Basic Tossed Salad With Homemade Croutons and Dressing

Tossed Salad With Croutons
Tossed Salad With Croutons. James Carrier/Getty Images
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
Ratings (4)

 This simple tossed salad is one that will go with just about any meal, any time of the year. The crunchy croutons are flavored with some garlic powder and dill or basil, and the simple red wine vinegar dressing couldn't be easier.

The salad is also extremely versatile. Dress it up or make it heartier with meat, hard-boiled eggs, or colorful vegetables. With the protein added, it makes a great supper salad for a hot summer evening!

I like the combination of romaine lettuce leaves, red leaf lettuce, and some radicchio or endive, but feel free to use your favorite greens. 

What You'll Need

  • For the Croutons:
  • 4 slices bread
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil (or dill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt to taste (kosher)
  • For the Salad:
  • 3 cups romaine lettuce leaves (torn)
  • 3 cups mixed greens (torn)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved or sliced or 2 medium tomatoes, diced)
  • 4 to 6 radishes (sliced)
  • 1 medium red onion (quartered and thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium carrot (julienned or shredded)
  • Optional: 1/2 cucumber (thinly sliced)
  • Optional: 1 can/4 ounces olives (sliced)
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • salt to taste (kosher)
  • black pepper to taste

How to Make It


  1. Heat the oven to 375 F (190 C/Gas 5).
  2. I leave the crust on the bread, but you can trim it if you prefer. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes and put in a bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the basil or dill; toss to coat. 
  3. Spread the bread cubes out on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with the garlic powder and some kosher salt. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, or just until browned.


    1. In a large bowl combine the romaine lettuce, mixed greens, tomatoes, radishes, onion, and carrot. Toss well. Top with sliced cucumbers and olives, if using. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.


    1. In a jar with a screw on top or another type of container with a lid, combine the 1/2 cup of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sugar. Shake to blend. Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Keep refrigerated until serving time.
    2. To serve the salad, dress and top with croutons or top individual servings with the croutons and pass the dressing at the table.

    Tips and Variations

    • Add about 1/2 cup of toasted slivered or sliced almonds or pecan halves for extra flavor and crunch.
    • Add crumbled bacon, grilled chicken strips, or diced cooked ham to the salad.
    • Add about 1/2 to 1 cup of shredded cheese to the salad or sprinkle the salad with crumbled feta cheese.
    • Omit the dressing and use a homemade buttermilk dressing, a balsamic and mustard vinaigrette, or a purchased salad dressing.

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    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    Calories 236
    Total Fat 19 g
    Saturated Fat 3 g
    Unsaturated Fat 14 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg
    Sodium 275 mg
    Carbohydrates 16 g
    Dietary Fiber 4 g
    Protein 3 g
    (The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)