The utterance "I'm going to get a salad" often evinces visions of diets and other streaks of healthy eating. But, if you're asking me, leafy greens and their accompaniments are anything but punishment. On the contrary, our favorite green salads emanate fresh vibrancy with every invigorating bite. Plus, when they're enjoyed as a main dish, they bring a certain brightness to the main event. Next time you're on the hunt for a side dish, think of these glorious side salad recipes for all kinds of leafy greens.
Toss together Food Network Kitchen's wholesome Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts (pictured above) for a leafy green side topped with the bold tang of goat cheese. Each forkful of tender baby spinach gets a coating of a luscious homemade vinaigrette that features an extra dose of nuttiness thanks to three tablespoons of walnut oil.
When your salad involves a blend of leafy greens, you get a well-textured dish that excites every bite. Rachael Ray's Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette gets it green from your choice of romaine or mixed greens, while mixing balsamic vinegar with two teaspoons of strawberry jam makes for a fruity dressing. It may not be the peak of strawberry season just yet, but you can still get your hands on the ruby-red berries at your supermarket without a problem.
Even after all this time, anyone who's anyone is eating kale. Bring the hearty green-leafed veggie into a Kale and Apple Salad that's studded with the sweetness of dates, apples and almonds. When lemon vinaigrette and pecorino cheese are added to the mix, you get a most-flavorful union of flavors that'll have you making this side salad as a main in the future.
Especially when you're enjoying a salad as a side dish, simplicity is key. With a peppery, flavor-packed ingredient like arugula on your hands, you don't need much else. Tyler Florence's low-maintenance Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon and Parmesan Cheese has the majority of the ingredients in its name, besides the compulsory sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Drizzle crunchy Bibb lettuce with a creamy dressing amplified with anchovies, lemon, sour cream and herbs. Food Network Magazine's Creamy Bibb Salad is so easy it just takes 10 minutes to toss together.
It wouldn't be a complete list without the inclusion of a salad favorite: romaine lettuce. Bring it into another favorite, Greek Salad, for a classic recipe brimming with veggies, feta cheese and briny Kalamata olives.
When The Pioneer Woman is faced with a head of iceberg lettuce, she makes it into her crowd-pleasing Cheddar-Bacon Wedge Salad from Food Network Magazine. With a creamy buttermilk dressing, crispy thick-cut bacon and cheddar cheese, it's a hearty salad you'll have a hard time keeping to the side.
Get more greens recipes from our friends:
Creative Culinary: Mixed Greens with Smoked Mozzarella and a Warm Roasted Garlic DressingThe Cultural Dish: Three Quick and Easy Salad RecipesNapa Farmhouse 1885: Salad Greens with Sun Dried Tomato VinaigretteRed or Green: Salad Greens with Basic Balsamic VinaigretteThe Heritage Cook: Chopped Steakhouse-Style Salad (Gluten-Free)Weelicious: Southwestern SaladTaste with the Eyes: Teacher Appreciation Farmers Market SaladSwing Eats: Kale Salad with Lemon, Pecorino Romano, and Toasted WalnutsVirtually Homemade: Spinach and Bacon SaladDomesticate Me: 8 Gorgeous Green Salads for SpringElephants and the Coconut Trees: Arugula and Grapefruit SaladDishin & Dishes: Tangle Thai Rainbow SaladHomemade Delish: Grilled Pineapple Spinach SaladIn Jennie's Kitchen: Cabbage, Apple, Sesame Seed Salad