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Mesclun Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette

When you’ve spent most of your time on a hefty main course but want some greens to balance out your plate, these simple green salad recipes are the ones to turn to. They each use a simple formula: greens + something crunchy/cheesy/chewy + a basic dressing, so consider them canvases for whatever else you have lying around. Add in a topping you love, take out one you don’t—you are the (salad) artist.

Grilled Halloumi and Cherry Salad

The sweetness of cherries balances the saltiness of halloumi in this simple summer salad, perfect for a side or a main dish.

Cilantro and Peanut Salad (Huāshēngmĭ bàn xiāngcài)

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.

Shredded Collard Green Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The flavor of raw collard greens combines perfectly with tender roasted sweet potatoes and tangy, rich goat cheese in this hearty starter.

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.

Arugula Cashew Pesto Salad

A chunky cashew pesto made with sharp, pungent Västerbotten cheese is tossed with chopped arugulato yield an unctuous salad with a robust umami flavor.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Endive and Walnut Salad

With winter looming, this salad with endive, comte and walnuts is a great choice for cold weather. The recipe, adapted from Susan Herrmann Loomis’s The French Farmhouse Cookbook, is from a cook in the town of Vinay, where walnuts are produced. The crisp and bright salad is made heartier by the addition of nuts and cheese.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad

A simple salad of raw shredded kale and Brussels sprouts is a refreshing variation on cold weather’s ubiquitous vegetables.

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.

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.


A descendent of the sauce used in classic German potato salad, a rich and flavorful bacon dressing was used by German-Americans to coat dandelion greens during the 19th century (and perhaps before).