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Need salad ideas? This best tossed salad recipe features colorful veggies, crunchy homemade croutons, and a variety of salad dressing options.

Tossed salad
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Alex and I used to say that it was easy to just “throw together” a good salad. But the more experienced we’ve gotten in the kitchen, the more we’ve realized that a good green salad is not just a throw together type of thing! It’s got to have contrasts in texture, flavor, and colors. It’s got to make sense with the season and the occasion. And it’s got to have one mighty fine salad dressing to pull it all together. Here’s the best salad we can muster, the perfect balance of textures, colors and flavors. Our best tossed salad recipe is complete with crunchy croutons and a variety of dressings, and pairs with everything from chili to pizza. Ready to get cooking?

Salad ideas

Salad ideas: what to put in a salad

So, making a salad can sound super elementary. What to put in a salad? Vegetables, right?! But as I mentioned above, making a really good salad is actually quite an art form. A salad recipe has to have the right balances of textures, flavors, and colors. A really good salad has the perfect salad dressing to compliment all of those ingredients, with the right vibe and seasonality.

Here are some salad ideas for our favorite ingredients of what to put in a salad. We’ve pulled from this list to create this best tossed salad recipe. But remember! When creating your own salad, make sure to select ingredients that have contrasts in flavor, texture, and color.

  • Colorful things: Radishes, carrots, strawberries, raspberries, red onion, green onion, bell peppers, peas, all bring a pop of color
  • Tangy things: Olives, pepperoncini, pickled onions, pickled radishes, sun dried tomatoes, lemon zest, orange zest, lime zest, all bring a pop of flavor
  • Crunchy things: Homemade croutons, tortilla strips, sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, all add the perfect crunch
  • Salty / savory things: Cheeses like feta, goat cheese and gorgonzola crumbles, Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, and ricotta salata add a savory flair
what to put in a salad

How to make this best tossed salad recipe

In this best tossed salad recipe, we’ve used some of our favorite ingredients above to create a salad full of contrasts! It features a mix of romaine lettuce and red baby butter lettuce as a base: we love using two types of greens to have even more contrasts, the crisp, crunchy romaine against the more bitter red lettuce. It’s topped with colorful veggies chosen for color and flavor: shredded carrots, purple onion slivers, thinly sliced green onions, and refreshing, crunchy cucumber. A secret ingredient is jarred pepperoncini! We chose it not only for its electric yellow color, but to bring a tangy spice to the tossed salad.

To top it off, some crunchy ingredients: sunflower seeds and our favorite garlicky salty homemade croutons. Now for the dressing for this tossed salad, we wanted to give you a few dressing options. We served it with our avocado dressing, which is creamy and tangy. But this tossed salad can transform into a totally different salad by using different dressings. Here are a few options (pick a plant-based dressing to keep it a vegan salad):

We hope you enjoy this tossed salad recipe: let us know in the comments below! And make sure to tag us on Instagramif you make it.

Tossed salad recipe

Looking for salad recipes?

Outside of this tossed salad recipe, here are some of our other favorite easy salad recipes:

Tossed salad

This tossed salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, omit the croutons.

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Tossed salad, best salad recipe

Best Tossed Salad Recipe

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 side salads 1x


Need salad ideas? This best tossed salad recipe features colorful veggies, crunchy homemade croutons, and a variety of salad dressing options.




  1. If using, make the Homemade Croutons.
  2. Wash and chop the romaine. If necessary, wash the mixed greens. (You can use any mix of greens here; measure about 2 cups of greens per serving.)
  3. Thinly slice the red onion. Thinly slice the green onion.
  4. Peel and chop the cucumber.
  5. Shred the carrot (we used this  Handheld Julienne Shredder).
  6. Thinly slice and half the radishes.
  7. Choose and make the dressing (select from the dressing recipes above!).
  8. Toss together the greens, red onion, green onion, cucumber, carrot, radishes, and pepperoncini. Top with sunflower seeds and croutons, and drizzle with dressing.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Brushjl says:

    Fantastic salad, you’re right, great combination of colors, textures and tastes.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Thank you for making!

  2. Josh D Woodruff says:

    I can’t get over how good this salad is, I’m not a big fan of a couple of the ingredients but it was delicious anyway. Had it with the homemade ranch dressing.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!