How to Make a Healthy Side Salad

Get the Recipe: Chicken & Fruit Salad

40+ simple ideas and ingredients to jazz up your healthy side salads.

Add a salad to your meal to pack more vegetable servings into your day. And when you make a salad with a variety of colors, you get an array of healthful nutrients. These mix-and-match salad ideas will re-invigorate your salad routine. Pick from each category to build a delicious salad that serves 4.

Watch: See our easy power salad


Salad Greens

Get Started

Start with 4 cups of greens. Greens are full of fiber, which helps digestion. Combine different types to balance textures and flavors. Some of our favorites to toss into salads:

Arugula is an aromatic green that lends a peppery mustard flavor to salads.
Belgian endive has compact, slender, elongated heads with cream-colored leaves that have yellow or pink tips.
Butterhead lettuces (Boston and Bibb) are soft, buttery-textured lettuces with mild flavor.
Escarole is a type of chicory with tender, broad, pale green leaves that can be eaten raw or lightly cooked.
Leaf lettuces are lettuces that grow leaves from a single stalk rather than forming a tight head.
Radicchio heads have thick purple-red leaves streaked with white veins. Try it along with other salad greens to balance its bitter flavor.
Romaine grows in tall, cylindrical heads and is the lettuce of choice for Caesar salad.
Spinach is a tender, mild-flavored green. Baby spinach is harvested earlier than large-leaved mature spinach. Remove the tough stems from mature spinach.

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Add Vegetables

Add Vegetables

Add a total of 1 cup of vegetables for crunch, flavor and color. The more colors of vegetables you add, the more disease-fighting nutrients you get. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

Artichoke hearts (canned), chopped
Beets, raw, shredded, or cooked or canned pickled, diced
Bell pepper, diced
Broccoli or cauliflower, chopped
Cabbage (red), shredded
Carrots, shredded
Corn kernels, fresh or frozen (thawed)
Cucumbers, sliced
Onion (red), slivered
Peas, frozen (thawed)
Radishes, sliced
Scallions, sliced
Snow peas, thinly sliced
Tomatoes, diced, or grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

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Sprinkle with Add-Ons

Sprinkle with Add-Ons

Avocado, diced
Bacon, cooked, crumbled
Beans (canned), rinsed
Cheese, such as blue, feta, Cheddar, Parmesan, Asiago or Swiss, shredded or crumbled
Croutons, whole-wheat
Eggs, hard-boiled, chopped
Dried fruit, such as raisins, currants or cranberries, or chopped dried apricots, pineapple or mangoes
Nuts, toasted, chopped
Olives, chopped or sliced

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Homemade Salad Dressing

Toss With Dressing

Toss with 1/4 cup dressing. Fats in the dressing make it easier for you to absorb fat-soluble nutrients like lycopene in tomatoes and lutein and zeaxanthin in yellow and green veggies, including corn and zucchini. Plus when you make your own vinaigrette you can opt for olive or canola oil instead of soy oil or sunflower oil, which are found in most bottled dressings and are full of omega-6 fatty acids.

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