I would like to thank the inventor of the chopped salad, then double thank the inventor of the BLT. We’re combining both works of genius into a big, beautiful salad today: BLT Chopped Salad with feta and corn!
It’s super summery, creamy and crunchy, and, unlike just about every salad I’ve ever ordered in a restaurant, blessedly low maintenance to munch.
This BLT chopped salad was made for ease.
The colorful array of beautiful tomatoes, kale, and bacon (!!) are cut to a manageable size, and the even distribution of ingredients ensures that you get a little bit of everything with each bite. Like a BLT but without the bread.
A shower of creamy, salty feta and golden corn take this from a basic BLT salad to one that you will want to eat on repeat.
Chopped salads are special because of their presentation. All of the ingredients are chopped into small, bite-sized pieces, allowing you to enjoy all the flavors at once.
You may be familiar with chopped salad restaurant-style, which typically isn’t a highly nutritious choice.
However, when wholesome, nutritious ingredients are used (as they are in this version), chopped salads are healthy. This Italian Chopped Salad is another one of my favorites.
Whether you need a dish for a summer cookout or are looking for some lunch or light dinner inspiration, this BLT chopped salad does not disappoint.
It’s a classic with a twist that’s sure to please a crowd.
How to Make the Best Kale Chopped Salad
For this BLT-inspired salad recipe, I swapped the classic butter lettuce for heartier kale, which not only can better hold up to the “chop” (butter lettuce tends to become mushy and watery when cut and tossed), but also actually tastes better after it’s sliced.
If your experience of kale salads thus far is best summarized by piles of tough, overpowering greens that feel more like a workout for your jaw than an enjoyable meal, I understand.
I am also determined to change your mind.
- The secret to perfect kale: massage it. If you finely chop the kale, then spend a few minutes gently squeezing it with your hands, the kale becomes more tender, and its flavor mellows into something that’s not just pleasant—it’s delicious. As a bonus, you will feel super-duper healthy and empowered after you eat it too.
- See this Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad post for more tips on massaging your kale.
OK, now that we’ve covered the “L” (er, K) portion of this BLT chopped salad rather exhaustively (I’ve convinced you to try it with kale, right?), let’s move along to the “B” and “T.”
The Sandwich-Inspired BLT Chopped Salad
With just a handful of simple ingredients and easy prep, this chopped salad is ideal for any day of the week.
- Kale. I love using kale in salads because it’s hearty enough to last in my refrigerator for days. You can prep a big kale salad on the weekend and eat it for quick, healthy lunches all week long. Plus, kale is rich in fiber and antioxidants (see more kale health benefits here).
- Bacon. The “B” of BLT might as well stand for “Best Thing in Life.” Thick, crispy bacon is the heart of a BLT. Buy the good stuff, and then make Oven Baked Bacon. It’s worth it!
- Tomatoes. For the “T,” I added plump cherry tomatoes for freshness, along with a handful of sun-dried tomatoes for their rich, concentrated flavor. The fresh tomatoes are the staple, but it’s the sun-dried ones that make the salad taste special and almost give it an Italian chopped salad flair.
- Corn. For color and delightfully sweet flavor. The corn makes the salad extra fresh and summery. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn here.
- Feta. A shower of creamy, salty feta over the top makes the BLT salad taste complete.
- Green Onion. Green or red onion adds beautiful color and crunch.
- Chopped Salad Dressing. A little lime juice, olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt is all you’ll need, and it’s DELISH!
- Bake the bacon at 400 degrees F, then chop it.
- Rehydrate the sun-dried tomatoes and massage the kale.
- Put the salad ingredients together in a big bowl.
- Stir the dressing together. Pour it over the salad, toss to combine. DIG IN!
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead for Meal Prep. I love making little chopped salad kits and enjoying them for healthy lunches and dinners throughout the week. Prepare the dressing, and store it in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cook and chop the bacon, and store it in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Portion the massaged kale, tomatoes, and corn into small airtight storage containers, and store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Top each portion with dressing, bacon, feta, and onion just before serving.
- To Store Leftovers. Store leftovers in an airtight container (or a bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap) in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (you can store the salad dressed or undressed). Before serving, toss with a little extra lime juice and a pinch of salt.
More Crowd-Pleasing Salad Recipes
- Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Healthy Taco Salad
- Italian Farro Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
Recommended Tools to Make Chopped Salad
- Storage Containers. My favorite way to prep and store salads ahead of time.
- Citrus Juicer. This tool has become essential for juicing limes and lemons.
- Sharp Chef’s Knife. Chop all your salad ingredients with ease.
This healthy BLT chopped salad is ready to be your new favorite easy lunch, light dinner, or crowd-pleasing cookout contribution. Whatever the occasion, I know this salad will be something you want to make again and again!
BLT Chopped Salad
For the BLT Chopped Salad:
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon about 9 ounces
- 1/2 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes not the kind packed in oil
- 8 cups kale tough stems removed and chopped (about 14 to 16 ounces with stems or 8 ounces without)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 1/2 cups sweet corn kernels fresh, frozen and thawed, or drained from a can
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green or red onion
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice from about 2 medium limes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the bacon according to these directions for Baked Bacon. Once cooked, remove to a plate and pat dry. Let cool, then chop.
- Meanwhile, place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Top with very hot water and let sit for a few minutes to rehydrate while you prepare the other ingredients. Drain and pat dry.
- Place the chopped kale in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Massage with your hands by grabbing large handfuls a few at a time and squeezing gently until the kale is darker in color and more fragrant (this step makes the kale more tender and less bitter in taste—don’t skip it!).
- Add the drained sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, corn, bacon, feta, and green onion.
- Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl or large measuring cup, stir together the lime juice, olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt. Drizzle over the salad and toss to coat. If time allows, let rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or serve immediately.
- TO STORE: Store leftovers in an airtight container (or a bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap) in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Before serving, toss with a little extra lime juice and pinch of salt.
- For faster prep, chop and prep the kale and other salad ingredients while the bacon bakes.
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