How to Make a Delicious Side Salad


Over time (with some experimentation!) I have learned what a delicious salad tastes like. 

Gone are the days of pale iceberg lettuce, sad-looking tomatoes and thick heavy dressings! 

Hello to fresh ingredients that leave you feeling satisfied without weighing you down.

We decided this year to grow a little vegetable garden in our backyard. We got an elevated 4’x4’ bed and filled it with some rich compost and planted some seeds. And you should see it! By early June we had quite a start.


Last weekend my boys and I harvested the baby kale. The neighbor children all came to help, and we found ourselves eating lettuce straight from the garden. I cannot even explain how much better our organic lettuce tasted compared to store-bought! We are also members of a CSA, so we are up to our ears in lettuce. Hooray!

In an effort to get my kids to eat more salad, I decided to teach my son William about how to make a delicious salad. It’s so easy a seven-year-old can do it . . . which means you can too!

I find a mix of textures and flavors to be the best bet when it comes to salad. On the weekends, I often find myself making a “kitchen sink salad” for family lunch where I just combine a bunch of random leftovers into one unique creation.  Add some leftover protein and you have a complete meal in about 5 minutes.

Here are the basic components:

  •  Lettuce (baby kale, Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale, spinach, beet greens, frisee, mustard greens, boston lettuce, red/green-leaf lettuce)

  • Crunchy fat – raw or toasted

    • Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin/pepitas, hemp, flax)

    • Nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, pine nuts)

  • Something sweet

    • Fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries, apple, pear)

    • Dried fruit (dried cherries, raisins/sultanas, dried cranberries)

  • Vegetables

    • Savory roasted vegetables (leftover roasted broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes mushrooms, potatoes)

    • Fresh vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, celery, shaved fennel or kohlrabi, peppers)



And when it comes to dressing, you just need a few key components:

  • Fat (extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, tahini, avocado, whole yogurt)

  • Acid (juice of lemon/lime/orange/grapefruit, apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, whole yogurt)

  • Salt (coarse sea/kosher salt, miso, nutritional yeast, cheese, mashed anchovies)

  • Spice (pepper, garlic, Dijon mustard, shallots, Siracha, smoked paprika, fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill)

  • Sweet (honey, maple syrup, juice of a fruit)

  • Water to thin to desired consistency

 So there you have it! Now get to creating your lunch feast!


Serves 2- 4


8 cups lettuce, chopped

¼ cup seeds, raw or toasted

¼ cup nuts, sliced/chopped, raw or toasted

¼ cup dried fruit, chopped or ½ cup fresh fruit

1 cup roasted vegetables


Salad Dressing

Juice of 1 lemon or 2 Tbsp vinegar

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste




Lightly toast nuts and/or seeds in a pan over medium-low heat until golden, then let cool for a few minutes. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk salad dressing in a large cup and toss salad right before eating.