So Happy New Year’s, everyone! I can’t believe it’s New Year’s Eve, already! So what do you do for New Year’s Eve? Me, I’m kind of an old curmudgeon. I mean back in the day I’d go out with the girls but these days I’m usually perfectly happy to stay in, stay warm & safe and maybe stay up till midnight.
Besides, that gives me a chance to say, curmudgeon, a word that sounds so much more fun than it is. It also gives me a chance to have a nice dinner, maybe a Steakhouse dinner…and what’s better with a steak besides a big wedge salad? And this particular salad, the Copycat Outback Steakhouse Salad is pretty much the pinnacle of Steakhouse Salad.
About Copycat Outback Steakhouse Salad:
First, there’s the crunchy, cool iceberg. I know over the years Iceberg has gotten a bad rap, but there are some times it just HAS to be iceberg and this is one of those times! Drizzled over that salad is a gorgeous Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing. It really is something special. And I do have what I call a Serious Bleu Cheese on my site, already (actually with another wedge salad, one that’s a bit plainer) but this Creamy Bleu Cheese is just delish and I think will appeal to just about anyone. This is the dressing that’s going to make you kick Ranch to the curb.
But on top of that Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing is bacon. A good amount of bacon, as much as you want (coz you’re making it at home and you can). Then a little thinly sliced red onion for a bit of a bite. Sprinkle your salad with cherry tomatoes if you want this salad to be an exact clone of Outback’s, sliced, so they don’t roll around on the plate, or chunks of tomato if that’s all that’s good at the store. Now right there is a salad fit for king (or a queen) but wait – there’s more.
Just when you think that Copycat Outback Steakhouse Salad is the pinnacle of perfection, the salad to rule all salads, you’re going to take a Balsamic Vinaigrette and drizzle that all over the salad. Not too much, obs, because that reduction is a real deal flavor bomb. It’s quick & easy to make, too, and I just happened to post the recipe out earlier today for my Simple Balsamic Reduction. Hmmm…it’s like I’m psychic or something…I knew you’d want it!
Making Copycat Outback Steakhouse Salad:
As far as salads go, this extravaganza really isn’t too complicated to make. Yeah, there are TWO homemade dressings, the Creamy Bleu Cheese and the Simple Balsamic Reduction, but both are pretty easy and quick to make. That’s offset, though, by how few ingredients are in the rest of the salad.
Do allow yourself a bit of time, though. The Simple Balsamic Reduction needs to simmer and should be cooled to room temperature, the Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing improves a bit as it sits, and then, of course, you have to cook the bacon.
While I might consider shortcutting this salad with a storebought Balsamic Reduction (if I just weren’t too darned cheap to buy it) you’ll want to make this homemade Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing. Nothing you can buy for any price is going to compare to a homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing. If you love love love Bleu Cheese, add to your taste, the best one you can get. If you’re on the fence, look for a milder Bleu Cheese and just don’t use too much. I picked up a Bleu Cheese at Aldi that I thought was lovely and creamy and just perfect in this dressing. Now THAT was a surprise! You just never know what you’ll find at Aldi.
Saving Money on Copycat Outback Steakhouse Salad:
Blue Cheese is one of those items that can be picked up on the cheap or you can go as high end as you wish. Do try to avoid those Blue Cheese Crumbles that are sold prepackaged at the store. They’re amazingly expensive when priced out by the pound. Look for a smaller package of Bleu Cheese – you’ll want about 2 1/2 ounces for the dressing and you’ll crumble the rest over the salad. I was surprised to find a nice, mild, creamy Blue Cheese at Aldi. Trader Joes is a great place to check for a Bleu Cheese that’s a little higher end.
Bacon is another potentially pricey item. I’d rather have this salad with the standard bacon over a thick cut; it just crumbles and eats better, so bonus there. Aldi, since I’ve already mentioned it, has three or four types of bacon: A turkey bacon, a thick cut and then two grades of standard bacon (16 slices to a pound.) The cheapest is not very good for eating; it’s badly sliced but it would be fine for crumbles. I usually buy bacon around any holiday when it is so often at a low. Watch those sales and chuck it in the freezer.
Tomatoes this time of year (winter) can be really iffy in both price and quality. I spotted some the other day that were a dollar more per pound than the chuck roast on special! Obviously, you’ll want to choose the best looking ones you can but you might have to do what I did here and chunk up tomatoes rather than use the cherry tomatoes as Outback does.
What Else to Serve With Your Copycat Outback Steakhouse Salad:
I love making special dinners that mimic those you can find at restaurants and even if they aren’t always the cheapest thing to make, they’re frugal in the sense that you save a ton of money cooking at home over eating out. I’d serve this salad as a main dish or as a starter to a fancy steak meal.
I noticed that two of the top trending recipes on my site are my Ruth Chris’ Au Gratin Potatoes & my Steakhouse Mushrooms. So isn’t it fun that you can have Outback’s Salad, the pinnacle of wedge salads and Ruth Chris’ Potatoes, which are really the best potato dish I’ve ever had? These potatoes are just blowing up on Pinterest!
Now, all you need is the steak! Luckily, there are a couple of Budget friendly ones on my site, under my Beef Entrees and Meals menu. And for dessert? I mean ya just gotta have Chocolate Lava Cake. It’s too cliche not to have! Or maybe you’d like to look at what I call my Special Occasion Desserts? And whatever you serve, whatever you do, Happy New Years!
Copycat Outback Steakhouse Salad
For the Salad:
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce, cored, trimmed of any loose leaves and cut in quarters
- 1/4 pound or more bacon, cut into dice, cooked and drained
- 1 recipe Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing, below
- 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 package of cherry tomatoes, halved or 2 to 3 whole tomatoes, chunked
- 1 recipe Simple Balsamic Reduction
- Bleu cheese crumbles
Add a wedge of iceberg to each of 4 chilled plates. Cook bacon. Drizzle the iceberg with a generous amount of Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing. Sprinkle with bacon, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with a little Balsamic Reduction. Sprinkle with Bleu Cheese crumbles. Pass with any remaining dressing, if desired.
Creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing:
- 2 1/2 ounces Bleu Cheese, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk (plain milk is fine)
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt & pepper to taste
Mash Blue Cheese with buttermilk until desired consistency. Add rest of ingredients and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and refrigerate. Best if sits for at least 30 minutes, better after an hour. Stores well, covered in the fridge for up to two weeks.
I’ll be bringing Copycat Outback Steakhouse Salad to Fiesta Friday # 256, hosted this week by Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons and Moi! That’s right, I’ll be stopping by and visiting all the wonderful bloggers who took a few minutes to join in. Maybe they’ll be some party recipes!! Happy Happy New Year’s, everyone!