Loaded Cowboy Salad is the ULTIMATE side dish for BBQs. It’s easy to throw together with greens, corn, bacon, cheese, beans veggies and a BBQ ranch dressing!

Cowboy salad in a serving bowl. A special dressing is being poured over the chopped onions, tomatoes, bacon, avocados, beans and lettuce.

I love salads so much!!! I always get a little sly grin on my face when people tease me at a restaurant for ordering salad. I know they think I’m being healthy, but it’s really that I have this thing for salads!

The bigger the salad, the more mix-ins the better. All of that variety, crunchy, creamy, sweet and salty, mmmm I can’t get enough!

And truth be told, salads aren’t always healthy anyway. Ummmm ever heard of a salad with fried chicken?

Cowboy salad that is all mixed up and ready to eat. There are sliced cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocados, corn, beans, red onions, shredded cheese and green lettuce.

Loaded Cowboy Salad

This is our loaded cowboy salad which is based off of our Cowboy Caviar. It’s a popular dip for chips, similar to a salsa and now it’s in this delicious salad.

I always fret a bit when asked to bring a salad to something. I’m a little picky about that, I want to bring something dang good. It’s why every year a new salad arrives on the site like, Caprese Salad,  Elote Salad, Broccoli Salad, how to make the best macaroni salad, etc etc all King and I style.

I’m still shocked when people haven’t seen that movie. Where have you people been living?

Oh, at home. All the time at home. Quarantine. 🙄

Sections of chopped tomatoes, avocados, red onion, corn, cilantro, beans, shredded cheese, olives, peppers, bacon, and peas in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon.

What’s in Cowboy Salad?

I didn’t intend to add the cheese or cucumbers, but they really do belong in a salad and now I can’t eat it any other way.

Whatever you like, add more of it, whatever you don’t like you can totally make your own substitutions.

  • Lettuce
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Olives
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans/ Black Eyed Peas
  • Avocados
  • Corn
  • Peppers
  • Cilantro

How to Make BBQ Salad Dressing

Start out by gathering your ingredients:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Worcestershire sauce (it adds a great depth)
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Lime Juice
  • BBQ sauce (we prefer a smokey sweet over anything spicy)

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside in the fridge.

How to Make Cowboy Salad

Chop your greens into small pieces to make it easier to eat.

Add all other ingredients, reserving a little of the bacon, cilantro and cheese for the topping

Place everything in a really big bowl and toss with dressing if you’re ready to serve within 15 minutes.

A top view of cowboy salad in a glass serving bowl. There are sliced cucumbers, sliced olives, chopped tomatoes, avocados, lettuce and green onions. It contains corn and beans too and is topped with dressing.

How to Make Salad a Main Dish

If you’re having a bit of a day and don’t want to deal with dinner you can make your salad into a main dish. I do it all the time during the summer because it’s hot and easy. Especially if we want to hit the pool and not rush home to make dinner.

  • Add rotisserie or sliced chicken
  • Ground Beef
  • Steak
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • More Veggies
  • Ground Turkey


How to Make Salad Ahead of Time

This salad is sooooo easy to make ahead of time!! I prepare it in the morning or even the day before. Here’s how.

  • Same Day Salad

If you’re serving this salad on the same day, prepare everything in a large bowl except the cheese and dressing. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. To serve add cheese and dressing.

  • Next Day Salad Prep

To make a salad an entire day ahead, prep the greens and store in a zip top bag.

Place all veggies in a plastic container with a lid.

Cheese goes in another bag and dressing in a jar with a lid.

Finally, fry and cool the bacon and store wrapped in a paper towel in a zip top bag.

Assemble once you’re ready to serve.

Cowboy salad in a glass serving bowl all ready to be served. It has sliced cucumbers, chopped lettuce, avocados, peppers, bacon, and olives and shredded cheese. It is topped with dressing.

Is Romaine Lettuce Healthier Than Iceberg?

Nutritionally, romaine lettuce is better than iceberg lettuce.

Romaine is packed with nutrients, including vitamins A and C, and good amounts of folic acid and magnesium.

What are Black Eyed Peas?

A black eyed pea or cow pea is a white legume or bean and has a black dot in the middle. It’s super easy to find and very mild in flavor. However, I understand not everyone can run to the store so if you don’t have them…

  • What can I use Instead of Black Eyed Peas

You can substitute any other bean like black beans, pinto beans etc.

  • Are Black Eyed Peas Good For You?

Black-eyed peas are packed with fiber and protein.

Can You Substitute Grape Tomatoes For Cherry Tomatoes?

Grape tomatoes are just fine to use instead of cherry tomatoes and vice versa.

Oh Sweet Basil Pro Tips!

How Long Will Salad Keep?

Salad, without dressing, will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

Once dressing is added, salad will only keep for 1-2 days, which is why I try to always dress it myself or feed it to a large crowd so it all gets eaten.

How Long will Homemade Salad Dressing Keep?

A dairy based salad dressing like a ranch for example will only last for 2 weeks in the fridge. Or if you forget by a few days, cross your fingers and think of me because I ALWAYS push it just because I forget. Store it in a glass jar with a lid for best results.

How Do You Store Salad?

A good way to store salad is to put it in a large bowl, cover it with a paper towel to absorb the moisture, and then cover the whole bowl with really tight plastic wrap and refrigerate.

What Main Dish to Serve this Cowboy Salad with?

Serve up one of these favorites like:

More Salad Recipes

Cowboy Salad

3.93 from 176 votes
Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


It's easy to throw together with greens, corn, bacon, cheese, beans veggies and a BBQ ranch dressing! 


  • 1 Head Lettuce, Romaine, chopped
  • 15 oz Beans, black, drained
  • 15 oz Peas, Black Eyed, drained
  • 1 Cup Corn, frozen, thawed and drained
  • 6 Slices Bacon, Cooked and chopped
  • 2 Cups Tomatoes, Cherry, cut in half
  • 1 Cup Cheese, Cheddar, shredded
  • 1 Avocado, Chopped
  • 1 Bell Pepper, Red, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 Onion, red, diced
  • 1 Handful Cilantro, chopped


  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Cup Smokey Sweet BBQ Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime juice


For The Dressing

  • Whisk together the dressing and set aside. 
    1 Cup Mayonnaise, 1/2 Cup Smokey Sweet BBQ Sauce, 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tablespoons Lime juice

For The Salad

  • Toss together all of the salad ingredients.
    1 Head Lettuce, 15 oz Beans, 15 oz Peas, 1 Cup Corn, 6 Slices Bacon, 2 Cups Tomatoes, 1 Cup Cheese, 1 Avocado, 1 Bell Pepper, 1 Jalapeno, 1/2 Onion, 1 Handful Cilantro
  • Add the dressing to taste and serve!


Optional additions: sliced black olives, cucumbers
To store this salad, put it in a large bowl, cover it with a paper towel to absorb the moisture, and then cover the whole bowl with really tight plastic wrap and refrigerate.


Serving: 1gCalories: 571kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 20gFat: 42gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 783mgPotassium: 925mgFiber: 10gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 1861IUVitamin C: 56mgCalcium: 205mgIron: 5mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 100 + Salad Recipes to Obsess Over
Cuisine: American
a bowl of salad with veggies, cheese and bacon with a bbq salad dressing being poured on top