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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!
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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.
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.
How to make Creamy Salsa Dressing for Summer Salad
- Mix the yogurt and salsa in a small bowl.
- Add the olive oil and whisk.
- Add the red wine vinegar and whisk.
- Add the honey and salt and pepper to taste.
- Whisk to combine – I love making dressing in a jar and shaking it too!
- 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.
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
- 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.
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.
Once the salad is dressed it should eaten the same day. It will get soggy after about 4-5 hours.
Summer Salad Recipe
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
- 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.
- 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.
Last Updated on April 30, 2023