24-Hour Vegetable Salad Recipe with Iceberg Lettuce, Mushrooms, and More

24-hour Vegetable Salad

24-Hour Vegetable Salad Recipe with Iceberg Lettuce, Mushrooms, and More
Preparation time: 20 minutes | Servings: 6


24-hour Vegetable Salad
24-hour Vegetable Salad

The 24-hour Vegetable Salad is a delightful and refreshing dish that combines the crispness of fresh vegetables with the richness of cheese and the tanginess of a lemon-mayonnaise dressing. This salad is perfect for those who appreciate a make-ahead meal that melds flavors over time, resulting in a deeply satisfying dish. Ideal for picnics, potlucks, or as a nutritious side dish, this salad offers a versatile option for any meal.


The concept of a make-ahead salad that sits for hours to blend flavors has roots in traditional cooking methods from various cultures. The 24-hour Vegetable Salad, in particular, gained popularity in the mid-20th century in the United States, often featured in community cookbooks and family gatherings. Its appeal lies in its simplicity, the use of readily available ingredients, and its ability to be prepared well in advance, making it a staple for busy households.


How to prepare

  1. Place lettuce in the bottom of an 8" diameter serving bowl.
  2. Layer mushrooms on top.
  3. Then layer peas and carrots.
  4. Arrange egg slices and bacon over the vegetables.
  5. Top with 0.5 cup of cheddar cheese; set aside.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  7. Spread the mixture over the top of the salad, "sealing" it to the edge of the bowl.
  8. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  9. Cover and chill for 24 hours.
  10. Before serving, toss to coat the vegetables.


  • Consider adding or substituting ingredients based on preference or availability. Avocado, bell peppers, or cucumbers can add variety and nutrition. For a lighter version, use Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise.
  • Consider adding or substituting ingredients based on preference or availability. Avocado, bell peppers, or cucumbers make great additions. For a non-dairy version, omit the cheese or use a dairy-free alternative.
  • Consider adding or substituting ingredients based on preference or availability. Avocado, bell peppers, or cucumbers make great additions. For a non-dairy version, omit the cheese or use a dairy-free alternative.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best results, use fresh, crisp vegetables. The texture of the salad greatly depends on the quality of the ingredients. To ensure even distribution of the dressing, make sure to spread it all the way to the edges of the bowl. Chilling the salad for a full 24 hours is crucial for flavor development, so plan accordingly.

Serving Suggestions

This salad is versatile and can be served as a standalone meal for a light lunch or as a side dish with grilled meats or sandwiches. It's particularly refreshing during the warmer months.

Cooking Techniques

Layering the ingredients properly is key to this salad's success. Ensure that the heavier, denser ingredients are at the bottom, with lighter items on top, to maintain the structure and presentation of the salad.

Ingredient Substitutions

For a healthier version, Greek yogurt can be used in place of mayonnaise. Any hard cheese can substitute for cheddar, and turkey bacon is a great alternative to regular bacon for those looking to reduce red meat consumption.

Make Ahead Tips

As the name suggests, this salad is designed to be made ahead. It's best served 24 hours after preparation, allowing the flavors to meld. However, it can be consumed up to 48 hours later if stored properly in the refrigerator.

Presentation Ideas

Serve in a clear glass bowl to showcase the layers. Garnish with fresh herbs or edible flowers for an extra touch of elegance.

Pairing Recommendations

This salad pairs beautifully with a crisp white wine or a light-bodied red. For non-alcoholic options, consider iced herbal teas or sparkling water with a squeeze of citrus.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

This salad is best enjoyed cold and does not require reheating. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of this salad is relatively low in calories, considering the rich ingredients. On average, a serving will contain about 250-300 calories. This can vary based on the specific types of mayonnaise and cheese used.


This salad is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the vegetables. The total carbohydrate content will vary depending on the specific types and amounts of vegetables used but expect approximately 10-15 grams of carbohydrates per serving.


