23 Easy Green Salads

In need of a quick, refreshing starter or side? Try one of these simple green salad recipes.

After spending hours preparing a challenging main course, few of us have the stamina to tackle a complicated salad. And why bother when our best green salad recipes rely on a simple formula to deliver satisfying flavor and texture? All you really need are three basic kinds of ingredients: greens + something crunchy, cheesy, or chewy + dressing.

Of course, there are as many types of green salads as there are salad greens. Bitter endive and chicory shine when balanced with sweet or fatty garnishes (think nuts, fruit, cheese, or egg). And though sturdy lettuces like iceberg, romaine, and kale can stand up to heavy, creamy dressings, delicate microgreens, mesclun, and herbs call for thinner vinaigrettes.

We may call these “green salad recipes,” but you should think of them more as “green salad ideas.” Feel free to swap out our suggested leafy greens for whatever’s in your crisper drawer. Add and subtract toppings at will. The point is to suit your palate, the easiest way possible.

Cilantro and Peanut Salad (Huāshēngmĭ bàn xiāngcài)

cilantro peanut salad
Due to its long, cold winters and hot, dry summers, Xinjiang is not renowned for its vegetable dishes, but fast-growing produce like spinach and cilantro often make it to the table during the brief respites between seasons. This refreshing salad is a perfect to accompaniment to fatty grilled meats. Use the most delicate cilantro you can find, so the stems can be eaten along with the leaves. Get the recipe for Cilantro and Peanut Salad (Huāshēngmĭ bàn xiāngcài) »Matt Taylor-Gross

Shredded Collard Green Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Collard Green Salad, Senegalese Thanksgiving
The flavor of raw collard greens combines perfectly with tender roasted sweet potatoes and tangy, rich goat cheese in this hearty starter. Get the recipe for Shredded Collard Green Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Cashews »Ryan Liebe

Mesclun Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Mesclun Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Mesclun—a combination of slightly bitter baby greens and other greens like mizuna, arugula, and oak leaf—became all the rage in restaurants during the 1990s, eventually making its way onto supermarket produce shelves across the United States. This recipe incorporates other popular ingredients—goat cheese, pecans, dried cranberries—all dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. Get the recipe for Mesclun Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette »Farideh Sadeghin

Arugula Cashew Pesto Salad

Arugula cashew pesto salad
A chunky cashew pesto made with sharp, pungent Västerbotten cheese is tossed with chopped arugula to yield an unctuous salad with a robust umami flavor. Get the recipe for Arugula Cashew Pesto Salad »Farideh Sadeghin

Puntarelle & Dandelion Green Salad with Honey-Olive Vinaigrette

PUNTARELLE & DANDELION GREEN SALAD WITH HONEY-OLIVE VINAIGRETTE
Dandelion greens and sturdy, slightly bitter puntarelle (an Italian chicory) stand up to honey-mustard vinaigrette in this assertive spring salad. Get the recipe for Puntarelle & Dandelion Green Salad with Honey-Olive Vinaigrette »SAVEUR

Turnip Salad with Green Grape Vinaigrette

Turnip Salad with Green Grape Vinaigrette
Ideally, you want unripe green wine grapes for this recipe by cookbook author Amy Thielen, but grocery store green grapes will also work. The caramel-coated pumpkin seeds lend a bittersweet crunch to the bright, crisp turnips and peppery arugula. Get the recipe for Turnip Salad with Green Grape Vinaigrette »William Hereford

Apple and Kale Salad with Black Sesame and Cashews

Apple and Kale Salad with Black Sesame and Cashews
Crunchy cashews coated with maple syrup and sesame seeds, and a boldly piquant dressing of Shanxi vinegar, add texture and verve to the classic kale salad. Get the recipe for Apple and Kale Salad with Black Sesame and Cashews »Matt Taylor-Gross

Blue Cheese, Grape, and Gem Lettuce Salad

Blue Cheese, Grape, and Gem Lettuce Salad
Sweetly acidic green grapes off-set the funk of creamy Danish blue cheese in this seasonal salad tossed together with a creamy cider vinegar–walnut dressing. Get the recipe for Blue Cheese, Grape, and Gem Lettuce Salad »Anders Schonnemann

Roasted Parsnip Salad with Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese, and Wheat Beer Vinaigrette

