These tasty and easy green salad recipes are so versatile! They pair with just about any main dish, from pasta to pizza to salmon to chili.
It’s deceptively difficult to find good side salad recipes. Right? Alex and I often want to accessorize our meal with a side salad. But what green salad recipes are the right fit? Browsing for recipes online can take too long; it feels like you’re in a bargain store trying to comb through sweaters to find the just right thing to wear.
So, we’ve decided to take the guess work out for you! We’ve put together a list of our top green salad recipes that make the perfect side salad for just about anything. While the vibe of some of these is stronger than others, most of them will work no matter whether you’re pairing salmon or pizza.
Ready to get to the recipes? (And you’re welcome.)
The best go-to in our green salad recipes: this favorite chopped salad! Without fail, people always ask, "Wow! What is in this?" It's got an Italian flair, filled with crisp romaine, sliced shallots, and Parmesan cheese. The kicker? Sliced pepperoncini, which add tang and a little heat. Top it off with our classic Homemade Italian Dressing and it's the perfect pair to just about anything.
Introducing: the simplest arugula salad. It’s quite possibly the easiest salad you’ll make. You don’t even have to make a salad dressing! In 5 to 10 minutes, you’ve got an elegant salad that goes with literally everything. Dress baby arugula simply with olive oil and lemon juice, then add Parmesan shavings and thinly sliced shallots. Done! Simple, understated, and oh so good. It pairs especially well with soups, pasta and pizza!
Here's another simple green salad recipe, this one starring leafy green kale! Raw kale can sometimes have a bitter taste. But with this flavor popping Italian-style dressing of lemon, Parmesan cheese, and garlic, the bitter taste of the kale is mellowed and melds beautifully with the other flavors. Plus, the sturdy texture of the kale holds up well in a salad, and provides an extra crunch when eating.
This spinach apple salad is as easy as it is tasty! No one will believe it took minutes to put together. Start with a bed of greens and add crisp apple and pear. Our best balsamic vinaigrette covers it in tangy sweet goodness, and the best part? Maple-glazed walnuts or pecans! Just a few minutes in a hot skillet with maple syrup makes the nuts come out shiny and lightly sweet.
This fennel orange salad features beautiful juicy oranges and a famous pairing: sliced raw fennel, which adds a subtle licorice essence. Throw it over greens with a few garnishes, top with a zingy homemade citrus vinaigrette, and wow! There’s so much going on flavor and texture-wise, it’s one of the most unexpectedly delicious salads we’ve ever made.
What we love about this salad is that it's like a good pair of heels or boots. It literally goes with anything! A good salad has got to have contrasts in texture, flavor, and colors, and this one is all about that. There's lots of crunchy veggies. There are pumpkin seeds, and our tasty Homemade Croutons.
This strawberry salad is one of our most popular salad recipes, pairing sweet strawberries with an insanely good strawberry vinaigrette salad dressing! Paired with crunchy red onions, toasted almonds, feta cheese crumbles, and those delicious sweet berries, this green salad is the perfect way to enjoy seasonal berries.
Topped with homemade Caesar dressing and crispy cornbread croutons, this kale Caesar salad recipe is one you won’t want to stop eating! The dressing is fabulous, it's delightfully creamy with a little kick. And the crispy cornbread croutons — well, let’s just say not too many made it onto our salad. You could use our Vegan Cornbread (and serve leftovers as a bonus). This green salad recipe goes with just about anything.
This blackberry salad is classic and chic: baby greens, soft goat cheese and smoked almonds bring a nuance of flavor that’s extraordinary for the amount of prep time required. And top it off with our famous creamy Best Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. Alex and I dreamed up this salad, and upon first bite, both declared “Wow.” See also: Beet Salad and Blueberry Salad.
This radish chopped salad is full of flavor! The creamy blue cheese dressing perfectly complements the crunchy radishes, and the flavors all meld together perfectly. The body of the salad is both green cabbage and crunchy romaine lettuce, and it’s topped with blue cheese crumbles. This green salad is a fabulous compliment to any type of main dish!
Last but not least in our green salad recipes is this California salad! This salad features baby greens, carrot and radishes, chickpeas, fresh dill, and a tasty avocado oil vinaigrette. To top it off: salty ricotta salata cheese! If you can't find it in your local grocery, feta crumbles work too.
Here are a few more salad-related recipes we’d recommend:
Chop romaine and lettuce. Thinly slice the shallot. Peel and chop cucumber. Slice tomatoes and olives in half.
Mix together all the ingredients for the salad, including the dressing, and toss to combine. If making in advance, refrigerate the components separately; bring the dressing to room temperature before serving.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.