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This Summer Salad is loaded with fresh vegetables, crispy bacon, and crunchy fried onions for a light and easy main dish or side dish. It’s dressed with a simple salsa dressing that adds a punch of flavor and creaminess. It’s great for weeknight meals or make it to share at your next BBQ or summer party!

summer salad in bowl

Refreshing Summer Salad Recipe

One of the gazillion things I love about summer is salads! And I don’t mean boring salads – I mean salads loaded with flavors, colors, and textures. This summer salad recipe is just that, and I can’t wait for you to try it!

I call it “summer salad” because it’s pretty much summer in a bowl. It has all kinds of fresh veggies like peppers, zucchini, avocado, and lettuce, plus a creamy salsa dressing to pull it all together. 

Of course, I add some crispy bacon and a crunchy garnish – I love the flavors and texture they add. There’s so much going on in this chopped salad, and all of it works. It makes a great light dinner, side dish, or dish to share at a block party, potluck, or neighborhood BBQs.

It’s an easy salad to adjust, too, depending on what you like in a salad. I have some substitution ideas for you so you can put a spin on it. 

ingredients in summer salad

What’s in a Summer Salad?

  • Plain Greek Yogurt: I prefer using yogurt to mayonnaise because we don’t like mayo. Be sure to use plain yogurt!
  • Salsa: Use your favorite brand (I love Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Salsa). Or make my homemade salsa recipe.
  • Honey: Adds a touch of sweetness to cut the acid.
  • Corn: Canned (drained) or frozen (thawed)
  • Diced zucchini: We love squash in this salad – yellow squash is great too.
  • Diced avocado: Adds a ton of creaminess and flavor.
  • Chopped cooked bacon: Adds crunch and is fantastic paired with the avocado.
  • French’s fried onions: As the crouton garnish. You can use croutons or omit, if you prefer.

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

how to make summer salad dressing

How to make Creamy Salsa Dressing for Summer Salad

  1. Mix the yogurt and salsa in a small bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil and whisk.
  3. Add the red wine vinegar and whisk.
  4. Add the honey and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Whisk to combine – I love making dressing in a jar and shaking it too
  6. Place the romaine lettuce or spring mix in a large serving bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat the lettuce. Add the corn, chopped red bell pepper, zucchini, and bacon on top of the lettuce. Top the salad with diced avocado and sprinkle the fried onions over the top.
bowl with ingredients separated


  • Lettuce: You can use your favorite greens to make this salad. I like sturdier ones like romaine, iceberg, and green leaf lettuce. You can also mix them with spinach, butter lettuce, or other tender greens that you like.
  • Dressing: Instead of using yogurt, you can use sour cream for the dressing. Substitute my homemade pesto for the salsa to make pesto salad dressing!
  • Veggies: Feel free to swap out veggies or add your favorites. Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, chopped celery, grated carrots, and broccoli florets would be good additions.
  • Meat: For extra protein add diced pork, shredded chicken, sliced steak, or shrimp.
  • Garnish: Sometimes, I use tortilla strips or croutons in place of the French’s fried onions.
dressing pouring over salad

How to Store Leftover Salad

A salad with dressing won’t store well because it will get soggy. If you want to save leftovers, don’t toss the lettuce with the dressing and serve it on the side instead. If you have leftover salad, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day or so. Keep the dressing in a separate container.

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • You can make the summer salad dressing ahead and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the salad.
  • You can also prep the peppers, corn, zucchini, and bacon ahead of time. Keep them in separate containers in the refrigerator.
  • I think salads with a variety of textures are the best! If you make substitutions be sure to include crunchy vegetables, creamy dressing, and a crunchy garnish.
salad on plate with fork


Can you make salad ahead of time?

Make the dressing up to 48 hours in advance and shake before tossing salad. You can assemble the lettuce, corn, zucchini and peppers the day before but don’t add the avocado or bacon until ready to serve.

How long does summer salad last?

Once the salad is dressed it should eaten the same day. It will get soggy after about 4-5 hours.

summer salad in bowl

Summer Salad Recipe

5 from 2 votes
This Summer Salad is loaded with fresh vegetables, crispy bacon, and crunchy fried onions for a light and easy main dish or side dish. It’s dressed with a simple salsa dressing that adds a punch of flavor and creaminess.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 2 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


For the Salsa Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup thawed frozen corn or drained canned corn
  • ½ red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small zucchini diced
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 4 slices center cut bacon cooked, drained, and chopped
  • French’s Fried Onions for topping
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  • Mix the yogurt, salsa, vinegar, oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a measuring cup or small bowl container and whisk until combined.
  • Place your chopped lettuce in a salad bowl and toss with dressing.
  • Layer your corn, bell pepper, zucchini, and bacon on top of the lettuce.
  • Dice the avocado and place on top the rest of the ingredients. Garnish with the fried onions.

Recipe Notes

  • For a heartier dish, add chicken, pork, steak or shrimp.
  • Swap Spring Mix for the romaine
  • For a healthier salad, use turkey bacon in place of the regular bacon.
  • Use any veggies you like – you can add cherry tomatoes or use yellow squash or anything you like.
  • Swap tortilla strips or croutons for the fried onions.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 520kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 422mg | Potassium: 1531mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 10050IU | Vitamin C: 90mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Salad
Cuisine American

Summer Salad Recipes

Last Updated on April 30, 2023

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. Hi!
    Just wanted to let you know that I featured you on Savory Sunday this week! Have a great rest of your weekend!! 🙂