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Family Favorite Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing and Croutons

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 50 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr 20 min
  • Cook: 35 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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1 head butter lettuce, washed, spun dry and torn or cut into bite-size pieces

1/2 head red leaf lettuce, washed, spun dry and torn or cut into bite-size pieces

3/4 cup Ranch Dressing, recipe follows

1 cup Croutons, recipe follows

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in 1/2

2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and flesh diced

2 pieces bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled

Ranch Dressing:

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons freshly chopped chives

2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon garlic paste, (use half of the salt and 5 cloves garlic smashed with the flat side of a knife, to make paste)


1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons garlic paste, (2 cloves garlic smashed with the flat side of a knife and a sprinkle of salt, to make paste)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups cubed stale Italian bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes


  1. In a chilled salad bowl, add the greens and lightly coat the inside of the bowl with Ranch Dressing. Add the Croutons and toss lightly. Garnish with the tomatoes, avocado and bacon, serve immediately.

Ranch Dressing:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients and blend well with fork or stick blender. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the bread, until well combined. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Add in the bread and mix well with your hands, tossing to coat all sides of cubes. Pour out onto a baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.