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House Salad Recipe, a Quick and Easy Favorite

House Sal­ad is a per­fect quick and easy side dish that com­pletes any meal. Crisp, crunchy and cold, it’s greens and col­or­ful veg­gies full of fla­vor, driz­zled with your favorite sal­ad dressing. 

A house salad in a bowl ona concrete counter top with a turquoise fabric napkin.  The larger salad bowl of salad is in the background
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It does­n’t mat­ter what sea­son we’re in, this House Sal­ad recipe is a sta­ple side at our house. It’s quick and easy. Plus, House Sal­ad can be cus­tomized to the peo­ple you’re serv­ing and with the in-sea­son pro­duce of your choice.

House Sal­ad recipes can be tossed togeth­er in min­utes and com­ple­ment any main dish you serve. Every­body loves them and can select a sal­ad dress­ing of their choice.

What is House Salad?

House Salad in a white ceramic bowl on a concrete countertop. There is a fork lying next to the bowl witha turquoise fabric napkin.

Who does­n’t love the house sal­ad before a restau­rant meal? House Sal­ad recipes are usu­al­ly sim­ple tossed green sal­ads with a few fresh veg­gies, that whets your appetite for the meal to come OR is an accom­pa­ny­ing side for the main dish.

Our youngest daugh­ter (now 21) was about 7 when she asked, “Mom can I order a before sal­ad?” lol She had appar­ent­ly watched me order­ing a sal­ad on the side, for years, and got brave enough to ask for her own. Who could say, “No” to that cute­ness!!??! Bring on anoth­er $5 side sal­ad! lol

House Salad in a white ceramic bowl on a concrete countertop. There is a fork lying next to the bowl witha turquoise fabric napkin.

And hon­est­ly, I have made this easy house sal­ad recipe since my old­est girls (now 38 and 36) were small. I’d say, “Let’s make a love­ly sal­ad.” They knew exact­ly what I meant and loved them. They’d even help me make them.

There’s a rea­son for the appeal of house sal­ad recipes. A clas­sic house sal­ad recipe, well done, can set the tone for the entire meal. It needs the fresh­est, crispy ingre­di­ents, vivid col­or and fla­vor that wakes up your taste buds.

And as far as the name, I think it sim­ply refers to the fact that it is that par­tic­u­lar restau­ran­t’s per­son­al side sal­ad recipe. The “house­’s” recipe. Their own sig­na­ture “house” salad.

Well friends, they have noth­ing on us. We can all have our own fab­u­lous House Sal­ad recipe to share and enjoy, right in the com­fort of our own homes! 

As sal­ad recipes go, I believe this sim­ple side sal­ad is one of the most ver­sa­tile and easy to pre­pare. I hope you love it!

A platter filled with House Salad Ingredients next to a bowl of Romaine and Iceburg lettuce.  The platter contains sliced radishes, cucumbers, celery grape tomatoes and red onion slivers.

House Salad Recipe Ingredients

There are cer­tain sal­ad ingre­di­ents and ingre­di­ent qual­i­ties that are absolute “musts” in our House Sal­ad recipe. Your list might look a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, but my guess is that it’s fair­ly sim­i­lar. The beau­ty of mak­ing a clas­sic house sal­ad recipe is that you can real­ly make it your own.

  1. Fresh, crisp, bright green let­tuce and greens. We typ­i­cal­ly choose Romaine and Ice­burg Let­tuce to make house sal­ad. How­ev­er, if we have them on hand, we will def­i­nite­ly add baby spinach, kale, leaf let­tuce, but­ter let­tuce or mixed greens to a side sal­ad. So, you do you. Make your House Sal­ad with your per­son­al favorites.
  2. Crunchy, crisp cucum­ber slices. In sea­son cucum­bers are the ulti­mate for mak­ing clas­sic house sal­ad recipes. But, nobody loves rub­bery, past their prime cucum­bers. Choose gar­den cucum­bers in sea­son. Out­side of gar­den sea­son, I have bet­ter luck with thin skinned baby cucum­bers or Eng­lish cucum­bers. They add that famil­iar light and crisp fla­vor that adds so much to our house salad.
Adding chopped vegetables to salad greens in a clear mixing bowl on a concrete countertop
  1. Firm, very ripe toma­toes. Again, sum­mer gar­den toma­toes are the ide­al. How­ev­er, the vari­eties of grape and cher­ry toma­toes avail­able all year long, now, make a great sub­sti­tute for full-size toma­toes when the sum­mer gar­den is done. They add sweet tart acidic pops of fla­vor and juici­ness plus eye-catch­ing col­or. And there fla­vor is usu­al­ly bet­ter than their full-sized coun­ter­parts in the off-season.
  2. Radish­es. Also, eas­i­ly avail­able to us year round. Crisp, bold fla­vor and gor­geous col­or that we love in a side salad.
  3. Cel­ery. This does­n’t seem as nat­ur­al to some, but for me, it’s a non-nego­tiable in House Sal­ad, both for crunch and for flavor. 
  4. Red Onions. I would be “chopped” every time on my favorite Food Net­work cook­ing show, because I LOVE raw red onion. Sliv­ers of red onion are a must in my house salad.
Clear glass serving bowl foull of Classic House Salad with lettuce, tomatoes, celery, radishes, cucumber and slivered red onions

Optional, But So Delicious

Those are all the non-nego­tiables for me, but there are oth­er ingre­di­ents that can cus­tomize your per­fect home­made house sal­ad and make it SO scrumptious.

