The Basics to Making a Great Salad

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Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved salads. I don’t mean like. I mean love, as in looooooooove.

Yeah, my husband thinks its kinda weird. As did my college roommate. But, most days I would rather have a salad than anything else. It feels healthy even when I glob on tons of ranch dressing and shredded cheese. And it can be healthy when I exercise a little self-control.

If you’re not sure how to build a great salad, well, then today’s the day to learn how.

Start with a bed of greens. When I was growing up, that meant iceberg. But farmers’ markets and modern grocery stores have opened the culinary horizons over the years. Romaine, green leaf, red leaf, and butter are common lettuces. But, you can also work in frisee, spinach, cabbage, radicchio, and chicory. Experiment until you find the combinations and flavors you like the best.

It sounds a little vague – flavors. But, salad add-ins are what give the salad its character. You can go with fruit like apple slices and dried cranberries or stick with the veggies and add avocado, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, onion, etc. Try different combinations until you discover your favorites. And then try some new ones, just ’cause.

Real men do eat salad, especially if there’s some protein around. Cheese, hardboiled egg, beans, and meats are great to help fill you up and make a salad into a meal.

I usually make my own dressings. It’s not hard at all. Some of my favorites are Ranch, Yogurt Dill, and Herbed Vinaigrette. But, if you have a favorite bottled dressing, stick with it. It’s always nice to have ready made on hand.


Top your salad with some kind of crunch. Nuts, croutons, and seeds are great salad toppers that add texture and flavor.

There really is no limit to what you can make into a salad.

How Do YOU Build a Salad?

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About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Nicole says

    I love to use fennel in salads. It adds a nice crunch and the mild licorish flavor is delicious.

  2. Jessica @ This Blessed Life says

    I make my own vinaigrette (EVOO, red wine vinaigrette, a few shakes of Mrs. Dash Italian, black pepper and sea salt). Then I just toss whatever else I have in the fridge! Feta, mozzarella, parmesan, cold salmon, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, or whatever veggies I have.

    I'm with you – I LOVE salads. I have at least one a day – I just finished a spinach one for lunch! 🙂

  3. lundgren79 says

    My favorite add ins are strawberries, orange segments and sunflower seeds. Yum! Great post!

  4. Anonymous says

    my "go to" salad is lettuce (usually iceberg), cucumbers, turkey bacon, toasted almonds, sesame seeds, turkey deli meat, mozzarella cheese, ranch, and balsamic vinegar. I like to add avocado and grilled chicken too, when I have it!

  5. Katy says

    That looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing! I have a ton of lettuce that I need to use up! I may try some of your tips for lunch today!

  6. I have a balsamic vinagrete recipe I use from time to time. Penzey’s Spices sells wonderful Itallian and Ranch dry mixes that I also use. The Ranch mix I make the Outback copycat recipe with, and it’s pretty darn close.

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