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A restaurant-worthy mixed green salad that you can make at home, any night of the week! You’ll love the combination of crisp lettuce, salted, toasted almonds, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, red onion and Parmesan cheese in a quick and zippy homemade red wine vinaigrette dressing. Serve the salad as a side dish with grilled salmon, pizza, steak, or a classic lasagna. Alternatively, turn the salad into an entrée by topping it with meat or seafood and pairing it with a side of crusty baguette. It’s fresh, delicious and full of flavor!

Close overhead shot of a bowl of the best green salad recipe served with homemade vinaigrette dressing

Simple Green Salad

I’m finally getting around to sharing the simple green salad that makes an appearance on our dinner table at least once a week! If I’m not serving a house salad with candied pecans or a classic Caesar salad, then odds are good that this mixed greens version is on the menu. Salads are just a great side to pair with heartier meat or pasta-based entrees, since they’re cool, crisp and light. The tangy, acidic vinaigrette dressing also serves as a nice contrast to richer foods.

What is a green garden salad?

A green garden salad is a generic name for any tossed green salad that features lettuce leaves, garden fresh veggies, and often nuts, cheese or croutons. This combination of greens, vegetables, nuts and cheese is a basic, flavorful blend of ingredients that I always have in my fridge. Of course, you can mix it up with a different type of dressing, with different varieties of cheese, alternative greens, other veggies, or different types of nuts. The recipe is really flexible and should just serve as inspiration for your own concoction on any given weeknight!

Chopped fresh vegetables on a cutting board

Green Salad Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a simple green salad. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Lettuce: I like a container of mixed baby greens, but chopped Romaine is also a favorite.
  • Tomatoes: sweet, halved cherry or grape tomatoes add a bright, juicy, colorful touch.
  • Celery: for fresh, crisp crunch.
  • Cucumber: we prefer English cucumber because the seeds are small and the exterior is thin, so you don’t even need to peel them!
  • Red onion: for a zesty bite and a touch of color. Finely dice the onion or cut it into very thin slices so that it’s not overpowering.
  • Slivered almonds: toasted and salted for satisfying crunch and nutty flavor. You can substitute with pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
  • Parmesan cheese: freshly-grated or shaved is best! You can also use crumbled feta, blue cheese, or goat cheese if you prefer.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to season both the salad and the dressing.
Toasted slivered almonds on a plate

Mixed Green Salad Dressing — Red Wine Vinaigrette

The dressing is one of the most important additions to a salad, and this classic (and simple!) red wine vinaigrette could not be easier. Just combine the red wine vinegar, honey, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl, slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking, and your job is done. You’ll never want a store-bought bottle again! Plus, this dressing keeps well in the fridge for at least a week, so you can double the ingredients to keep a bigger batch on hand.

Homemade red wine vinaigrette in a bowl with a whisk

How to Make Green Salad

Prep the dressing and nuts in advance, then store the ingredients in your kitchen so that you can whip up a quick restaurant-quality green salad in minutes!

  1. Toast and salt the almonds; let them cool.
  2. Whisk together the dressing.
  3. Assemble the salad by arranging the lettuce greens on a serving platter, in a large bowl, or on individual plates. Top the lettuce with the tomatoes, celery, cucumber, red onion, almonds and Parmesan.
  4. Season the salad with salt and pepper or with all-purpose seasoning.
  5. Drizzle the dressing over top and serve immediately.
Pouring red wine vinaigrette on salad

Serving Suggestions

This versatile salad is fancy enough for entertaining and holiday tables, but also simple enough to serve as your regular “house” salad on a busy weeknight. You can turn it into an entrée with the addition of grilled fishscallopstuna saladgrilled chicken, shrimp, or rotisserie chicken, but we typically enjoy it as a side dish. Here are some delicious dinners that will pair nicely with the salad:

Overhead square image of a bowl of mixed green salad on a wooden table with a side of parmesan

Make Ahead

Serve the salad immediately after dressing so that the lettuce and nuts are crisp and crunchy, not soggy. If you’d like to prep ahead, you can make the salad dressing at least a week in advance. Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. You can also make the toasted almonds in advance and store them in an airtight jar in your pantry for about a month.