The majority of the fat in this salad comes from the mayonnaise and cheddar cheese. Using full-fat mayonnaise and cheese will result in a higher fat content, but low-fat or fat-free alternatives can be used to reduce this. On average, a serving could contain about 15-20 grams of fat, with variations depending on the specific ingredients used.


Proteins in this salad are provided by the hard-boiled eggs and cheddar cheese. Each serving will have a moderate protein content, approximately 10-12 grams, making it a suitable side dish that adds valuable protein to your meal.

Vitamins and minerals

This salad is a good source of vitamins A and C, thanks to the carrots, peas, and lettuce. It also provides calcium and iron from the cheese and eggs. The specific vitamin and mineral content will vary based on the vegetables used but expect a nutritious mix that contributes to daily dietary requirements.


Common allergens in this recipe include eggs and dairy (from the mayonnaise and cheese). Individuals with sensitivities to these ingredients should modify the recipe accordingly or avoid it.


Overall, the 24-hour Vegetable Salad offers a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a nutritious option that can be adjusted to meet dietary needs and preferences.


The 24-hour Vegetable Salad is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in cooking. With its blend of textures, flavors, and nutrients, it offers a delightful eating experience that can be enjoyed in various settings. Whether you're looking for a make-ahead meal option or a nutritious side dish, this salad is sure to impress.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately drawn to it. It was a warm summer day and I was visiting my dear friend Martha for lunch. As we sat on her porch enjoying the sunshine, she brought out a large bowl filled with colorful vegetables and told me she had made a 24-hour Vegetable Salad. I had never heard of such a thing before, but as soon as I took my first bite, I knew I had to learn how to make it myself.

Martha told me that she had learned the recipe from her grandmother, who had passed it down through the generations. She explained that the key to the salad was letting it marinate in the fridge for a full 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld together. I was fascinated by the idea of a salad that required such patience and attention to detail.

I begged Martha to teach me how to make the salad, and she happily agreed. We spent the afternoon chopping vegetables and mixing them together with a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Martha explained that the key to the salad was using fresh, seasonal vegetables and allowing them to marinate in the dressing for a full day.

As we sat down to enjoy our meal, I marveled at the flavors that had developed in just a few short hours. The crunch of the fresh vegetables, the tangy bite of the dressing, and the hint of herbs and spices all combined to create a truly delicious dish. I knew that this would become a staple in my own recipe collection.

Over the years, I have made the 24-hour Vegetable Salad countless times. I have tweaked the recipe here and there, adding my own personal touch with different herbs and spices. I have shared the recipe with friends and family, who have all raved about it and asked for the recipe themselves.

One of my favorite memories involving the salad was when my granddaughter, Emma, came to visit me for the summer. She had always shown an interest in cooking and baking, so I knew that she would be the perfect sous chef for making the salad.

Emma and I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and mixing together the dressing. As we worked, I shared the story of how I had learned the recipe from Martha and how it had become a beloved dish in our family. Emma listened intently, asking questions and offering her own ideas for how we could make the salad even better.

As we sat down to enjoy our meal, I watched with pride as Emma took her first bite of the salad. Her eyes lit up with delight as she savored the flavors, and I knew that she had inherited my love for cooking and creating delicious dishes.

Since that day, Emma has continued to make the 24-hour Vegetable Salad on her own, experimenting with different vegetables and dressings to create her own unique version of the dish. I am proud to see her carrying on the tradition and passing the recipe down to future generations.

As I sit here reflecting on the many memories I have of making the 24-hour Vegetable Salad, I am filled with gratitude for the friends and family who have shared their recipes and culinary wisdom with me over the years. Each dish tells a story, and each recipe holds a special place in my heart.

I can only hope that one day my own grandchildren will gather in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and mixing together dressings, creating dishes that will become cherished family traditions for years to come. Cooking is more than just preparing food – it is a way to connect with loved ones, to share stories and memories, and to create something truly special. And for me, the 24-hour Vegetable Salad will always hold a special place in my heart as a reminder of the joy and love that can be found in the simple act of preparing a delicious meal.


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