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THE KITCHN: How to make a better side salad

By Faith Durand, on

What is the perfect simple salad? I'm not talking lunch salads or grain salads, but the simplest of dinner accompaniments, the salad that gets tossed at the last moment to lay beside a piece of grilled chicken or a plate of pasta. This kind of salad often feels like an afterthought. It's the obligatory vegetable to be munched down before enjoying the rest of your dinner. But this doesn't need to be so!

Everyone has different tastes in salad. Maybe you like yours with a creamy dressing; maybe you like it super assertive. You might like to have extra vegetables in your salad; or, like me, you just want to keep it ultra-simple. The point -- no matter how you decide to dress your salad, up or down -- is that it taste delicious. Salads need seasoning, too, just like any other dish.

So here are some guiding principles on making a quick salad for dinner. I follow this method nearly every time I make dinner, and often I unexpectedly enjoy the salad more than anything else on the table. There's a purity and deliciousness to a well-dressed pile of greens that other, more complex, dishes often do not approach.

This will make enough side salad to feed 2 to 4 people.

How To Make a Better Side Salad

What You Need


About 4 ounces lettuce or mixed greens, washed and torn

Finely shredded carrots or julienned cucumbers (optional)

Small handful finely shredded basil, mint or other aromatic herb (optional)


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