Don’t underestimate the charm of an easy Garden Salad, made with lots of leafy greens and crunchy, colorful vegetables. No matter the season, you can toss up a simple green salad in minutes with a handful of fresh ingredients and the homemade salad dressing of your choice. 

Easy garden salad on a white platter.

Need an easy Garden Salad for a crowd? Once you get back from the farmer’s market, just click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

What’s a garden salad made of?

  • At its most basic, it consists of lettuce with assorted raw vegetables and dressing. Things can go way beyond that garden salad description, though.
  • Lettuces: Iceberg, baby greens, spinach, chicory, endive, arugula, Romaine, Bibb, butter leaf
  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, celery, tender beets, green beans, peas, onions, edamame
  • Proteins: Bacon bits, hard-boiled egg, tofu
  • Cheese: Crumbled feta, blue cheese, grated Parmesan, shredded cheddar, goat cheese
  • Extras: Croutons, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds, olives, dried fruit
  • Dressing: That’s almost worth a topic all by itself. You can dress your salad up with the dressing you like the best, store-bought or homemade. If everyone at the table has a different opinion, you can simply toss the salad without dressing and let them choose their own.

Creamy dressing or vinaigrette? That’s all up to you. These days, I’m especially passionate about Homemade Ranch, made with buttermilk, mayo, and lots of herbs.

How to make a Garden Salad:

You’ll need a big bowl and some tongs or a salad serving set, maybe even the kind with individual salad bowls, so dig them out! 

  1. Before you begin, rinse and pat dry all the vegetables and lettuce. Tear the lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces.  Then chop any raw vegetables into uniform, bite-sized pieces, too.
    Lettuce, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, and beats all in a pile.
  2. Once everything is prepped, add it to the bowl. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle the dressing of your choice over the salad and toss to combine.

Tips for making the best garden salad ever:

  • Chill your ingredients. If you bought cold produce, keep it cold. Lettuce stays crisp, onions stay firm, etc.
  • Toss at the last minute. When you’re planning on making a large tossed salad for a crowd, wait until the last minute to pour on the dressing. The acidity in the dressing can wilt the greens.
  • Don’t be afraid to season. Sometimes I add a pinch or two of salt to the salad as I’m tossing it in the dressing. It clings to the leaves and adds a little extra flavor to every bite.
  • Onions. Onions and other alliums really boost the flavor of a basic green salad. Don’t go overboard and make everyone have onion breath for a week, but definitely don’t skimp on them either.
  • Improvise. Don’t be afraid to substitute an ingredient for another one. It will taste great!
  • Put the extras on last. Once you’re done, sprinkle on the croutons, bacon bits, seeds, or extra crumbles. Save them for the top so they don’t sink to the bottom and get lost.
    Ranch dressing being poured onto an easy garden salad in a clear bowl.

Making seasonal Garden Salads:

Whatever the month, you can find a delicious way to turn seasonal produce into a healthy salad. Since garden salads don’t necessarily have any “rules,” you can get creative.  I love using up leftover roasted vegetables, snippets of fresh herbs, or dried fruit in a garden salad, too. For example…

  • Spring. Bibb lettuce, pea shoots, radishes, peas, baby carrots, egg
  • Summer. Summer Romaine, tomatoes, red onion, fresh dill, cucumbers
  • Autumn. Arugula, roasted butternut squash, apples, walnuts, dried cranberries
  • Winter. Spinach, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, croutons

Did you enjoy this recipe? Please leave a rating and a comment below!

Easy garden salad on a white platter.

Easy Garden Salad Recipe

Don't underestimate the charm of an easy Garden Salad, made with lots of leafy greens and crunchy, colorful vegetables. No matter the season, you can toss up a simple green salad in minutes with a handful of fresh ingredients and the homemade salad dressing of your choice. 
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 51

Ingredients 

For the ranch dressing (or substitute store-bought):

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon red onion minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley minced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 8 cups lettuce leaves such as romaine green leaf, or iceberg, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 endive bulb cored and chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved lengthwise
  • 4 radishes ends trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 carrots peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced
  • 2 Persian cucumbers or 1 hot house cucumber halved lengthwise and chopped

Instructions 

To make the ranch dressing (or substitute store-bought):

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, red onion, dill, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper). Refrigerate at least 10 minutes to blend flavors. Whisk to recombine before serving.

To make the salad:

  • In a large bowl, combine lettuce, endive, tomatoes, radishes, carrots, and cucumbers. Drizzle with salad dressing and toss until evenly coated.

Recipe Video

Nutrition

Calories: 51kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 43mgPotassium: 709mgFiber: 6gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 11384IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 2mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips! I am making this over the weekend, I have never tried this mix of ingredients and am excited.5 stars

  2. This site was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Cheers!

  3. Love that fresh crunchy taste to this salad! Really like that this recipe makes me feel full afterwards, too!5 stars