This green salad recipe is simple, but it's still packed with delicious textures and flavors. It's a perfect side dish - you can serve it with almost anything!
We all need a good green salad recipe in our back pocket…which is why I can’t believe that in almost 10(!) years of blogging, I haven’t shared a simple green salad until today. That’s not to say that there’s a shortage of salad recipes on the site (broccoli salad, pasta salad, or avocado salad, anyone?). But it has been missing a quick, refreshing salad that you can toss together at the last minute and serve with almost anything.
Well, let me introduce you to my favorite green salad recipe. It’s simple, but it doesn’t skimp at all on texture or flavor. I toss in avocado for creamy richness, Parmesan cheese for nutty, salty flavor, and tamari roasted almonds for crunch. To bring it all together, I drizzle on my go-to lemon vinaigrette. It makes this salad zingy, bright, and oh-so-versatile. It pairs just as nicely with pasta as it does with a veggie burger, and it tastes great with classic brunch fare too. If you need a last-minute side dish to round out your Easter menu this weekend, this green salad would be perfect.
How to Prepare a Simple Green Salad
Great green salad recipes start with great greens. Though I love a good kale salad or mixed greens salad as much as the next person, when I’m making a simple, refreshing side salad, I like to use lettuce as the base.
Look for lettuces that have soft leaves and crisp stems with no discoloration. I especially like the flavor and texture of Butter lettuces like Boston and Bibb, but tender leaf or romaine lettuce would work well here too. Use whatever looks best. The more varieties, the merrier!
When you’re ready to make the salad, pull the lettuce leaves apart, and wash and dry them well. To avoid bruising or tearing the leaves, I recommend using a salad spinner for this step (I have this one). With it, you’ll be able to get the leaves almost perfectly dry in no time!
If you don’t have a salad spinner, spread the washed lettuce on a kitchen towel to dry while you prepare the other salad components.
Toppings and Variations
After I prep my greens, I finish this recipe with thinly sliced cucumbers, avocado, shaved Parmesan, and savory roasted nuts. My basic lemon vinaigrette ties it all together.
It’s a fantastic combination – the cucumbers are crisp and refreshing, the avocado is rich and creamy, the Parmesan is salty, and the toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds add a delicious crunch. That being said, this recipe is flexible. Feel free to experiment with different toppings or another salad dressing. Here are a few ways I like to change it up:
- Switch the cheese. Swap the Parmesan for salty feta or goat cheese. Or skip the cheese to make this recipe vegan.
- Add something sweet. A sprinkle of dried cranberries or cherries would be great here.
- Or extra crunch. Toss in homemade croutons or crispy roasted chickpeas.
- Go nut-free. Replace the almonds with more pepitas, or use a mix of pepitas and sunflower seeds.
- Try another dressing. The sky’s the limit! Drizzle on green goddess, tahini dressing, honey mustard dressing, homemade Italian dressing, vegan ranch dressing, Greek salad dressing, etc. If there’s a dressing you love, you can use it on this salad.
- Pile on extra veggies, like crisp radishes, juicy cherries tomatoes, or julienned carrots. In the spring, blanched asparagus would be a great choice too.
Let me know what variations you try!
Green Salad Serving Suggestions
Because you’re working with tender lettuces and avocado, which has a tendency to brown, this salad is best if you assemble it right before you eat. If you want to get ahead, you can wash and dry the lettuce a day in advance and store it, well-wrapped, in the fridge. You can also roast the nuts ahead of time and store them, loosely covered, at room temperature. The dressing is make ahead-friendly, too! Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Serve this green salad as a side dish with almost any meal – a weeknight dinner, a special occasion dinner, a festive brunch, or a summer cookout. It pairs well with just about anything. I love to make it for dinner when I’m serving pasta, pizza, or cookout fare like veggie burgers, black beans burgers, or BBQ jackfruit sandwiches.
If you’re serving it for brunch, try pairing it with any of these savory recipes:
- Vegetable Frittata (5 ways!)
- Healthy Breakfast Casserole
- Best Shakshuka
- Mini Frittata Muffins
- Homemade Bagels with Vegan Carrot Lox
Round out the meal with something sweet, like Chocolate Chip Muffins, Blueberry Scones, Cinnamon Rolls, or a stack of pancakes or French toast. For more brunch recipes, check out this post! (Oh, and don’t forget the mimosas to drink…)
More Green Salad Recipes
If you love this simple green salad, try one of these green salad recipes next:
- Bright Spring Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Homemade Caesar Salad
- Pear Salad with Balsamic and Walnuts
- Sweet Potato Salad
- Healthy Taco Salad
- Kale Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing
For even more salad recipes, check out this post!
Simple Green Salad
- 2 small heads of soft lettuce, butter lettuce or similar
- Lemon Vinaigrette, half recipe
- 1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons pepitas
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup microgreens
- Flaky sea salt, optional
Roasted Tamari Almonds
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ tablespoon tamari
- Roast the almonds: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the almonds on the sheet and toss with tamari. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Assemble the salad. In a large bowl toss the lettuce with a few spoonfuls of the dressing. Add the cucumber, parmesan, pepitas, avocado, and tamari almonds. Drizzle with more dressing and top with microgreens. Season to taste with flaky sea salt, if desired.