entree · Salad

Cowboy Salad

I was tasked recently with coming up with a salad that was hearty enough to satisfy big appetites.

The word “salad” and “hearty” aren’t typically used together in the same sentence. Salads are meant to be light and refreshing, not heavy and hearty.

Regardless, I needed to make something that appealed more to those last two adjectives: heavy and hearty.

One way to make a salad bulkier is to add meat. LOTS of meat. You could add a whole chicken breast, a filet of salmon, or even a steak. For this salad I went for bacon, since its umami flavor adds a lot to envoke heartiness in a meal. On top of that, I went with a good bean option: black-eyed peas. I thought long and hard about using black beans, but went with black-eyed peas instead because they have a bit more flavor.

Instead of shredded cheese, I decided to use cubes of Monterey Jack. The cubes also made this salad seem more heavy, dense, and hearty.

The rest of the salad was dressed with ingredients I thought would go well with the bacon, cheese and black-eyed peas. I added some corn & cherry tomatoes for a touch of sweetness, cucumber for refreshment, red bell pepper & French-fried jalapenos for crunch.

The dressing is a key ingredient. This barbecue-steakhouse-style dressing using mayonnaise as a base with a few other ingredients that allow it to marry well with the other ingredients.

It’s dealer’s choice on what type of greens you want to use as a base. I used plain ol’ iceberg, but I think this salad would have been even better with romaine hearts.


Cowboy Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A hearty salad with bacon, cheese, black-eyed peas and a few other ingredients all topped with a barbecue dressing.


  • 1 (15 oz) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cucumber, cut into slices
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 4 cups chopped iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 TBS. dijon mustard
  • 2 TBS. Worcestershire sauce
  • French-fried jalapenos, for topping
  • Directions

    1. Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and mayonnaise. Stir until smooth and refrigerate until ready to serve.
    2. Build your salad: start with a bed of greens and top with a few spoonfuls of black-eyed peas and corn. Sprinkle bacon, cheese, cucumnber, red pepper and tomatoes on top. Top with dressing and French-fried jalapenos. Makes about 4 large salads.

    2 thoughts on “Cowboy Salad

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