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This mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette is a quick and easy side dish! In just 10 minutes you have a healthy accompaniment to any meal.

Simplest Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette | A Couple Cooks
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A food blog is a bit of a cop out in terms of instruction on healthy eating, because it’s a recipe stream of consciousness. Since the accepted model is to post whatever you make whenever you want, a reader doesn’t necessarily pick up on balanced meal planning (which is arguably the hardest part about healthy eating).

Related:25 Best Salad Recipes

For example, if you followed our blog in December, you would find this lineup: Cookies, White Bean Dip, Salad, Cookies, and Biscuits. Granted, we intentionally post a collection of easy holiday entertaining recipes in December, but it does make it difficult to understand how to put together a meal.

After posting our tomato artichoke soup, I mentioned that it would be helpful to serve this soup alongside something with added protein, since the soup itself isn’t highly filling on its own. Generally we’d say something like, “serve with a green salad,” but this time we wanted to quantify it for you with this recipe. It’s more of an idea than a recipe, but we wanted to share it since it’s something we take for granted. Plus, if you don’t already make your own vinaigrette at home yet, throw out all your old salad dressing bottles and use this recipe! It has no preservatives and literally takes 2 minutes to whip up.

How to make the best green salad

A few notes about building a lovely side salad:

  • Make your own vinaigrette. You can use the easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe below, or our basic salad dressing recipe. Our rule for making vinaigrette is: 1 part acid (vinegar or citrus juice) to 3 parts oil (olive or grapeseed). Add kosher salt, pepper, and then any add-ins you’d like: chopped shallots or minced garlic, a bit of Dijon mustard, herbs, etc, and whisk to combine. There are endless possibilities!
  • Use fresh greens, local if possible. Use any mix of greens you’d like. Our local farmer’s market has local greens year round, which we like to take advantage of when we can.
  • Add toppings with contrasts of flavor and texture. For most side salads, we make sure to add something crunchy like pecans, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Amp up the flavor by toasting the nuts in a dry skillet for a few minutes until they are browned and fragrant. Adding flavorful cheese is a great counterpoint: we love feta, sharp cheddar, and goat cheese. Finally, you can add a sweet component using dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricots) or fresh fruit (apples, pears, strawberries). In the summer, top with herbs for extra flavor.

What are your favorite salad combinations? We’d love to hear.

Looking for more green salad recipes? 

Here are some our best green salad recipes that we eat regularly: 

This recipe is…

This mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette is vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, omit the cheese crumbles.

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Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette


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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette is a quick and easy side dish! In just 10 minutes you have a healthy accompaniment to any meal.


Ingredients

Scale

For the balsamic vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

For the salad

  • 8 cups salad greens
  • ¼ cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
  • ¼ cup cheese crumbles (feta, goat, or gorgonzola)
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds (or walnuts, pecans, or pistachios)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and salt until fully combined. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, adding 1 tablespoon at a time and whisking until it incorporates, until an emulsion forms. Serve immediately. Store refrigerated and bring to room temperature before serving (keeps at least 2 weeks).
  2. Dress 8 cups salad greens with the desired amount of dressing; reserve the rest for future use.
  3. On each plate, place 2 cups salad greens and sprinkle with dried fruit, cheese crumbles, and nuts.
  • 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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20 Comments

  1. Elisa Julia says:

    I made this last night for my wife and I, and we are hooked! Such a lovely, simply salad that surely isn’t lacking any flavor whatsoever!!
    We will be eating this same salad tonight ?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you loved it! :)

  2. Martha says:

    Your basic rule is 1:1 acid and oil but this recipe is 1:3. Please clarify. Thanks!

    1. Sonja says:

      You are correct: this was a typo in the body of the post and this has been fixed! Thanks for your feedback!

  3. Simon says:

    How much in ml is 1/4 cup?






    1. Sonja says:

      Good question: 60 ml!

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