how to make a (good) salad

It has taken me a long time to perfect an at home salad. I used to cringe at the thought of making salads, but these days I make a lot of them. And I love them.

Use more than one type of leafy green. Usually I'll buy a spring mix & baby spinach and mix them together. Sometimes I mix hearts of romaine & baby spinach.

Add a variety of colors. You eat with your eyes first, and if something looks bland, chances are you're not going to enjoy eating it.

Also, don't feel bad if you only throw in one or two veggies. Keep in mind that the greens count too!

If meat is a must, bacon is my go-to for a salad. It's so easy to just cook a slice or two of it. Every now and then I'll pan roast or grill chicken breast.

Is it wrong that this is my favorite part of a salad? I've been using blue cheese a lot lately.. but feta & goat cheese are always good choices. Blue cheese goes well with bacon, feta goes well with chicken.. goat cheese goes well with everything.

I hate croutons, but I need something crunchy in my salads, so I use nuts or seeds. I try to pair the nuts with whatever meat/cheese/veggies I'm using. Almonds and sunflower seeds go with just about anything. Walnuts go well with salads that have fruit in them. Peanuts or cashews in Asian salads.

I had been using a dressing of 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, salt/pepper & a squeeze of dijon mustard.. and you can even add a squeeze of mayo if you prefer something creamier. This is a simple, but really delicious recipe (I even use it in potato salad!) If that's too boring, add some chopped herbs.

With that being said, Kim left a comment on my herb salt post about salad dressing, and I made one this evening that consisted of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and some of the herb salt. Oh my god, you guys, SO. Good.

Also, use a really good olive oil for dressings. It's worth the few extra bucks. And if you're wanting a sweeter dressing, put in just a dash of real maple syrup.

So, there you have it. That's how to put a yummy salad together.

Here are a few of my favorite combinations:

  • spinach/spring mix, bacon, grape tomatoes, almonds & goat cheese with a balsamic vinaigrette.
  • romaine/spinach, chicken, green bell pepper, roma tomatoes, cucumber, pepperoncini, sunflower seeds & feta with red wine/herb vinaigrette.
  • spinach/spring mix, sugar snap peas, pears, walnuts & blue cheese with a maple vinaigrette.

Do you have any salad tips?


  1. They are so good that my two year old eats them! :]

  2. These look great. I love adding fruit as well - that pear/blue cheese/nut combo gets done a lot at our house. Peaches or strawberries go well with chicken. Grapes with goat cheese and candied nuts. I like mixing up the greens too and colors are a must!

  3. I have to tell you Erik will ONLY eat lettuce and a few carrots as a "salad". I have to cut everything up and put it aside for Avery and I. He won't eat celery, cucumber, tomato or spinach. And by "won't eat" I mean he HATES them and won't put them in his mouth. SO ANNOYING!

  4. MMMM Nice pictures!!! Excellent!!!

    Salut, Francesc

  5. Oh my gosh love these tips, that salad looks absolutely delish!

  6. Wow...I think you nailed it! My rule is to have all these "flavors" represented: sweet, salty, cruncy, and pungent. Haha...I know those are not all flavors, but it never fails!

  7. ive got no tips but i'm stealing these. my big ones at the mo and bacon and nuts just like here

  8. I love this post. I had a great salad at lunch today and this makes me wanna go have another!

  9. OH MY GOD. your pictures are absolutely incredible. You should be a food photographer! (although you kind of already are)

    Belly B :)

  10. Oh dear - these all look amazing!
    Now you made me hungry again ;)

    Hugs and a happy Tuesday to you!

  11. the salads look amazing and your tips are great, i totally agree with the adding color to any salad. love your blog!