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Smoky Bacon and Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Lisa Lotts

Smoky Bacon and Black-Eyed Pea Salad


8 bold, hearty salads that are more than just side dishes

Healthy (or healthy-ish), flavorful, and cooked in a flash, salads are easily one of the most diverse and versatile types of dishes you can make — so why not make a meal out of them? 

Here are 8 recipes that will leave you full and still relatively guilt-free. 

Smoky Bacon and Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Who says bacon takes away the health value of a salad? A combination of that most-loved of pork products, black-eyed peas, peppers, red onions and celery makes this crunchy salad hearty yet still jam-packed with vegetables. You can serve the dish right after assembling, but if you have a little time, let it rest in the fridge to let all of the flavors settle in nicely. 
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Smoked Trout Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
The scallions, parsley and cucumber add depth and splash of color to a classic dressing that pairs perfectly with rich, smoky trout, mild potatoes and sweet pickled onions. While you can certainly smoke your own trout for this salad, you can find good-quality smoked trout in your local supermarket, making this an ultra-easy weeknight dinner.
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Fall Harvest Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
This recipe uses mirlitons, a uniquely Southern member of the squash family that has a subtle and a nice crunch. Add in roasted butternut squash and a piquant, mustardy viniagrette, and you'll have a salad worth passing around the table all season long. Don't like (or can't find) any of the ingredients? This salad is highly adaptable to just about any seasonal vegetable you find in the produce section.
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Grilled Eggplant and Summer Fig Salad
Using a grill to cook the eggplant adds a smoky char that helps to highlight the sweetness of the figs. The peppery arugula and creamy ricotta balance all of the ingredients together into a tasty, harmonious bite.
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Shaved Zucchini and Toasted Corn Salad
Perfect for anytime you’re craving sweet summer produce, this light and vibrant salad gets a fragrant note from herbaceous basil, plus crunchy pecans and salty Parmigiano-Reggiano. For best results, use a y-shaped peeler so you get beautiful wide ribbons with the most surface-to-flavor ratio.
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Summer Stone Fruit Salad with Blue Cheese and Pecans
Fragrant, nutty pecans and sweet ripe stone fruit meet in this satisfying salad that's perfect for a light lunch or part of a no-fuss weeknight dinner. When looking for the perfect stone fruit to pair with pecans, look for  darker varieties, which will often be sweeter than their tart red counterparts. 
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Grilled Kabocha Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
A tasty way to incorporate winter squash into your salad routine is to throw thick slabs of roasted kabocha squash on the grill before tossing it with greens, goat cheese and toasted pepitas. The smoky flavor of the squash pairs beautifully with a maple vinaigrette. Who says you can't have a little sweetness in your salad? 
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Peach Caprese Salad
This traditional caprese salad gets a Southern twist by swapping out tomatoes for slices of sweet, ripe peaches. Perfect for a satisfying lunch or light dinner, you can also make this salad party-style by cutting each ingredient into bite-sized pieces, stacking them on a festive skewer, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 
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Photo credit (Smoked Trout Salad with Green Goddess Dressing, Grilled Eggplant and Summer Fig Salad, Shaved Zucchini and Toasted Corn Salad, Summer Stone Fruit Salad with Blue Cheese and Pecans, Peach Caprese Salad): Lauren Booker
Photo credit (Fall Harvest Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette): Ramona King 
Photo credit (Grilled Kabocha Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette): Maura Friedman

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Dena Rayess is a recipe editor and cookbook author based in San Francisco. She enjoys exploring new foodways in and around the Bay Area and beyond, and has been known to whip up a mean house cocktail at dinner parties.