How to Build a Better Salad


When salad season rolls around, I'm more than ready to leave behind the heavier, starchy winter veggies and start getting creative with the bounty of fresh veggies that spring and summer have to offer. But let's face it, the traditional lettuce-carrot-tomato salad can get very boring pretty quickly, so here are a few ideas to jazz up that salad bowl. Choose one or two ingredients from each category, and don't be afraid to experiment with ingredients and combinations that are new to you. You never know what kind of masterpiece you'll create!


  • Swiss or Rainbow Chard
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Arugula
  • Dandelion Greens (very detoxifying!)
  • Watercress (peppery and very cleansing)

 Fresh Herbs

  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Thyme


  • Shredded Beets
  • Carrots
  • Bell Peppers
  • English Cucumber
  • Spring Peas
  • Purple Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Jicama
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower


  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapefruit


  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Hulled Hemp Seeds
  • Slivered Almonds
  • Toasted Pine Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistacios 
  • Soy Nuts

 Beans (cook or sprout then add to salad)

  • Edamame (Sweet Green Soybeans)
  • Fava
  • Adzuki
  • Garbanzo
  • Lentils
  • Kidney Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Mung Beans

 Dressing (2 parts oil to one part vinegar or citrus)

  • Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar + Dijon Mustard
  • Walnut Oil + Champagne Vinegar
  • Flax Seed Oil + Balsamic Vinegar + Avocado (blended)
  • Toasted Sesame Oil + Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Olive Oil + Fresh-Squeezed Lemon
  • Avocado Oil + White Balsamic Vinegar
  • Mayo or Vegannaise + Sherry Wine Vinegar + Dijon Mustard

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written by Michelle

Michelle Babb, MS, RD, CD, is a registered dietitian and holds a Master's degree in nutrition from Bastyr University. She provides adults, teens and children with the tools they need to achieve optimal health through nutrition education, creative fitness, and emotional balance.