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This easy garden salad is a blend of crispy greens and fresh vegetables. It is excellent as a side salad that goes with almost anything! Make it a main dish, by adding protein!
Step by step photos and instructions below!
Sometimes the simplest things just taste the best! A classic garden salad (also known as a house salad in many restaurants) on the side of almost any meal.
It sure makes me feel better about eating a huge bowl of pasta if I eat something green on the side!
Garden Salad Recipe
You really can’t go wrong with fresh garden veggies, can you? Crisp green leaf lettuce or other leafy greens, crunchy cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes and a little red onion. You can’t get any simpler!
Pick your favorite veggies (or whatever you can find in the fridge), and add them to a bowl with some dressing, crunchy croutons and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, or some cheddar cheese cubes.
Change it up however you like! In my family, we absolutely love “salad bar night”. I wash and chop all the veggies, grab a bowl of greens and put it on the table for everyone to mix and match their own.
I raid the fridge door, and let them pick their favorite dressing, too! It’s a great way to clean out the fridge, too!
What do you put in your salad?
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Easy to make. Just wash your veggies, dice them up and toss together with a homemade dressing. Serve your salad with optional toppings (see the notes)
- Easy to customize. This is a very basic recipe that is supposed to be a base. Add or remove veggies you do or don’t enjoy!
- Fresh ingredients. You can’t go wrong with good fresh food from the refrigerator.
Frequently Asked Questions
Greens and any vegetables you have on hand, but typically lettuce or salad green, carrots, cucumbers, sometimes onions and/or radishes. Sometimes croutons and cheese cubes.
The ones you have on hand! Be it mixed salad greens, a few romaine hearts, or an iceberg lettuce, they all work.
Assemble the salad, but leave off the dressing and croutons (if using). Wait until the last minute before you add the dressing. Toss right before serving. Add croutons then too.
How to wash and prepare the lettuce for a garden salad
When washing lettuce for a garden salad, it’s really important to remove any dirt or grit that may still be there from the garden. It does not taste good.
Start by rinsing the leaves gently under cold water. Use a salad spinner to dry the lettuce thoroughly, or use paper towels. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces before adding them to the salad.
What should I serve a salad with?
You can make this a side salad, or make it the main dish by adding proteins like chicken breast, boiled eggs, salmon or steak for a more complete meal.
Choose a dressing you love, and enjoy!
Salad Dressing ideas:
- Basic Mustard Vinaigrette
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
- Homemade Ranch Dressing (and dip)
- Avocado Cilantro Dressing
- Chipotle Ranch Dressing
I have included step by step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
Grab a bottled dressing, or make your own at home. Add 3 parts extra virgin olive oil to 1 part fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. A little Dijon mustard, plus salt and pepper. Shake or whisk until fully emulsified.
Use a sharp knife for clean cuts. Slice veggies thinly for easy eating and better distribution of flavors. For softer vegetables like tomatoes, a serrated knife works best to prevent squashing.
Add black olives and pepperoncini and an Italian dressing to make a copycat olive garden salad!
Slice some fresh avocado into your salad.
Cheeses: add some blue cheese, feta cheese, goat cheese or cubed cheddar.
Fresh herbs: add sliced green onions, torn cilantro or basil for a fresh pop of flavor.
What to do with leftovers
This is best eaten on the day you make it, especially if you added dressing. If you are able to, store the dressing and salad separately.
Keep leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Ensure your greens are super dry, as they’ll make your salad wilt otherwise.
Garden Salad Ingredients
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Greens. Choose fresh leafy greens like mixed greens you buy in a tub from the grocery store, romaine hearts, or iceberg lettuce, they all work.
- Vegetables. Red onion, bell peppers, cucumber carrot and cherry tomatoes.
- Croutons. Totally optional, but add a yummy crunch. Use slivered almonds, or other nuts if you wish.
How to make your own croutons for a garden salad
Homemade croutons are a delicious addition to a garden salad. To make your own, simply dice stale bread into cubes, toss them with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and bake them in the oven until they are golden and crispy. Allow them to cool before adding them to the salad.
How to make a Garden Salad
Scroll for Recipe
The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Wash and cut veggies
Wash the fresh veggies, cut the tomatoes in half, slice the cucumber into half moons (sliced then cut in half), peel and grate the carrot, slice the onion thinly, cut the bell pepper into strips.
Wash the greens, dry with a paper towel or use a salad spinner.
Add the greens to a large bowl and add the remaining vegetables over the top.
Drizzle a small amount of dressing over the top, and toss the ingredients together gently using tongs, or two large spoons.
Add more dressing if needed. sprinkle croutons over the top.
Some of our favorite salad recipes:
- Summery White Bean Salad. Served chilled or at room temperature, this Summery White Bean Salad is great to make ahead, or to grab and go! A short prep time means you can have it on the table fast!
- Arugula Salad (with Lemon Vinaigrette). This is the one you’ve been looking for! Peppery arugula mixed with bright tomatoes, parmesan, and dressed with fresh lemon vinaigrette. Perfection!
- Kale Salad (with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette). Simple ingredients and simple instructions (including how to massage kale) make this Kale Salad Recipe an absolute keeper!
- Easy Coleslaw (Homemade Coleslaw Dressing Recipe). Basic ingredients make this Homemade Coleslaw Recipe a cinch to make! With a Creamy Coleslaw Dressing, this side will be a welcome addition to any table.
The Best Garden Salad
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 1 medium carrot
- 1/4 red onion
- ½ yellow bell pepper
- 1/4 cup salad dressing (up to ½ cup depending on how well dressed you like your salad)
- ½ cup croutons
- Wash the vegetables, dry the greens in a salad spinner or pat dry with a paper towel.
Cut the vegetables
- Cut the tomatoes in half, slice the cucumber into half moons (sliced then cut in half), peel and grate the carrot, slice the onion thinly, cut the bell pepper into strips.
- Add the greens to the bowl and add the remaining vegetables over the top.
- Pour a small amount of dressing over the top, and toss gently using tongs, or two large spoons.
- Add more dressing if needed.
- Sprinkle croutons over the top.
- Serve immediately.
- To serve later, assemble the salad, but don’t add the dressing or croutons until ready to serve.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.