  1. Crou­tons. Hel­lo! Crunchy, sea­soned cubes of bread deli­cious­ness. Yes, please. I nor­mal­ly buy them ready-made, but you can make fab­u­lous crou­tons at home, too. Check out these awe­some recipes from a few of my friends.
  2. Cheese. Fresh­ly hand grat­ed or cubed cheese in any of your favorite vari­eties is always a wel­come addi­tion to House Salad.
  3. Bacon Bits or Crum­bles. Fresh bacon, chopped into salty nuggets of smoky, savori­ness are deli­cious scat­tered through a mouth­wa­ter­ing din­ner salad.
croutons in a white bowl with a sprig of flat leaf parsley

Our Favorite Salad Dressings
for a Classic House Salad

Some­times, I’m in a hur­ry and just putting din­ner on the table quick. On those nights, I pull our favorite store-bought sal­ad dress­ing bot­tles from the fridge with­out an ounce of guilt. Do what you need to do to make a great din­ner for your fam­i­ly when you have to hurry.

There is always ranch, because some peo­ple in our fam­i­ly will ONLY eat ranch on a House Sal­ad. lol Tell me you have at least one of those.

Then we usu­al­ly have an Olive Oil Ital­ian Vinai­grette and a Blush Vinai­grette. We also have a sal­ad dress­ing I have come to under­stand is a sort of Nebras­ka phe­nom­e­non. And not every­one knows about it. Dorothy Lynch. I’ll let you Google that one. 

When it comes to home­made sal­ad dress­ing I have two favorites: Avo­ca­do Ranch Sal­ad Dress­ing and Creamy South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing. But, there are dozens of possibilities.

I pre­fer to make home­made dress­ings with either olive oil or avo­ca­do oil. Olive oil is used when I want that dis­tinc­tive olive oil fla­vor. And avo­ca­do oil is my choice when I want some­thing neu­tral that lets the oth­er fla­vors shine. Both olive oil and avo­ca­do oil are super good for you. So, they make excel­lent bases for any dress­ing you use to top your side salad.

Possible Variations and Substitutions

Vari­a­tions in a per­fect house sal­ad can be as wild­ly dif­fer­ent and cre­ative as the per­son who is mak­ing it. When mak­ing a side sal­ad, indi­vid­u­al­i­ty and cre­ativ­i­ty are a plus.

There is a whole world of veg­eta­bles (and fruit) that can be fan­tas­tic in a clas­sic house sal­ad. Choose by sea­son­al­i­ty for the best qual­i­ty and fla­vor in the per­fect side salad. 

Def­i­nite­ly “mix it up”. Make your side sal­ad your own per­fect cre­ation. The info graph­ic below, is divid­ed into the four sea­sons, with lists of which fruits and veg­eta­bles will be at peak per­fec­tion dur­ing each time. 

Of course, there will be some vari­a­tion based on your loca­tion, but as a gen­er­al rule it’s an excel­lent guide. Use it to help you build the per­fect side sal­ad recipe.

Click on this image to open a down­load­able and print­able pdf
to help you choose the best in-sea­son produce.

chart with lists of vegetables and fruits that are in-season during each of the 4 seasons.  Image is linked to a downloadable pdf

How to Make a Salad

This is where some of those spe­cif­ic “char­ac­ter­is­tics” of a tru­ly excel­lent house sal­ad come in. And, if I’m hon­est, I’m picky about them.

So, here’s the list of what I believe makes a per­fect house sal­ad, regard­less of what ingre­di­ents you choose. Fol­low these and your House Sal­ad is going to be spectacular! 🙂

