20 Best Side Salad Recipes

It's so easy being green!

Classic Wedge Salad

The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Crisp, cool, refreshing, healthy salads are a fabulous start to any meal and a great way to sneak extra nutrition into your family. We've rounded up the best side salad recipes here, focusing on those you can throw them together quickly and pair with just about every main course. From steakhouse classics such as Waldorf, wedge, and Caesar to delightfully fresh salads inspired by international cuisine, you'll find plenty of great ideas for getting in your greens.

  • 01 of 19

    Tossed Green Salad With Garlic Croutons

    Tossed Green Salad With Garlic Croutons

    The Spruce

    Salad greens? Check. Garlic herb croutons made from scratch? Check. Easy vinaigrette dressing? Check. Once you've learned the basics of making this must-know tossed green salad, you'll find yourself mixing it up again and again. It's a foolproof dish that is endlessly versatile—add ingredients like cooked chicken or shrimp to hard-boiled eggs, cheese, dried fruit, and nuts.

  • 02 of 19

    Daikon and Cucumber Sunomono Salad

    Japanese Cucumber and Daikon Salad (Sunomono)

    The Spruce

    Sunomono is the Japanese name for a light, refreshing, sweet, sour, crunchy cucumber salad. It is a popular, palate-cleansing appetizer in Japanese households and restaurants alike, and is a cinch to throw together right before the dinner hour. This version includes mildly peppery daikon radish rounds, which marinate along with cucumber slices in simple rice vinegar and sugar dressing.

  • 03 of 19

    Kachumber (Indian Cucumber Salad)

    Kachumber salad recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions are a popular salad combination in many countries. In India, the refreshing trio is known as kachumber. What sets this salad apart is its oil-free dressing, made with freshly-squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It also includes cilantro, radishes, cumin, and black pepper, for a gently spicy finish on the palate.

  • 04 of 19

    Wedge Salad

    Classic Wedge Salad

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Classic wedge salad is the perfect starter or side for romantic steak dinners and multi-course meals. A cold, refreshing wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with tangy, creamy blue cheese dressing, crumbled bacon, diced tomatoes, and pickled onions, it is elegant in its simplicity and offers balance to meaty mains.

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  • 05 of 19

    Panzanella Salad

    Panzanella Salad

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    Many cultures around the world have creative ways to use up old bread. The Italians of Tuscany invented panzanella salad, which turns going-stale Italian bread into deliciously crunchy croutons and combines them with fresh salad vegetables in a lemony vinaigrette dressing. It's a versatile starter salad that stands up well to Italian-inspired additions, from fresh mozzarella cheese balls to briny olives and capers.

  • 06 of 19

    Caesar Salad

    Caesar Salad

    YelenaYemchuk / Getty Images

    Every home cook needs to know how to whip up a Caesar salad. There's so much to love about this classic salad that tops crispy romaine lettuce leaves with soft-cooked eggs, crispy bacon, crunchy croutons, Parmesan cheese, and the famous Caesar dressing we have all come to know and love. It is an essential companion to lasagna, a great match for chicken Parmesan, and a satisfying meal on its own topped with shrimp or chicken strips.

  • 07 of 19

    Salmon Skin Salad

    Salmon Skin Salad

    The Spruce / Judy Ung

    When you poach salmon fillets, save the leftover skin for this popular Japanese restaurant-style salad that uses crispy salmon skin much like an American salad might include bacon bits. It is a refreshing and savory-tasting medley of mixed baby greens and fresh vegetables, all tossed in a flavorful citrus-soy dressing and topped with crunchy segments of broiled or grilled salmon skin.

  • 08 of 19

    Fig and Kale Salad

    Fig and Kale Salad

    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

    Tender, ripe figs bring their wonderful, honeyed fruit flavor to this healthy kale and mixed greens salad. With chunks of ripe, creamy avocado, slender zucchini ribbons, and sweet shredded carrot, it is an easy and delicious way to get in your superfoods.

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  • 09 of 19

    Greek Salad

    Greek Salad

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    Everyone knows the iconic Greek salad with feta cheese and olives, which has traveled far from its Mediterranean home to conquer salad bars worldwide. Using real Greek feta, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and fresh oregano leaves instead of dried are the Greek restaurant tricks for taking this popular side salad from ordinary to extraordinary.

