Summer Veggie Chopped Salad

published Aug 18, 2021
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Summer Veggie Chopped Salad Recipe

A simple summer salad with tomatoes, corn, bacon, mozzarella cheese balls, arugula, basil, and a simple lemon vinagrette.

Serves4

Prep20 minutes

Cook11 minutes to 13 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Sweet summer corn, ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil are a match made in heaven, and this salad takes full advantage of their magic. The three combine with mozzarella pearls, peppery arugula, radishes, and crisp bacon to create a summery, veggie-packed meal that even self-proclaimed “salad haters” would love. Think of it as the summertime version of a BLT in salad form. What could be better than that?

It’s All About the Tangy Lemon Vinaigrette

This salad gets tossed in a zingy lemon dressing that doesn’t play by the rules. While most vinaigrettes stick to a three-to-one ratio of oil to acid, this recipe ups the acid and uses 1/3 cup lemon juice to only 1/4 cup olive oil. This makes the dressing super bright and tart, helping cut through the sweetness of the summer corn and tomatoes and balance everything out.

If you’re looking to save time and want to start with store-bought dressing, stick to something tart and acidic and avoid anything sweet or creamy. The salad benefits from a pop of freshness, so you want it to be bold.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Prep This Salad Ahead of Time

The thing I love best about this salad is that it holds up well in the fridge. To keep the greens fresh and crisp for several days, I layer the heavier components — the corn, tomatoes, bacon bits, radishes, and tomatoes — into the meal prep containers, then finish each one with the greens. When I’m ready to eat, I add the dressing, pop the lid back on, and give it a good shake to mix everything up. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind.

1. Dry the greens well. After you wash your basil and arugula, make sure to dry them thoroughly (here’s the best method). Excess moisture can cause them to spoil quickly and wilt.
2. If you have room in your fridge, store the prepped salads in the crisper drawer. Crisper drawers have a different humidity level than the rest of the fridge and can help keep veggies fresh. If you have room, take advantage of it and store your salads in it.
3. Don’t crush the greens. Use meal prep containers that are large enough to pop a lid on without crushing the greens.

Summer Veggie Chopped Salad Recipe

A simple summer salad with tomatoes, corn, bacon, mozzarella cheese balls, arugula, basil, and a simple lemon vinagrette.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 11 minutes to 13 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium lemons

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1/2 bunch

    fresh chives

  • 2 tablespoons

    honey

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12 ounces

    sliced bacon (about 9 regular or 6 thick-cut slices)

  • 4 ears

    fresh corn

  • 1 pint

    cherry or grape tomatoes (about 11 ounces)

  • 1 bunch

    radishes

  • 8 ounces

    ciliegine (mini cherry-size mozzarella cheese balls)

  • 1 large bunch

    fresh basil (optional)

  • 2 ounces

    baby arugula (2 packed cups)

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing: Prepare the following, adding each to a medium bowl as you complete them: Juice 2 medium lemons until you have 1/3 cup juice, mince 2 garlic cloves (about 1 teaspoon), and finely chop 1/2 bunch fresh chives until you have 3 tablespoons.

  2. Add 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and whisk until combined.

  3. Make the salad: Cut 12 ounces sliced bacon (about 9 regular or 6 thick-cut slices) crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces (about 2 cups). Place in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until crispy and browned, 11 to 13 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon onto a paper towel-lined plate.

  4. Prepare the following, adding them all to a large bowl as you complete them: Shuck 4 ears corn and cut the kernels off (about 3 1/4 cups), halve (or quarter if large) 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 cups), trim the greens from 1 bunch radishes and then slice the radishes into thin rounds with a mandoline or sharp knife (about 1 1/4 cups), and halve 8 ounces ciliegine (about 1 1/2 cups). Add the cooled bacon and toss to combine. Taste and season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

  5. Pick the leaves from 1 large bunch basil if desired (about 1 1/2 packed cups) and tear into large pieces (skip tearing the basil if not eating immediately). Place in a medium bowl, add 2 cups packed baby arugula, and toss to combine.

  6. Assemble or pack 4 salads: Pack 4 individual salads in quart-sized or larger resealable containers: For each one, start with 1 3/4 cups of the corn mixture, then top with 3/4 cup of the arugula mixture. Portion out 3 tablespoons dressing in a small container. Refrigerate the salad and dressing until ready to eat. (You can also eat immediately by assembling in individual bowls.)

  7. To serve, shake or stir the dressing. Drizzle onto the salad (tear the basil into bite-sized pieces first if needed) and toss (or shake if there’s room in the container) to combine. Taste and season with salt, pepper, or more dressing as needed.

Recipe Notes

Ciliegine Substitution: If unavailable, use an 8-ounce ball of fresh mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes instead.

Make ahead: The dressing can be made up to 4 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Vegetarian version: To make this salad vegetarian, omit the bacon.

Storage: The salads can be refrigerated undressed in airtight containers for up to 4 days.