No matter the time of year, sometimes we just crave crunchy greens, tender chard, or peppery arugula — common components of a well-composed salad. If you’ve ever struggled with reproducing, at home, the balance of flavors you find in your favorite restaurant salads, we're here to help, answering your questions about everything from dressings to greens, and sharing 50 of our favorite salad recipes.
Making a salad can be as easy as dumping a bag of prewashed greens into a bowl and dousing them with bottled dressing, but making a great salad requires some prep work. Look for seasonal ingredients at your local market. Lean on crunchy kale, grains, and citrus fruit salads in the cooler fall and winter months for bright, textured, and balanced salads. Then, transition to tender chard and spinach in the spring with juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and sweet corn in the summer. Remember to always season your greens; salt and pepper will go a long way in building layers of flavor.
When it comes to flavor, a well-balanced dressing is essential. For vinaigrettes, remember the rule of ratios: three parts oil to one part vinegar. For a creamy texture, create an emulsion. Whisk together your vinegar with Dijon, honey, or a combination of both (these two ingredients will add body to your dressing and help maintain the emulsion). Then, slowly incorporate the oil, whisking the entire time. Lastly, season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Check out this Dijon vinaigrette recipe for exact measurements.
Finally, consider the toppings. Choose a balance of flavors and textures for the most appealing salad. Crunchy croutons, creamy avocado, and smoky bacon can all contribute to a balance of taste and textures. Similarly, you can achieve a similar effect with smooth roasted acorn squash, crunchy pomegranates, and tangy blue cheese crumbles.
This year, we’ve rounded up 50 salads, including chicken, seafood, pasta, noodle, raw, easy, grain, and classic versions to help you work more fresh produce into your diet no matter the season.
Try a grilled chicken salad with spiced pecans, Gorgonzola, and peaches for a taste of summer stone fruit or a classic salade Niçoise with crunchy spring beans. Then there are classics, like a Caesar salad or the ultimate Cobb salad, that are perfect for any time of year.
Prep your favorite salad greens and vegetables, and check out the complete list of recipes to try one or more of our 50 favorite crunchy, balanced salad recipes for all seasons.