Anatomy of a Salad

Let’s talk salad.  As you may have guessed, I’m a big salad fan.  They’re easy, incredibly versatile and fast.  So let’s break it down so you can come up with some new ideas, and try some new combinations!  You can also skip the whole forma salad and do like this cute skeleton from Kraft.

This is by no means a complete list!  Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite salad/salad toppers are!  Also, if you think you don’t like a veggie, try roasting it.  I haven’t met a veggie that didn’t taste awesome after a little time in the oven!


  • Romaine (holds up well for a few days)
  • Arugula (a little spicy/peppery, my favorite)
  • Baby Spinach (holds up well and pairs nicely with fruits)
  • Kale (needs to be massaged, but holds up well for days)
  • Red Cabbage (great shredded)
  • Green/White Cabbage (great shredded)
  • Nappa Cabbage (more tender than regular cabbage, great with Asian flavors)
  • Endives (a little bitter)

Chopped Veggies (I usually pick 2-4):

  • Carrots (diced or shredded)
  • Cucumber (quartered then sliced)
  • Celery (sliced or minced)
  • Broccoli (raw or cooked)
  • Cauliflower (raw or cooked)
  • Radishes (thinly sliced, a little peppery)
  • Beets (a little sweet)
  • Tomatoes (grape, cherry, on the vine, plum, heirloom, orange, sun-dried)
  • Bell Peppers (diced)
  • Mushrooms (sliced)
  • Eggplant (diced and roasted)
  • Green Beans (steamed, sautéed, roasted)
  • Brussels Sprouts (shredded, roasted)
  • Summer Squash (diced, sautéed, roasted)


  • Oranges (slices, Mandarin)
  • Grapefruit slices
  • Grapes
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Dried Blueberries
  • Fresh Cherries
  • Watermelon
  • Apples
  • Pears


  • Chicken
  • Beans (black beans, garbanzo/chickpeas, kidney, white beans, pinto…)
  • Lentils
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Eggs (hard boiled, fried, poached)
  • Nuts (pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, candied, peanuts)
  • Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin)
  • Turkey
  • Cheese (feta, goat, blue, gorgonzola, brie, parmesan)


  • Wheat Berries
  • Couscous
  • Barley
  • Millet
  • Squash (butternut, delicata, kabocha, pumpkin)
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Potatoes (white, sweet, red/new: roasted, boiled, grilled)

Herbs:  (nothing like fresh herbs to make your salad fancy!  But herbs won’t last long, so make sure you only garnish what you’ll eat at one sitting)

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Scallions
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Tarragon
  • Dill
  • Chives

Salad dressing options are endless.  Use your favorite, or experiment with something new.  Basically you can’t go wrong if you combine equal parts tart, acid (lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar-red, white, balsamic, champagne, etc) with oil (canola, olive, etc), then season with salt and pepper.  Totally easy, fresh and delicious.  Like a little more cream to your dressing?  Whisk in some dijon mustard or blend in an avocado or some Greek yogurt.  Fresh herbs are also a great way to add some freshness to your dressing.

Hope this helps you find new salad inspiration!

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