Simple Side Salad Recipe

The perfect add-on to any meal, this simple side salad recipe is a great way to sneak extra veggies onto your dinner plate!

Since a good dressing totally makes the salad, I’ll add a few delicious (and easy!!!) homemade dressing recipes to this post so you can choose your favorite.

Simple Side Salad Recipe

I’m fairly certain there are no less than 200 salad recipes on this little blog of mine.

My salad arsenal runs the gamut from the fancy and fruity Blueberry Broccoli Spinach Salad to the tasty technicolor Greek Chickpea Salad, and everything in between!

Somehow despite all my salad shenanigans over the years, I’ve never posted a simple garden salad.

Gah! That’s like passing go and not collecting $200! A simple side salad is such a fabulous addition to so many main dishes and def not something to overlook. In fact, it should be celebrated!

Let’s get our salad on!

Garden Salad with Fresh Vegetables

What Lettuce Should I Use?

I love to use romaine lettuce or spring mix for my side salads. It’s the perfect base for oodles of crisp veggies and a finger licking dressing!

You can use a bagged mix as a speedy shortcut or chop it straight from a head of lettuce.

Garden Salad Vegetables

There are so many tasty veggies to choose from! For this simple salad I went with vegetables I almost always have on hand:

  • romaine lettuce
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • red onion
  • carrot

Depending on what you have handy, and what type of dressing you are adding, you can add any other veggies your heart desires.

Other great options include pepperoncini peppers, sliced olives, banana peppers, chopped broccoli, etc…

Side Salad Homemade Dressing Options Collage

Side Salad Dressing Options

In the recipe card below I’ve included the recipes for my Homemade Italian Dressing and Easy Balsamic Dressing so you can choose your favorite for this Italian style side salad.

For a Greek spin, you could use feta cheese in place of the parmesan and whisk together my Classic Greek Dressing.

They’re insanely easy to make with pantry staple ingredients and taste so much better than the bottled stuff!

If you prefer a creamier dressing I make a mean restaurant-style Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and Classic Caesar Dressing too. Love them so!

Simple Side Salad Recipe

This recipe yields 4 side salads but can easily be halved or doubled based on how many servings you need.

Ready to get your side salad on? Here’s my go-to recipe:

Simple Side Salad Recipe

Simple Side Salad Recipe

The perfect add-on to any meal, this simple side salad recipe is a great way to sneak extra veggies onto your dinner plate!
5 from 7 votes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Side Salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Jenn Laughlin – Peas and Crayons


  • 5 oz chopped lettuce (a 5 ounce bag or 3-4 cups)
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼-⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1-2 cups croutons (freshly made or store bought)
  • ¼-⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta (optional)


  • 3 TBSP quality olive oil
  • 1 TBSP white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend (I love using Mrs. Dash’s salt-free blend)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder or 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt or season to taste
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • ¼ cup quality olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp dried parsley or 1 tsp fresh
  • ½ tsp garlic powder or one super small clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ⅛-¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛-¼ tsp black pepper


  • ¼ cup quality olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar plus extra to taste
  • ½-1 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey or sweetener or choice if vegan
  • 1 small clove garlic , minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  • Choose your dressing from the list above (though if you have a go-to homemade or store bought dressing that's okay too!).
  • Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk *or* add dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake well to mix.
  • Let's get our veggie on! Clean and chop lettuce or snag a bag of your favorite chopped/washed lettuce.
  • Slice and quarter Roma tomato(es) and thinly slice cucumber. I usually peel traditonal cucumber or leave the skin on English/seedless cucumber.
  • Freshly shred/grate carrots or use pre-shredded here. Thinly slice or mince red onion.
  • Combine veggies croutons, and optional cheese in a big bowl and mix it all up.
  • rWhisk or shake dressing once more and dip a lettuce leaf in to taste. Adjust seasoning/ingredients to taste if desired
  • Pour half the dressing over the salad before serving. Toss to combine and serve with remainig dressing for each person to add their ideal amount to their salad. Enjoy!


Veg it up! Other great vegetable options include pepperoncini peppers, sliced olives, banana peppers, chopped broccoli, etc… Mix and match based on what you have handy and have fun with it!
Nutrition Facts below are estimated for the salad with Italian dressing using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed based on dressing chosen (they’re all similar nutritionally) and extras/swaps and enjoy!


Calories: 178kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 331mg, Potassium: 232mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 5507IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 105mg, Iron: 1mg
Easy Garden Side Salad with Veggies and Croutons

If you get a chance to try this simple side salad recipe, let me know!

Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

More Awesome Salad Recipes

Jenn Laughlin Headshot Photo - About the Author
About The Author:

Jenn Laughlin

Jenn Laughlin created Peas and Crayons in 2009 after graduating with B.S. in Dietetics from Florida State University and working as a Nutrition Educator for WIC. The goal was simple: create and share delicious tested and perfected recipes with vegetables as the star!

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