melissa! This recipe is supposed to wilt your lettuce ON PURPOSE. (Crazy, I know.) Actually, I can’t get mine to “wilt” like I remember from my youth. I think I like it like that though 🙂

  14. LOL When I clicked on the link, I thought I’d find a way to use lettuce that wilted because it’s been in the refrigerator too long. Your recipe is much better than that! 🙂