Roasted Parsnip Salad with Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese, and Wheat Beer Vinaigrette
Parsnips offer sweetness, while spicy hazelnuts and coarse pumpernickel crumbs add crunch, to this modern salad from New German Cooking (Chronicle Books, January 2015) by Jeremy and Jessica Nolen. Get the recipe for Roasted Parsnip Salad with Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese, and Wheat Beer Vinaigrette »Ingalls Photography

Endive and Walnut Salad

Endive and Walnut Salad
A zingy sherry-Dijon vinaigrette offsets the bitterness of the endives and cuts through the richness of the nuts and cheese in this rustic French salad. Get the recipe for Endive and Walnut Salad »Clark Wood

Tricolore Salad with Grapefruit Saba Vinaigrette

Tricolore Salad with Grapefruit Saba Vinaigrette
Grapefruit supremes (segments of pulp separated from the membrane) and aged balsamic vinegar brighten this classic Italian salad from author Dana Bowen. Get the recipe for Tricolore Salad with Grapefruit Saba Vinaigrette »André Baranowski

Purslane and Herb Salad

Purslane and Herb Salad
Purslane, a sour-tasting green, forms the backbone of this refreshing herb salad from cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy, but watercress can be used in its place. Get the recipe for Purslane and Herb Salad »Helen Cathcart

Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad

Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad
For a twist on the classic Waldorf salad, try tossing sweet apples with crisp watercress and nutty kohlrabi in a sumac-infused yogurt dressing. Get the recipe for Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad »Helen Rosner

Kale and Citrus Salad

Kale and Citrus Salad
A bright, flavorful, and not too heavy winter salad combines some of the best cold-weather flavors—kale, orange, and pumpkin seeds—with sweet honey and airy ricotta. Get the recipe for Kale and Citrus Salad »Helen Rosner

Baby Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette

Baby Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette
This quick, zesty kale salad from Florida chef Jeffery Jew gets a decadent touch from rich pine nuts and ribbons of parmesan cheese. Get the recipe for Baby Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette »Andé Baranowski

Spinach Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette
Be sure to use large, mature spinach with thick stems, not bagged baby spinach, to make this salad. The leaves' hardy texture and earthy flavor will stand up to the pungent vinaigrette. Get the recipe for Spinach Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette »Caitlin Santomauro

Crunchy Spring Salad

Crunchy Spring Salad
Celery, radishes, and fennel bring the crunch in this green salad tossed in a bright lemon vinaigrette. Get the recipe for Crunchy Spring Salad »D.J. Costantino

Chicory and Herb Salad with Apple, Pomegranate, and Creamy MIso Dressing

Shiso, mint, and cilantro puer up lightly bitter chicory in this invigorating Asian-infected winter salad. Get the recipe for Chicory and Herb Salad with Apple, Pomegranate, and Creamy MIso Dressing »Ryan Liebe

Iceberg Wedge Salad with Lemon-Parsley Dressing

The classic wedge with a zesty upgrade. Get the recipe for Iceberg Wedge with Lemon-Parsley Dressing »William Hereford

Homemade Crème Fraîche and Preserved Lemon Salad Dressing

Crème fraîche: It's one of those expensive grocery-store items that's so easy and cheap to make at home yourself, you really have no excuse not to have it in your fridge at all times. Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry and The Homemade Kitchen, picks up a pint of cream on every grocery run, mixes it with a little cultured buttermilk (or buttermilk culture, a powder you can order online), and the next day, voilà, a bowl of slightly sour, thick, lush crème fraîche. "It's perfect for adding tang and richness, and it doesn't have that weird pucker of sour cream," says Chernila, who finds herself adding it to salad dressings, drizzling it on tacos, and folding it into pumpkin pie. It will keep for up to three weeks in the fridge—more than enough time for you to pick up some cream and make yourself another batch. Get the recipe for Homemade Crème Fraîche and Preserved Lemon Salad Dressing »Justin Walker

Blue Cheese Wedge Salad

Both blue cheese and Italian dressings adorn the classic iceberg wedge salad. Get the recipe for Blue Cheese Wedge Salad »James Oseland

Red Leaf Salad with Ranch Dressing

Light, tangy yogurt replaces rich mayonnaise in the herb-laced dressing for this salad. Get the recipe for Red Leaf Salad with Ranch Dressing »André Baranowski

Caesar Salad

This classic salad is easy to make from scratch at home. Get the recipe for Caesar Salad »Todd Coleman