11 Delicious Bacon Recipes That Only Sound Expensive

Beloved bacon. We can't get enough of it, can we? The average American eats 18 pounds a year. It has been known to "turn" vegetarians. We love it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; it even shows up now in jam, milkshakes, and cookies. Clearly, we're still obsessed. I know I am, and this video illustrates my feelings when I smell it cooking.

Among its many qualities, bacon:

  • Frequently goes on sale
  • Freezes well
  • Is extremely versatile
  • Is a "meal-stretcher," meaning you don't need to use a lot of it for great flavor.

Below are 11 bacon recipes that sound expensive or fancy, but are actually very down-to-earth and can be modified to fit your budget.

1. You Say Pancetta, I Say Bacon

Actually, HGTV's "The Pioneer Woman" said it for me. Although her recipe lists pancetta, she kindly agreed that you can substitute thinly-sliced bacon in her pasta with pancetta and leeks. And I always have, and it's always great. Leeks are actually the most expensive part of this meal (I priced some yesterday; they were $5.79 per pound), so when I see them on sale, I grab them to make this dish.

2. Even People Who Say They Don't Like Brussels Sprouts...

...Like them when you add bacon. Watch for Brussels sprouts to go on sale, and you'll be ready to make a super-elegant meal. I made this side dish of roasted Brussels sprouts with grapes and walnuts a few years ago while trying out some potential Thanksgiving menus. It made the cut the on the first try, because it's just that delicious. The second time I made it, though, I had this thought: Bacon. My instincts were correct — bacon made it better. Fry three or four slices of bacon, and set aside to drain. Pour most of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving just a "sheen." After removing the roasted sprouts from the oven, toss them into the bacon pan, roll everything around, and proceed to the last step of the recipe. Top with crumbled bacon.

3. Oui, Le Bacon et Merveilleux

Unable to find Reblochon cheese, I looked up substitutes for this tartiflette recipe. Recommended were Brie, Camembert, and fontina. I used Camembert and thought it was delicious. In fact, it is hard to imagine that this bacon, onion, and cheese casserole could taste better had I been able to score the super-fancy cheese. The cheese, at $5.64, was the most expensive part, as I found my bacon and potatoes on sale. Paired with a tossed salad, this made a decadent meal.

4. Mom's Hot Spinach Salad With BACON

Mom loved salads that were also pretty, and this one has bacon so everyone is happy.

  • 1 bag pre-washed spinach
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ½ cups mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup croutons (optional)


  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce

In a large skillet with sides, fry bacon. Set aside to drain. When slightly cooled, crumble bacon. Drain pan, leaving most of the bacon fat. Reheat pan so that bacon fat is hot, and then turn it off. Immediately add the bag of spinach and toss the spinach just a little; it will quickly go limp in the hot fat. Add remaining ingredients, toss; add dressing; toss again. Serve immediately. Good with crusty bread. My dad liked this with a London Broil. That's good of course, but the salad is good on its own, too.

5. Don't Forget the Italians

Got pasta? Spaghetti carbonara sounds, and looks, a lot fancier than it is. In my area, a box of spaghetti noodles can be had, on sale, for less than a dollar. It also calls for a couple of eggs (also inexpensive), a little parsley, garlic, four slices of bacon, and Parmesan. To keep the cost of Parmesan down, I buy the big chunks at Costco and grate myself. I like to toss a cup of frozen peas in with the spaghetti, too, when it's boiling. It just adds more color and some veggies to my meal.

6. What's a Caprese?

Caprese chicken with bacon is another recipe that sounds kind of swanky, but it's really very basic. Caprese refers to the style of Capri, an Italian island. This means, usually, combining tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, salt, and olive oil. Adding bacon takes this to, shall we say, another level. To make this entree for less, buy your chicken breasts in bulk, separate, and freeze to have on hand. This is a nice dinner-party entree with garlic bread and a tossed salad.

7. Party Puffs

Even without fancy pumpernickel party bread, you can still make these bacon cheese puffs. Heck, you can use Wonder Bread, and they will still be scarfed. Let's review the ingredients: bacon, bread, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, green onions, and mustard. Sure, the darker bread looks sporty, but sprinkle those onions on top and you're in business.

8. Paris Sidewalk Cafe

Looking for a light supper idea? Try this frisee salad with warm bacon vinaigrette. Keep costs down by substituting red leaf lettuce. I also like the suggestion to top with a fried egg; this makes the meal slightly more hearty.

9. Martha Stewart Would Be Upset

I'm sure Ms. Stewart would prefer you use Arborio rice in this leek, bacon, and pea risotto, but it can be pricey (see also, leeks, #1 above). I have made this recipe with whatever rice I have around — white, Hawaiian "hapa," brown, sushi rice, whatever. In all honesty, by the time you add leeks, bacon, and put Parmesan on top, nobody cares. It tastes great.

10. Show Off at a Dinner Party

Here's a show-stopper: bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. I just purchased, in bulk, the pork tenderloins at Costco, cut them into smaller sections, wrapped them, and put them into the freezer. By doing so, I figure each loin cost about $4. I plan to pair this with an apple-blue cheese salad and roasted red potatoes.

11. Even Ordinary Lentils Can Be Fancy

Although this recipe calls for green lentils, brown ones work fine. They can become mushy, but I think that is actually a plus, in a soup. Brown lentils are the cheapest of the three (brown, green, or French; red). When I told my husband we we having lentil soup, he gave me one of those looks (you know the one — "Ew, lentils?") but he's a gamer, so he ate it, and he loved it (hello, bacon).

We know bacon isn't "health food," but again, none of the recipes above use a ton of it. So go nuts!

What are your favorite "fancy-but-affordable" recipes featuring bacon? Please share some in comments!

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We love bacon for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here are 11 bacon recipes that sound expensive or fancy, but are actually very down-to-earth and can be modified to fit your budget. | #bacon #baconrecipes #baconmeal

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