Best Simple Tossed Green Salad is the easiest side dish and goes perfectly with just about anything! Totally customizable and tossed in the tastiest 6-ingredient homemade dressing!
As the calendar flips from one year to another I am sitting here thinking about how grateful I am for all the things the previous year has given me. A wonderful family (and a new baby to join that wonderful family), a job which I’m so blessed to be able to run from home and with such amazing followers such as yourself. A big extended family who I just spent the holidays with and who never cease to amaze me with their kind hearts and spirits.
I really could go on and on. But what it boils down to is that I’m thankful most of all for the simple things in life. As I’ve tried to show all my readers on this blog, you don’t have to put in a ton of time and ingredients to end up with an amazing meal. Simple is simply better!
To that end, I’ve been thinking about all the dishes I made and shared with you throughout the year and especially the holidays and the one glaring omission was this simple salad that I make so often I guess I assumed I had already shared it with you. This salad is a family favorite and one I whip up for just about every extended family meal and eat at least a couple times a month at my house.
It’s hard to resist this salad’s simplicity and, okay, also the bacon! Who can resist that? And the best part is, you can add or subtract just about anything you like and make this simple salad anything you want.
HOW CAN I CUSTOMIZE THIS SIMPLE TOSSED GREEN SALAD?
This is the best part of this salad, I think. However, I do try to keep it simple. So to that end, here are the ways in which I’ve changed this salad around while not making it overly complicated.
- Make it Mexican: Swap pepitas for sunflower seeds and add chopped tomatoes, black olives, finely diced jalapenos, and a sprinkling of queso fresco. For the dressing, use mayo, cayenne pepper, garlic and lime juice like I did in this Mexican Street Corn Salad.
- Make it taste like the Mediterranean: This one is another favorite. Skip the sunflower seeds and instead add garbanzo beans. Add in sliced kalamata olives, halved cherry tomatoes, and a dash of each thyme, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper before tossing the salad. Serve with a simple dressing of olive oil and reduced balsamic.
- Have it Hawaiian: This is a little different but hang with me. Add a can each of drained, diced pineapple chunks and mandarin oranges, ham instead of (or in addition to) the bacon, and slivered almonds instead of sunflower seeds. I also like to add blue cheese to this kind of salad, something about the tanginess of the cheese with the sweetness of the fruit that just blend so well together.
For dressing, think simply. You already will have a sweet flavor from the fruit juices. Consider sprinkling some red wine or balsamic vinegar along with some oregano, salt, and pepper. Or add a store-bought strawberry vinaigrette.
Make it extra crunchy: Okay, while this isn’t a “theme” I still love, love, love an extra crunch to my salads. To this end, I like to add a bag of sliced Brussels sprouts and cabbage to the greens for starters. Keep the sunflower seeds, and add to this thinly sliced apples or pears. A little gorgonzola or goat cheese and some dried cranberries will also make this salad sing. The dressing can remain the same.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTHIEST INGREDIENTS FOR A SALAD?
The following ingredients are some of the healthiest ones you can include in a salad. I’m all for moderation though, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you want to add in some cheese or croutons — I won’t tell!
- Red or green leaf lettuce
- Yellow peppers
- Beans and legumes
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Brussels sprouts
- Green peas
- Swiss chard
- Avocado oil
- Walnut oil
- Collard greens
Best Simple Tossed Green Salad
- 5 cups loosely packed mixed greens - or any favorite lettuce
- 2 tablespoons shelled sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup crumbled bacon - or bacon bits
- ¼ red onion - thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber - peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup dijon mustard
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup oil - I use extra virgin olive oil
- Combine dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake vigorously to combine.
- In a large bowl combine mixed greens, sunflower seeds, bacon, red onions, cucumbers. Just before serving add dressing to taste and toss to combine. Serve immediately after tossing with dressing.