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bandera’s macho salad.

I’m not gunna lie.  This salad is not frugal in cost or calories.  I tried.  Really I did.

But it’s oh so good.

One of our favorite restaurants is Hillstone’s Bandera, where I’m pretty sure every 3rd customer to the restaurant orders the Macho Salad.  There is some lettuce hidden under all those amazing toppings – rotisserie chicken, avocado, dates, almonds, goat cheese, cornbread croutons…and I thought I would try to make it at home and save myself $15.

Here’s what I learned…

This one really was a grand experiment, start to finish.  And ultimately I decided that, with all the extra ingredients, the chopping, the cornbread crouton-making, the shattered glass in my sink (see below) and finally, the calories…it might just be worth heading on over and ordering up a salad for yourself.  Unless you’re not near a Bandera…in which case just go for it and try making it at home.

Can you really ever go wrong with avocado in a recipe?

Here’s what happens when you frantically rush to get dinner on the table.  Not so frugal.  I was almost ready to strap the kids in the car and head to Bandera myself after this smooth move.

But in the end this salad is over the top amazing.  Just trust me.  Ah-mazing.

Bandera’s Macho Salad

(serves 4)

What You’ll Need:

6 cups chopped romaine or butter lettuce

1.5 pounds shredded cooked chicken breast

1 avocado, chopped

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 roma tomatoes, sliced into wedges

1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds

1 cup (or more!) cornbread croutons (cube leftover cornbread, brush with butter or olive oil and bake at 400 until golden)

1 cup corn

16 dates, sliced

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

juice from 1 lemon

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/3 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk together dressing ingredients.  Toss with salad.

TOTAL:  $12.25 or $3.05 per serving.

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


yes, this is a salad and not a hamburger with fries…don’t hate me.

843 calories per serving

57 grams of fat

44 carbs

45 grams protein

10 grams fiber

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Elizabeth #

    Making this As soon as possible….my favorite salad. Thank you for posting this.
    ps. peeked at your shopping guide, you are amazing.

    July 13, 2011
  2. Jeannie #

    You are missing one really important ingredient. Cabbage, that is one of the things that give the salad amazing crunch. There is also no basil in the salad dressing and there is ground red pepper to give the vinaigrette kick.

    October 1, 2011
    • Thank you for the feedback!! I forgot there was cabbage! Do you have a recipe you use?

      October 1, 2011
  3. Lorisa #

    Wow, this really was incredible! Thanks. I passed it on.

    December 6, 2011
    • Lorisa – so glad you enjoyed it! It’s my favorite salad too…pretty splurgy but SO good.

      December 6, 2011
  4. Tessa #

    do you know calorite content of you skipped the croutons and the salad dressing?

    January 22, 2012
    • Can you believe this? By my count you cut out roughly 450 calories, 35 grams of fat and 28 carbs. Isn’t it incredible how much dressing and croutons can affect the nutrition in a salad? Otherwise it’s really a splurge. Have you tried this salad before?

      January 22, 2012
  5. We LOVE Bandera…especially the cocktails 🙂 This is a great salad and it looks like you’ve done a good job of recreating it. Have you ever had their dip duo? I’d do pretty much anything to get my hands on the recipe for that spicy, cheese dip. It’s so addictive!

    February 2, 2012
    • I couldn’t find an exact recipe but I did find the ingredients here: Let me know if you make it – I’d love to know what you think and if it’s close to the real thing! I’ve loved everything I’ve had at Bandera!

      February 2, 2012
      • Thank you! I did that same Google search and saw that but wasn’t sure it looked quite right. I may have to give it a try some time though. We just had an amazing meal at the Bandera in Corona Del Mar on a recent trip down to Southern California. Yum!

        February 21, 2012
  6. Lindsay #

    I’ve been reading your blog – and love the recipes! We ate at Bandera last night and fell in love with the Banana Cream Pie. Do you have the recipe (I don’t want the nutritional information 🙂 )

    February 20, 2012
    • Thanks! Bandera is one of my favorites and that pie is to die for! I don’t actually have the recipe but would be interested in figuring out how to make it at home. I’ll take a look around and maybe will just have to head there for dessert to see if I can recreate it. And, like you, I’d prefer not to have the nutritional information. Ignorance is bliss 🙂

      February 21, 2012

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