The first time we visited Chattanooga, we dined at alleia in Southside (you have to go). We started with the most incredible bacon-wrapped dates and (thinking things could hardly get better) proceeded to this salad. No less than three people had already recommended it to us and it did not disappoint. In fact, these two carnivores savored every last bite and barely restrained ourselves from licking our plates. OVER SALAD! 

This version that we make at home, based on their recipe, is the closest we’ve happily gotten to this amazing salad. I can’t promise we always restrain from licking our plates at home. 

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 3 as a generous side

Salad Ingredients

  • 4 oz of unsmoked bacon, trimmed
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed (save these for another meal), trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1/4 apple (gala or honeycrisp), cut into fine matchsticks
  • 4 oz of parmesan

Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbspn red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 medium red onion, finely diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


Heat grill to 375 degrees.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together dijon, red wine vinegar, red onion, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil slowly, whisking constantly.

Quarter the romaine heads (you can also halve them, but we prefer a stronger grill flavor), drizzle them with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

Place the romaine on the preheated grill until slightly charred, turning occasionally. Remove from grill and transfer to a cutting board. Cut away the still-tough core then chop the remaining romaine parts and place in a mixing bowl. Toss with vinaigrette.

Chop the bacon into small pieces and sprinkle over the romaine. Top salad with the matchstick apples and grate or peel the cheese over this.


  • Instead of bacon, alleia uses a much tastier link 41 guanciale. If you can find it and afford it, give it a go! How to use it: When you add the romaine to the grill, add the guanciale as well and slightly charr. Remove, chop and sprinkle over the salad in the place of bacon.
  • For cheese, alleia uses stagianto, but recommends any firm cheese. We normally have parmesan on hand, so this is our go-to.