Ensalada Verde (Simple Green Salad) Recipe

Simple green salad

The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
204 Calories
19g Fat
9g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 204
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 112mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 19mg 95%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 531mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Regardless of the region or the season, a fresh green salad (ensalada verde) is never absent from a Spanish table at mealtime. Quick and easy, this is a basic salad recipe that includes tomatoes and red onion with a homemade dressing, and you can customize it in a variety of ways.

The key to this salad is in the dressing. Spaniards do not use bottled salad dressing and prefer simple oil and vinegar to creamy sauces on their salads. Following suit, this recipe includes a simple vinaigrette made of olive oil and red wine vinegar. It's an excellent use for high-quality extra-virgin olive oil and, if you want to keep it authentic to this salad's origins, be sure to look for one from Spain.

You can vary the salad with what's in season at the market or in your fridge or pantry at the moment. One quick option is to switch from romaine or iceberg lettuce alone and add different lettuce varieties and mixed greens. Butter lettuce and spinach are excellent options, and arugula is sure to give your salad's flavor a nice kick. You can also toss the salad with sliced cucumbers, green or black olives, capers, spring onions, or sweet peppers. If you like, top the salad with fresh herbs like parsley or mint for a garden-fresh finishing touch.

If you are serving the salad on a warm day, you may wish to sprinkle a bit of cold water on the salad to dilute the dressing and keep the salad colder. In fact, in some warmer parts of Spain, it is not unusual to use a wide, open, glass dish for salad and add ice cubes to keep it fresh during the meal.


  • 1 head romaine lettuce

  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes

  • 1 medium red onion

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or Spanish olive oil

  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 splash water, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make a green salad

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  2. Rinse the head of lettuce thoroughly and drain it well. Break or tear it into pieces into a large salad bowl.

    Pieces of romaine lettuce in a large bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  3. Cut the tomatoes into eighths.

    Slices tomatoes on a cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  4. Cut about a quarter of the red onion into very thin slices (cut more if you desire).

    Thin slices of red onion on a cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  5. Place tomatoes and onion on top of lettuce.

    A bowl of romaine lettuce topped with slices of tomato and red onion

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  6. Combine oil and vinegar in a bowl and whisk together.

    A small bowl of oil and vinegar

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  7. Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss. Sprinkle salt to taste and toss again. Add a splash of water if needed.

    A dressed green salad with tomatoes and red onions

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

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