How to Make a Great Salad

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Preview: Plain salads can get boring. Here’s how to make a great salad without a lot of extra work.

Springtime is salad time. While I enjoy a good salad all year long, as the weather warms up, it makes me crave them even more. But who wants plain, ole’ boring salads? Since, I typically eat one 4 or 5 days a week, I like to add some interesting ingredients for variety. You can use the list below to turn plain lettuce from ho-hum into a great salad.

A fresh salad for the New Year

If you have children that aren’t a huge fan of salads, try making a salad bar, where each person makes their own. When my youngest was three he didn’t like the lettuce. We started making him salads with everything else, using lots of the other vegetables. Slowly I would add a couple small pieces of lettuce to his plate. Each time we had salads, I would add a few more pieces of lettuce until eventually, he ate regular salads like the rest of us. He now loves all kinds of salads.

Below is a list of a variety of ingredients you can use to mix and match to make a great salad without a lot of work. This list is meant to inspire you to come up with some creations of your own. I don’t include all of these ingredients every time we have a salad bar, I just pick and choose a few to add interest and variety. Have fun making your favorite combinations!

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Garden salad with turkey
Garden salad with turkey

Suggested Ingredients to make a great salad

Lettuce and greens:

  • romaine
  • iceberg
  • green or red leaf
  • arugula
  • spinach
  • kale
  • cabbage
  • swiss chard


  • grilled chicken
  • ham
  • turkey
  • salami
  • grilled beef
  • BBQ
  • bacon
  • hard boiled eggs
  • chickpeas
  • beans


  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • onions
  • carrots
  • olives
  • mushrooms


  • sliced or diced apples
  • sliced or diced pears
  • mandarin oranges


  • croutons
  • french fried onions
  • sunflower seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • nuts-almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts
  • chow mein noodles
  • dried cranberries or raisins

Other add-ins:

  • leftover cooked pasta

Salad dressings:

This list is meant to inspire, not overwhelm you. Pick one or two ingredients from each category and let everyone build their own salad. This is a great way to get children to learn to eat a variety of vegetables.

Do you have any salad combinations you enjoy? Anything I should add to the list?

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