Recipe: Frisée Salad with Parmesan Cheese, Pancetta, and Castelvetrano Olives

I made this salad on repeat over the weekend, and as soon as I did, I couldn’t wait to jump onto the blog and share the recipe with you all.  You guys, this salad is really delicious.  Think if carbonara or cacio e pepe reincarnated in salad form.  It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, it’s savory, and it feels so deluxe when you’re eating it.  This is the salad I want to eat to kick of 2022, and I’m hoping you feel the same!

I used frisée for this salad, mostly because we are harvesting beautiful, giant heads of it out of the garden on a weekly basis.  Frisée is a slightly heartier lettuce, and I feel like it holds up to all of the toppings and add-ins in this salad quite well.  However, if you don’t have a full head of frisée on hand or can’t find it in the store, feel free to sub out with any of your favorite salad greens.  It will all work and it will all taste delicious, so use what you have and run with this recipe!

For the dressing portion, I used my current dressing obsession, Trader Joe’s Vegan Creamy Dill Dressing.  I like that it’s creamy while staying super light, and adds additional veggies to the salad through the use of cauliflower in the dressing.  Again, if you don’t have this dressing on-hand, feel free to sub for your favorite creamy dressing here, either home-made or store-bought will do just fine.  I would stay somewhat in the Ranch flavor profile if making any swaps for the dressing, just to match what I am going for here in my recipe.  The added parmesan cheese is a definite must and should not be skipped, as it will help really dress this salad up to feeling ultra-dressed and satisfying, regardless of the dressing you use.

So, with those subs in mind, let’s make a big plate of salad!  This recipe makes enough for 2 big servings (one serving pictured above), or enough for 4 big side salads.  Recipe down below, photo up top!

Frisée Salad with Parmesan Cheese, Pancetta, and Castelvetrano Olives

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups frisée lettuce, torn into bite-sized chunks
  • ½ cup cubed pancetta
  • ½ cup Castelvetrano Olives, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup Trader Joe’s Vegan Creamy Dill Dressing
    • Swap with any favorite creamy dressing of choice
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Thoroughly wash and dry the frisée lettuce, and tear into bite-sized pieces (about 1-2 inch pieces).  Place cleaned lettuce into a big bowl (allow plenty of room for tossing).
  2. Place the pancetta into a small sauté pan, and cook over medium heat until the fat has fully rendered out of the pancetta and the cubes become slightly browned and crispy (about 10 minutes).  Once the pancetta is cooked through, use tongs to move the pancetta pieces to a paper towel to drain.  Allow to drain and cool slightly (about 2 minutes), and then add the pancetta pieces to the bowl with the frisée.
  3. Roughly chop the Castelvetrano olives (and remove any pits, if needed).  Olives should be chopped into rough quarters or so in size.  Once the olives have been roughly chopped, add them to the bowl with the frisée and pancetta.
  4. Pour the dressing over the frisée, and add the black pepper. Using a fine microplane grater (or small holes on a cheese grater), grate the parmesan cheese into the bowl over the frisée.
  5. Using tongs or your hands, toss the salad until everything is fully coated in the dressing and parmesan cheese. 
  6. Serve up a nice big serving, making sure you get plenty of olives and pancetta per bite (sometimes they migrate toward the bottom of the bowl during tossing).  Grab a fork and enjoy!

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