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Simple Side Salad

Turn any dish into a complete meal with this simple side salad recipe. Pairing fresh greens and crisp veggies with a basic honey vinaigrette is the key to a delicious mix that comes together in no time.

Simple side salad

When you're planning a meal, it's important to get the entree squared away. But many times it's not enough to have just one item, especially if your goal is to eat a complete, balanced diet.

A side salad is a great way to balance out a protein-focused main with the crucial benefit that greens provide. The crisp, refreshing flavors pair well with nearly any choice of main, and it's great for lunch, dinner, or even as a snack on its own.

Side salad ingredients

For my go-to simple side salad recipe, I want to make sure that I keep things easy and accessible. While I'll sometimes assemble the salad and use a pre-made dressing, this lemon vinaigrette is no trouble at all to whisk together.

Here's what goes into the salad:

Salad Ingredients:

  • mixed greens
  • grape tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • red onion
  • sunflower seeds
  • optional: shredded cheese, cranberries, bell peppers, pumpkin seeds, croutons, etc.

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

Side salad recipe

The great thing about a side salad recipe like this is the simplicity—it's in the name! Because of this, it's a perfect quick addition to build out a meal at the last moment.

It's also possible to prepare this salad ahead of time, as refrigerated greens and veggies and keep for a while and maintain their freshness. Given this, it's definitely possible to consider this for part of your meal prep. Even just having the ingredients on hand can set you up for success.

It might seem obvious, but if you're going to make ahead of time, wait to add the dressing until you serve—it'll keep the textures where they should be.

What does a side salad contain?

Simply put, a side salad can contain whatever you feel like preparing and eating! It doesn't even have to be based on greens.

On the most basic level, though, I look for cool, crispy, and crunchy. Chilled greens, fresh veggies, and sunflower seeds give me what I need for this salad, and the tasty vinaigrette is a huge bonus!

How do you make a simple salad step by step?

Sometimes salad preparation is as basic as throwing things in a bowl and mixing together. In this case, I'd say that's just about right:

  • Gather all salad ingredients.
  • Add the mixed greens to a large bowl.
  • Slice the tomatoes in half. Add to the bowl.
  • Chop the cucumbers into small pieces. Add to the bowl.
  • Slice the red onion into thin slices. Add to the bowl.
  • Add the sunflower seeds.
  • Optional: make homemade dressing or add preferred dressing. To make homemade dressing, add all dressing ingredients to a small jar, shake, and pour over the salad.
  • Use tongs to toss the salad.
  • Enjoy!
  • Tip: If storing the salad, wait to add dressing until serving.

Looking for more recipes?

Need something for this salad to accompany? I've got you covered:

This is a bowl of simple side salad. There is a big off-white bowl with mixed greens topped with sliced grape tomatoes, red onion slices, sliced cucumbers, and sunflower seeds. It's all lightly coated in dressing.
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5 from 1 vote

Simple Side Salad

Turn any dish into a complete meal with this simple side salad recipe. Pairing fresh greens and crisp veggies with a basic honey vinaigrette is the key to a delicious mix that comes together in no time.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 min
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: side salad, simple salad
Servings: 6
Calories: 55kcal
Author: Jordan Smith

Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Tongs

Ingredients

Salad Ingredients:

  • 8 oz mixed greens about 8 cups
  • 10 oz grape tomatoes about 1 pint, sliced in half
  • 10 oz cucumber 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • optional: shredded cheese, cranberries, bell peppers, pumpkin seeds, croutons, etc.

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Gather all salad ingredients.
  • Add the mixed greens to a large bowl.
  • Slice the tomatoes in half. Add to the bowl.
  • Chop the cucumbers into small pieces. Add to the bowl.
  • Slice the red onion into thin slices. Add to the bowl.
  • Add the sunflower seeds.
  • Optional: make homemade dressing or add preferred dressing. To make homemade dressing, add all dressing ingredients to a small jar, shake, and pour over the salad.
  • Use tongs to toss the salad.
  • Enjoy!
  • Tip: If storing the salad, wait to add dressing until serving.

Notes

Nutrition doesn't include dressing. 

Nutrition

Calories: 55kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2.6g
Recipe Rating