Have a couple of minutes before dinner is ready? Make this easy side salad.
It’s so good and it goes with everything, that by the time you toss it together you’ll want to make it the main dish. It’s loaded with fresh veggies and crunchy toppings coated with tangy vinaigrette!
Best Ingredients for Everyday Side Salad
Crisp lettuce and your favorite veggies are the best ingredients for an everyday side salad! Below is a list of everything I like to include in my recipe, but you can add ingredients to your heart’s content.
- Green lettuce: has a crisper texture and sweeter flavor than Iceberg. You could also use Romaine or mixed salad greens.
- Bell pepper: red peppers are sweet and high in vitamin C. Swap out the color for green, orange, or yellow peppers.
- Cucumber: super refreshing and add more volume. Use regular or English cucumbers.
- Tomatoes: juicy, grape tomatoes are a favorite, but chopped Roma or garden tomatoes work great.
- Olives: if you like olives, they are a great salad addition. Make sure to use pitted olives.
- Red onion: optional, but they add a nice sharp flavor.
- Parmesan cheese: sprinkled right over the top.
- Croutons: crunchy and coated in delicious vinaigrette flavors.
- Roasted sunflower seeds: provide this salad with healthy fats and a salty-crunchy element.
- Balsamic vinaigrette: my homemade recipe is tangy-sweet and comes together in 3 minutes.
Side Salad Recipe
In just a few minutes you’ll have a perfect side salad ready to serve with dinner. Here’s how to make it:
Wash and chop the lettuce, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onion. Layer the ingredients into a large serving bowl.
- Add the toppings
Top the salad base with olives, Parmesan cheese, croutons, and sunflower seeds.
Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine, now you’re ready to serve.
Watch this video to see how the salad comes together.
You could also prep this recipe a couple of days ahead. Just assemble the lettuce and toppings, but leave out the croutons and dressing. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to eat, add the croutons and dressing, and toss to combine.
Customization Ideas for Side Salads
Salads are easy to customize and these combination ideas will have you excited to make a new one every night.
- Italian: grape tomatoes, black olives, shaved Parmesan cheese, and Italian vinaigrette.
- Asian: steamed edamame pods, shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots, mandarin oranges (rinsed and drained), Asian vinaigrette.
- Mediterranean: Kalamata olives, sliced cucumber, green bell pepper, feta cheese, and Greek vinaigrette.
- Farmer’s Market Salad: diced tomatoes, homemade bacon bits, steamed corn, cucumber, shredded cheddar cheese, and Ranch Dressing.
Homemade Dressings for Side Salads
Looking for a yummy homemade dressing to drizzle over your salad? Whether you’re craving ranch or a zippy vinaigrette, I’ve got plenty of delicious recipes that are easy to whip up and beat the bottled version any day.
Easy Side Salad
- ½ head green lettuce, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, sliced
- ½ English cucumber, sliced and halved
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- ½ cup olives
- ¼ red onion, sliced
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup croutons
- 2 tablespoons dry-roasted sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup Balsamic vinaigrette
- In a large bowl, layer the salad ingredients.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.