  • 10 of 19

    French Bistro Salad With Warm Goat Cheese Croutes

    French Bistro Salad With Warm Goat Cheese Croutes

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

    If you think goat cheese always needs to be crumbled, this French bistro-style salad will make you see this dairy ingredient in a whole new way. It has you slice the tangy cheese (which comes packed in a long tube) into thick rounds, which you then coat in panko breadcrumbs, and bake or brown in a pan, creating a fabulously warm, crispy, creamy topping that instantly elevates lightly-dressed lettuce leaves.

  • 11 of 19

    Asparagus Butter Lettuce Salad With Pistachios

    Asparagus Butter Lettuce Salad With Pistachios

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    In springtime, when fresh asparagus is abundant, pick some up to use in this elegant butter lettuce side salad. You don't even have to cook the asparagus—simply trim and thinly slice it before tossing with sweet butter lettuce leaves in a citrusy vinaigrette dressing. Sprinkle on some fresh mozzarella balls and chopped pistachios, and you've got a first-course salad worthy of your most important dinners.

  • 12 of 19

    Fennel Avocado Salad

    Fennel Avocado Salad

    The Spruce

    Who knew that just a few, wholesome ingredients could deliver so much pleasing taste? This healthful winter salad with thinly-sliced, licorice-like fennel, buttery, ripe avocado, and pungent red onion is a fantastic starter for holiday meals. You'll love the way the avocado melts into the easy vinaigrette dressing to coat all the leaves with its creamy goodness.

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  • 13 of 19

    Strawberry Spinach Salad

    Easy Strawberry Spinach Salad

    Lesyy / Getty Images 

    Come for the juicy strawberries and healthy fresh baby spinach leaves, and stay for the insanely delicious honey-cinnamon dressing. There's just so much to love about this simply delicious spinach salad with pretty, red berries. It looks great on the table and is a nice, light starter for any meal from barbecue to fine dining.

  • 14 of 19

    Caprese Salad

    Caprese Salad

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    The famous caprese salad is red, white, and green like the Italian flag and has all the fresh flavor you crave in a summer starter. It makes an excellent starter for any meal, particularly pasta dinners. Enjoy it any time of year with potted basil, fresh mozzarella from the supermarket (or your local cheesemonger), ripe, juicy hothouse tomatoes, and a nice sweet balsamic vinaigrette.

  • 15 of 19

    Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans

    Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Colorful roasted beet salad with tangy goat cheese and crunchy pecans is a great red and green salad for your Christmas dinner, but you could enjoy it any time of the year. Save prep time by roasting the beets up to a week in advance and mixing up the dressing a day or two before. When ready to eat, simply assemble the ingredients in a bowl, give them a good toss, and serve.

  • 16 of 19

    Shrimp Avocado Salad

    Shrimp Avocado Salad

    The Spruce / Jennifer Perillo

    Plump, pink shrimp and creamy avocado slices are a flavor and textural match made in heaven. Enjoy the combination in an easy, summery shrimp salad that makes a great alternative to ceviche when you serve Mexican-style mains. It takes mere minutes to steam or saute raw shrimp, but you could also use pre-cooked shrimp from the store as an easy shortcut.

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  • 17 of 19

    Waldorf Salad

    Waldorf Salad

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

    With a storied past that dates back to New York City in the 19th century, the Waldorf salad is a starter with a pedigree. This is the classic recipe, with lightly sweetened apples, celery, and walnuts in a whipped cream and mayonnaise dressing. Feel free to add any salad greens you enjoy to build it out or sprinkle the salad with dried cranberries to serve at holiday meals.

  • 18 of 19

    Crunchy Broccoli Salad

    Crunchy Broccoli Salad

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Raisins, sunflower seeds, and a tangy, slightly sweetened mayonnaise dressing make this kid-pleasing broccoli salad a great idea anytime. Serve it for a healthier weekday lunch or for dinner with mac and cheese. This recipe includes frozen peas for fun, but you can leave them out if you (or the kids) prefer.

  • 19 of 19

    Pear Salad With Walnuts and Gorgonzola

    Pear Salad With Walnuts and Gorgonzola

    Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

    Crisp, creamy, crunchy, and sweet, this sophisticated pear side salad has it all. Sweet, juicy fresh pears, rich Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, nutty toasted walnuts, and chewy raisins mingle with mixed salad greens in a light and lemony vinaigrette. It's a great salad for holiday dinners or a starter that will class up your table at any time of year.