With so many colorfully crunchy options, this simple tossed salad recipe can also be a meal in itself topped with your favorite proteins from shrimp to Grilled Chicken Breast!
Great tossed salad recipes are a staple, really versatile and start with the freshest and crispest of ingredients! From an Easy Italian Salad to a simple Cucumber Dill Salad, they make the perfect fresh side dish!
What to Add to a Tossed Salad
BASE (Greens or Lettuce)
When making a tossed salad start with your base…the greens! There are so many options! Iceberg lettuce is super crunchy because it is so water-dense, but as far as nutrition and color goes, it’s on the simpler classic side.
Romaine, endive, baby spinach, radicchio, and arugula are not only super nutritious and fun, but add a colorful component to a tossed salad. You can easily find this combination of greens called ‘Spring Mix’ at your local supermarket.
When choosing veggies, go for a combination of colors and textures. Choose something juicy and something crunchy and add in a rainbow of oranges, reds and greens!
- Juicy – tomatoes, cucumbers,
- Crunchy – bell peppers, radish, celery,
- Sweet – roasted butternut squash, fruits, berries
- Colorful – beets, purple cabbage, shredded carrot
- Flavorful – onions (green/red/white), fresh herbs
Flavor boosters keep your salad from being boring! This adds in the smoky, nutty, cheesy flavors.
- Olives (Nicoise, Kalamata, black or green) – salty
- Toasted nuts (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts or almonds) – nutty (of course)
- Bacon – smoky/salty
- Dried Fruits – sweet, chewy
- Cheese – creamy, salty (goat cheese and feta are my favorites)
- Homemade Croutons
There are so many more things that you can add, it’s hards to list them all! Let yourself be creative and try adding your favorites into this salad there is no wrong addition here.
How to Toss a Salad
This tossed vegetable salad recipe is chock full of the healthy stuff you love without being too time consuming to put together. I prewash my lettuce and keep it fresh in the fridge for days by washing it in icy cold water, giving it a spin in a salad spinner and placing it in a freezer bag with paper towel. Depending on the variety it can stay fresh for a couple of weeks.
To make salad ahead of time, prepare your tossed salad and place it in a bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and refrigerate for a couple of hours. If it’s going to be longer than a couple of hours, cover with plastic wrap.
What Kind of Dressing Goes on a Tossed Salad?
A simple vinaigrette is all you need to bring out the individual flavors of each component to this salad. In a jar or salad dressing cruet, shake up some olive oil, vinegar (cider, balsamic, or white), some honey and a dash of salt and pepper to taste and gently add to the salad.
Other Favorite Dressings
- Italian Dressing – Great as a dressing or marinade
- Blue Cheese Dressing – Creamy and easy
- Honey Mustard Dressing – Sweet and zesty
- Balsamic Vinaigrette – Classic flavor
- Buttermilk Ranch Dressing – Creamy and delicious!
The Best Tossed Salad
- 8 cups lettuce
- 1 cup cucumber
- 1 cup tomatoes
- 1 cup mixed vegetables radish, shredded carrot, purple cabbage
- 2 tablespoons almonds or sunflower seeds toasted
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar cider, balsamic or white
- 1 teaspoon honey
- seasoned salt & pepper to taste
- Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Place dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well mixed.
- Toss salad with dressing to taste and serve immediately.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)