Various sources credit the early fame of the wedge salad to diners in the 1950s and 1960s. Its appeal waned in the 1970s as consumer preference shifted towards newer, more interesting salad combinations. The wedge, however, has made a comeback and is now as likely to appear on a steakhouse menu as it is on that of the latest hot spot.
Of course, in a day and age where dark, leafy greens are touted as super foods brimming with disease-fighting properties, iceberg lettuce is commonly viewed as subpar. While many greens do supply more nutrients, iceberg is, in fact, a good source of vitamins A and K. And while greens like kale and arugula may be trendier, iceberg’s hearty crunch and high water content provide a lot of satisfaction at just 20 calories per two-cup serving.
Though the wedge in all its glory may taste divine, any salad that is smothered in blue cheese dressing and bacon will likely come up short in overall health appeal. So to turn my husband’s favorite salad into something we can easily and frequently enjoy at home, I created a complete meal based on this once ubiquitous diner offering.
This new meal is actually the merging of two diner favorites thanks to the addition of a hamburger. The savory, hot-off-the-grill burger boosts the interplay of texture, temperature and flavor for which the classic wedge is known. And it’s easy.
The thick, flavorful dressing tastes just like typical restaurant versions but with a fraction of the saturated fat. In this healthier recipe, the blue cheese carries the flavor, as it should, while Greek yogurt supplies the dressing’s thick, smooth texture and characteristic tang.
For those who don’t care for blue cheese, ranch dressing is a worthy substitute (I have a homemade version on my blog, if interested). If you wish to add some form of cheese in this case, try a sprinkle of grated sharp cheddar.
So simple yet so good, my family gives high marks to this fun meal. Of course, the first time I served it, I fully expected at least one person to request ketchup or a bun. I mean, a bunch of boys sitting down to a burger perched atop lettuce? You just never know!
(New & Improved!) Greeked-Out Gorgonzola Dressing — thick and delicious yet healthy
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I like ground chuck/80% lean)
- Montreal steak seasoning or salt and pepper
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into 4 thick slices (see notes*)
- Blue cheese dressing (or my Greeked Out Gorgonzola recipe )
- 1 tomato, diced, or one cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 green onions, sliced, or 1/4 cup chopped or slivered red onion
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese**
- 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- Optional: chopped avocado
Loosely shape the ground beef into 4 burgers, each about 3/4-inch thick, and sprinkle both sides with Montreal Steak Seasoning or salt and pepper. (Tip: Using your thumb, make a depression in the center of each hamburger for more even cooking.)
Cook the burgers on a grill preheated to high heat (you may also use a grill pan or skillet). Cook for 3 minutes, flip, and then cook for approximately 3 minutes more for medium-rare, 4 minutes more for medium.
On each salad plate, place a portion of the lettuce. Drizzle some of the dressing over the top, and then top with one of the burgers. Sprinkle with the tomatoes, onions, crumbled blue cheese, crumbled bacon, and optional avocado. Serve with additional dressing, as desired.
- *You may cut the lettuce into more traditional wedges, but thick slices create a flat surface on which to place the burger and make the salad easier to eat. As an option to the iceberg lettuce, two hearts of romaine may be used. Slice them lengthwise.
- ** Check the blue cheese label if a gluten-free product is required. Some pre-crumbled varieties are not gluten-free.