House Salad close-up

Tips for Preparing a Great House Salad

  1. Tear the let­tuce, instead of cut­ting it, unless the entire house sal­ad will be eat­en imme­di­ate­ly. Oxi­da­tion of the edges of the let­tuce leaves hap­pens more quick­ly when they are cut. If you tear the leaves, they will break along nat­ur­al fault lines in the leaf which means few­er cells are rup­tured and brown­ing is slowed. Tear­ing, instead of cut­ting, can extend the life of your side sal­ad one to two days.
  2. Tear the let­tuce into BITE-SIZED pieces. There is noth­ing more frus­trat­ing than sit­ting down to a sal­ad with gigan­tic pieces of romaine let­tuce or ice­burg leaves in it. Stab­bing a gar­gan­tu­an piece of let­tuce and then try­ing to maneu­ver it into your mouth or back onto the plate to be cut table side is not fun.
  3. Choose vari­ety in col­or and tex­ture when select­ing veg­gies for your sal­ad. Select­ing many bright, vibrant col­ors means a wide vari­ety of nutri­ents are being added to your house sal­ad, as well as mak­ing it beau­ti­ful to look at. It real­ly is true that we eat with our eyes, first.
garden fresh vegetables and fruit piled in the center of a white table
  1. Select the fresh­est pro­duce avail­able. It goes with­out say­ing, nobody wants limp, wilt­ed or spongy veg­eta­bles in a deli­cious sal­ad. Let­tuce should be bright green and crisp. Oth­er veg­eta­bles should be firm and vibrant­ly col­ored. Choose what is at it’s best in-sea­son qual­i­ty in that moment.
  2. Wash and dry all your greens and veg­eta­bles before you start tear­ing and chop­ping. It makes prep work go quick­ly. Plus, when the greens and veg­eta­bles are com­plete­ly dry, the sal­ad will keep longer.
  3. Cut or slice veg­eta­bles into thin, bite-size pieces.
  4. Store toma­toes at room tem­per­a­ture for the best fla­vor. Only refrig­er­ate when it’s nec­es­sary for slow­ing down the dete­ri­o­ra­tion process. See this arti­cle for more infor­ma­tion.
A house salad in a bowl ona concrete counter top with a turquoise fabric napkin. The larger salad bowl of salad is in the background

Assembling Your House Salad Recipe Ahead of Time

Can I pre­pare sal­ad ahead?

Of course. Tear the greens and slice every­thing except the toma­toes up to 24 hours ahead of time. Instead of assem­bling the sal­ad, place each of the com­po­nents in indi­vid­ual con­tain­ers and store in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve your house sal­ad, halve the toma­toes and then sim­ply toss all the prepped ingre­di­ents with the sal­ad greens and serve.

Assembling Your House Salad to Serve Immediately

Okay, now you’ve already select­ed and prepped all your ingre­di­ents. The rest is simple.

  1. Com­bine the greens and cut veg­eta­bles (or fruit) in your sal­ad bowl. Be sure to toss thor­ough­ly so all the ingre­di­ents are even­ly dis­trib­uted. It’s that easy!
  2. Take the sal­ad to the table with your favorite sal­ad dress­ings on the side. And oh my gra­cious, is it ever going to be delicious!

What to Serve with House Salad

I hope you love this house sal­ad recipe! And I hope it serves you well as a quick and easy, nutri­tious side for your fam­i­ly meals. 

If you get a chance to make and enjoy it, I would love for you to come back and leave a com­ment with a 5 star rat­ing, to let me know. Your 5 star rat­ing helps oth­ers to find our recipe when they do a Google search. Thanks so much for your support!

The Recipe

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House Salad in a white ceramic bowl on a concrete countertop. There is a fork lying next to the bowl witha turquoise fabric napkin.

House Salad, a Quick and Easy Favorite


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 15 min­utes
  • Yield: 6 serv­ings 1x

Description

House Sal­ad is a for­mu­la or guide to help you make one of my favorite sal­ad recipes, ever.  Use the tips and infor­ma­tion in the post, along with this recipe, to cre­ate a tru­ly spec­tac­u­lar clas­sic din­ner sal­ad for your next meal.  Every­body loves a great sal­ad and it can com­ple­ment any main dish you’re serving.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • ice­burg let­tuce, 1 small head
  • Romaine let­tuce, 1 heart
  • 3 baby cucum­bers (or 1 Eng­lish cucum­ber), cut into 1/8th inch rounds
  • 6 ounces cher­ry or grape toma­toes, halved
  • 3 stalks cel­ery, cut into 1/4th inch slices
  • 5 radish­es, cut into thin rounds
  • 1/4 cup red onion, cut into slivers

Instructions

  1. Clean and dry the pro­duce you’ve selected.
  2. Tear the greens into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large sal­ad bowl.
  3. Slice the cum­bers and radish­es into thin rounds.
  4. Cut the cel­ery into 1/4‑inch slices (half moons).
  5. Cut thin, slices and sliv­ers of red onion until you have about 1/4 cup.
  6. Add the cut veg­eta­bles to the torn greens and toss to com­bine and even­ly dis­trib­ute everything.
  7. Serve with your favorite sal­ad dress­ing and option­al top­pings, like cheese, bacon pieces and/or croutons.

Notes

  • Choose the sal­ad greens and veg­eta­bles that you and your fam­i­ly prefer.
  • Choose in-sea­son produce.
  • Make this sal­ad recipe your own.

To Make Salad Ahead of Time

Tear the greens and slice every­thing except the toma­toes up to 24 hours ahead of time. Instead of assem­bling the sal­ad, place each of the com­po­nents in indi­vid­ual con­tain­ers and store in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve your house sal­ad, halve the toma­toes and then sim­ply toss all the prepped ingre­di­ents with the sal­ad greens and serve.

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Side Dish, Sal­ad, Vegetable
  • Method: Cold Prep
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

Get More Side Dish and Salad Recipes

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