My Recipe Box

We're sorry...

This feature is a Flash-based application and currently only available on desktop.

For your tablet and phone cooking resources, check out our Mobile Apps

Salad Recipe: Create Your Own

Warm up the appetite with a first-course salad that's a crunchy, tangy, sweet, and savory; the choices are all up to you.

Learn the basic method for a great first-course salad, bursting with diverse flavors and textures, and you have hundreds recipes at your fingertips. Our basic method builds from a base of lettuce and greens, then fruits and vegetables, then zesty accents like croutons, nuts, cheeses, and herbs. Toss it all with a homemade salad dressing for maximum flavor.

Serves 4

Make your dressing

No salad is complete without dressing, of course. Homemade dressing is light-years ahead of the bottled stuff in terms of flavor, and takes only a few extra minutes. Click the links below for recipes. Keep in mind you may  not use an entire recipe for one salad.

Choose 1 dressing

Toss the salad

When choosing your greens, aim for a mix of textures, color, and flavor, with some mild lettuces and some bolder ones. Fruits and vegetables give the salad its personality; again, you want to aim for contrasts in flavor and texture. Pair sweet pears or apples with bitter greens; crunchy radishes or carrots with soft Boston lettuce. When adding the dressing, go slowly; add too much and it will sog out your greens.

In a large bowl, combine 4 lightly packed cups of greens (see options below) and one to three fruits and/or vegetables (see options below). Add 1/4 cup of the dressing, season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and toss well. Taste the greens, and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, or dressing as needed (you may not need all of the dressing).

Choose up to four types of greens for a total of 4 lightly packed cups

  • baby arugula
    Baby arugula
  • baby spinach
    Baby spinach
  • Boston lettuce
    Boston lettuce leaves, torn
  • endive
    Endive, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips
  • frisee
    Frisee leaves, torn
  • green leaf lettuce
    Green leaf lettuce, torn
  • mache
    Mache leaves
  • baby greens
    Mixed baby greens
  • radicchio
    Radicchio leaves, torn
  • red leaf lettuce
    Red leaf lettuce, torn
  • romaine
    Romaine lettuce leaves, torn

Choose 1 to 3 fruits and/or vegetables (optional)

  • broccoli
    Steamed broccoli florets: 2 cups
  • cauliflower
    Steamed cauliflower florets: 2 cups
  • cherry tomatoes
    Halved cherry tomatoes: 1-1/2 cups
  • chickpeas
    Canned, drained chickpeas: 3/4 cup, rinsed
  • beets
    Red or gold beets: 3 medium, roasted, peeled, and diced
  • figs
    Fresh figs: 6 to 7, quartered
  • grapefruit
    Grapefruit: 1 medium, peel cut away, flesh cut into segments, segments halved crosswise
  • grapes
    Grapes, halved and seeded: 1-1/2 cups
  • kidney beans
    Canned, drained kidney beans: 3/4 cup, rinsed
  • oranges
    Oranges: 2 medium, peel cut away, flesh cut into segments
  • radishes
    Thinly sliced radishes: 3/4 cup
  • carrots
    Carrots: 2 medium, peeled and julienned
  • apples
    Apple: 1 medium, thinly sliced
  • avocado
    Avocado: 1 medium, pitted, peeled, and cut into thin wedges
  • cucumber
    Cucumber: 1 small (or 1/2 large English cucumber), thinly sliced
  • fennel bulb
    Fennel: 1 small bulb, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
  • mushrooms
    Thinly sliced mushrooms: 1-1/4 cup
  • red onion
    Red onion: 1 small, thinly sliced
  • pears
    Pear: 1 medium, thinly sliced
  • scallions
    Scallions: 3, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
Plate, top, and serve

Think of finishing touches like cheese, herbs, nuts, bacon, and dried fruit as your salad's accessories. They add a jolt of color, flavor, and texture, but shouldn't detract too much attention from the greens themselves. They're best scattered on top of the salad once plated, so they don't fall to the bottom of the bowl.

Divide the salad between four salad plates. Scatter your choice of cheese (see options below) and finishing touches (see options below) evenly over the four salads. Drizzle with a bit more dressing, if you like.

Choose 1 cheese (optional)

  • goat cheese
    Fresh goat cheese: 4 oz., crumbled
  • blue cheese
    Blue cheese: 3 oz., crumbled
  • feta
    Feta: 3 oz., crumbled
  • gouda
    Aged gouda: 2 oz., thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano
    Parmigiano-Reggiano: 1-1/2 oz., thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler

Choose 1 to 3 finishing touches (optional)

  • sliced almonds
    Sliced almonds: 1/3 cup, toasted
  • bacon
    Sliced bacon or pancetta: 4 oz., cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • cashews
    Cashews: 1/3 cup, toasted
  • croutons
    Homemade or store-bought croutons: 2 cups
  • dried cherries
    Dried cherries: 1/3 cup, soaked in hot water 10 minutes to plump
  • basil leaves
    Torn fresh basil leaves: 1/4 cup
  • chervil
    Fresh chervil leaves: 1/4 cup
  • chives
    Thinly sliced fresh chives: 2 Tbs.
  • italian parsley
    Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves: 1/4 cup
  • mint
    Coarsely chopped fresh mint: 1/4 cup
  • tarragon
    Fresh tarragon leaves: 1/4 cup
  • eggs
    Hard-cooked eggs: 2 large, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • hazelnuts
    Toasted, chopped hazelnuts: 1/2 cup
  • pecans
    Toasted, chopped pecans: 1/2 cup
  • pine nuts
    Pine nuts: 1/3 cup, toasted
  • pistachios
    Shelled pistachios: 1/2 cup, toasted
  • pumpkin seeds
    Hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas): 1/3 cup, toasted
  • walnuts
    Toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts: 1/2 cup

Other Recipe Makers