A house salad is the perfect fresh way to start your meal. Loaded with crisp vegetables and served with your favorite dressing (balsamic is our go-to salad dressing) having this recipe in your back pocket means you can whip up an easy salad in no time.
Growing up, every meal was always served with a salad on the side. This is something that I’ve tried to emulate in my own home and we call it our “house salad”–like a restaurant would. It just makes it more fun, don’t you think?
Plus once you know generally what you like in a salad, it’s so easy to come up with a ton of basic salad variations so you can change up your house salad from time to time.
Why this recipe works
The trick with a house salad recipe is that you don’t want it to have tons of ingredients (save those for when the entire meal is a salad like kale, white bean and tuna salad or pasta salad with lemon herb vinaigrette)!
Start with a simple base and add about five other ingredients you always have in your fridge, or base the ingredients on what is in-season.
Ingredients you’ll need
The goal with any salad is the balace flavors. Aim to include sweet, salty, tangy and bitter ingredients to hit a well-rounded flavor profile.
- It all starts with a base of greens and one of the easiest ways to make a salad is to grab a clamshell of spring mix for an easy green salad.
- For the vegetables, I like a combination of veggie that add crunch, sweetness and a little bit of a bite. Cucumber, cherry tomatoes and red onion are always in my house salads.
- For something tangy and salty I like to add Kalamata olives and feta cheese.
- For the dressing, I always have a batch of balsamic vinaigrette, white balsamic vinaigrette or apple cider vinegar dressing on hand so I tend to alternate between these on a weekly basis.
- Depending on the season and what’s on sale, you can always change up the base of greens. I like to switch between spring mix, arugula or baby spinach.
- Like the salad greens, it’s fun to swap up the vegetables. Try adding bell peppers or shredded carrots.
- You can also add fruits for a little bit of a different take, sliced apples or pears are great in the fall and fresh berries add a burst of freshness in the summer.
- Nuts are also a great addition for crunch to a salad, toasted walnuts, pecans or almonds are all great options.
- You can also try different types of cheese, shards of Parmesan, crumbled goat cheese or crumbled blue cheese all add tang and a savory bite to the salad.
- For a simple dressing, use oil and vinegar. Look, I don’t always feel like whipping up a salad dressing, but you can always simply drizzle on some good quality olive oil and vinegar of your choice (balsamic, white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar).
- Dress your salad just before serving. This stops your salad from becoming soggy. Just before serving, toss the ingredients with the dressing thoroughly (be careful not to over-dress, this can also lead to a soggy salad!). The general rule is to make sure every ingredient is coated evenly.
- Make sure to wash and dry your salad greens. Wet and soggy lettuce won’t be able to hold any of the dressing. I like to use a salad spinner to dry the greens quickly.
More salad ideas
- 1 package spring mix about 5 oz
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cucumber, sliced into half moons
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onions
- ⅓ cup kalamata olives
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta
For the balsamic dressing:
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp honey
- pinch salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- In a small bowl or jar, whisk together vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper.
- Next, while continuously whisking, pour in olive oil in a light, steady stream. Continue to whisk until the olive oil is incorporated into vinegar and the dressing has thickened about 30 seconds.
- Toss all of the salad ingredients together, drizzle with dressing, and toss again. Serve immediately.
- For a quick and effortless dressing, you can’t go wrong with a drizzle of oil and vinegar. Just toss your salad in some high-quality olive oil and your preferred vinegar (such as balsamic, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar).
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