Recipe Variations

  • Prepare a double batch of the dressing and keep it stored in the refrigerator for at least a week. This makes quick weeknight salads even easier!
  • Swap out the red wine vinaigrette and instead use balsamic vinaigrette, buttermilk dressing, poppy seed dressing, Ranch, Green Goddess dressing, a classic Caesar, or pepper jelly vinaigrette. A bottle of your favorite store-bought salad dressing is fine, too!
  • Instead of the mixed spring greens, use chopped iceberg lettuce, spinach, or Romaine lettuce.
  • Pick any of your favorite fresh garden veggies. For instance, omit the celery and use bell peppers, radishes, or carrots. I often just grab whatever is lingering in the fridge!
  • I love the great crunch and the toasty flavor from the slivered almonds, but any nuts are great. Other good options include pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. Toasted and salted is the key, though!
  • Just about any cheese will work, too. In lieu of the Parmesan, try feta, blue cheese or goat cheese.
  • Add croutons! It’s not always available, but if I have a loaf of crusty bread on the counter, I love to make these delicious croutons in a cast iron skillet.
Side shot of a green salad in front of a white brick wall

Tips for the Best Green Salad Recipe

  • To quickly toast the almonds, place them on a microwave-safe plate and cook on HIGH until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown. This usually takes a total of about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Add kosher salt to the nuts while they’re still warm!
  • Slowly stream the olive oil into the dressing while whisking. This helps the vinaigrette emulsify.
  • Feel free to adjust the quantities of the different ingredients to suit your tastes. I typically just “eyeball” it!
  • Season the salad with salt and pepper before you add the dressing. This extra seasoning enhances the other flavors in the dish. Try seasoning the greens with our favorite all-purpose house seasoning for even more great flavor!
  • Keep a jar of the toasted, salted almonds in your fridge or pantry for up to a month. The dressing will keep in the fridge for at least 1 week (probably longer). Having these two ingredients prepped and ready to go makes last-minute weeknight salads quick and easy.
Close up side shot of a mixed green salad

More Easy Green Salad Recipes to Try

Close overhead shot of a bowl of the best green salad recipe served with homemade vinaigrette dressing

Green Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 237 kcal
A restaurant-worthy mixed green salad that you can make at home, any night of the week! You'll love the fresh veggies, toasted almonds, and Parmesan cheese in a quick and zippy homemade red wine vinaigrette!

Ingredients
  

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 10 ounces mixed baby greens (or other lettuce of choice)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 seedless English cucumber, chopped
  • ½ of a red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or substitute with other cheese such as crumbled feta or crumbled blue cheese)
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper or all-purpose seasoning

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:

  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pressed or finely minced garlic (about 1 large clove or 2 small cloves)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil

Instructions

  • Toast the almonds until deep golden brown, then sprinkle with kosher salt while they’re still warm. I do this in the microwave by placing the almonds on a microwave-safe plate. Cook on high power for a total of about 2 minutes, stirring the nuts every 30 seconds. Season with kosher salt and let cool.
  • Place greens in a large serving bowl. Add tomatoes, celery, cucumber, red onion, almonds and cheese. Season with salt and pepper or with all-purpose seasoning.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. While continuing to whisk, gradually stream in the olive oil until all of the ingredients are completely combined.
  • Drizzle the salad with dressing, toss and serve!

Notes

  • Slowly stream the olive oil into the dressing while whisking. This helps the vinaigrette emulsify.
  • Feel free to adjust the quantities of the different ingredients to suit your tastes. I typically just “eyeball” it!
  • Season the salad with salt and pepper before you add the dressing. This extra seasoning enhances the other flavors in the dish. Try seasoning the greens with our favorite all-purpose house seasoning for even more great flavor!
  • Keep a jar of the toasted, salted almonds in your fridge or pantry for up to a month. 
  • Prepare a double batch of the dressing and keep it stored in the refrigerator for at least a week.
  • Swap out the red wine vinaigrette and instead use balsamic vinaigrette, buttermilk dressing, poppy seed dressing, Ranch, Green Goddess dressing, a classic Caesar, or pepper jelly vinaigrette. A bottle of your favorite store-bought salad dressing is fine, too!
  • Instead of the mixed spring greens, use chopped iceberg lettuce, spinach, or Romaine lettuce.
  • Pick any of your favorite fresh garden veggies. For instance, omit the celery and use bell peppers, radishes, or carrots. I often just grab whatever is lingering in the fridge!
  • I love the great crunch and the toasty flavor from the slivered almonds, but any nuts are great. Other good options include pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. Toasted and salted is the key, though!
  • Just about any cheese will work, too. In lieu of the Parmesan, try feta, blue cheese or goat cheese.
  • Add croutons! It’s not always available, but if I have a loaf of crusty bread on the counter, I love to make these delicious croutons in a cast iron skillet.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the salad and dressingCalories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 4gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 184mgPotassium: 399mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1285IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 87mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: green salad, mixed green salad, red wine vinaigrette, simple green salad
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Hi,
    I have made this salad & dressing many times.
    So delicious. But I’m having trouble printing the receipe.

    Can you please send me a link or something so I can print it?

    Thanks
    Rabbit

    1. Hi Rabbit,
      We’re sorry you’re having trouble printing. Have you tried refreshing your page and clearing your cache?
      Here is another link. If that still doesn’t work, please let us know!