Easy Garden Salad Recipe

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Classic Garden Salad is an easy side dish that pairs well with almost anything! Everyone needs an easy side salad recipe in their back pocket, and this one is my favorite!

wooden bowl filled with garden salad

A Simple Garden Side Salad

Here in Ohio, we’ve recently become reacquainted with our old friend SUNSHINE. It’s been a long, gray winter, but the sound of birds chirping outside my office window is a reminder that spring is here, and with it, the start of gardening season!

We are far from expert gardeners, but we test our green thumbs every year with a few veggies and herbs. I always plant cherry tomatoes for eating straight off the vine (the BEST!), and for adding to Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos, Veggie Pizza, and Southwest Pasta Salad.

We’re also the lucky beneficiaries of my parent’s mad gardening skills, so we never lack for cucumbers, radishes, and fresh lettuce in the spring and summer.

I’ve shared plenty of salad recipes over the years but never one for a classic, easy garden salad. I’m a big fan of the house salads served at restaurants, but I rarely think to make them at home, which is silly, because IT’S SO EASY and a great way to get your veggies in.

With farmer’s market season right around the corner, this is the perfect time to add a garden salad recipe to your weekly (or daily!) rotation!

vegetables used in garden salad

Easy Garden Salad Ingredients

The short answer to “What is garden salad made of?” is, of course, anything that’s in your garden! That said, these are my favorite ingredients to add to a garden salad:

  • Lettuce– I like to use at least two kinds of lettuce for a variety of tastes and textures as the base of my salad. Iceberg and romaine are both classics, but adding in red or green loose leaf lettuce is also lovely. If you’re buying from the store, ALDI actually has a package of 4 artisan lettuces that is perfect for garden salad!
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes– I’ve already mentioned my love for tomatoes, and getting them straight from the garden is even better!
  • Onion– I prefer red onion for the color and pleasant bite, but a sweet yellow onion will do in a pinch.
  • Carrots– Shredded or shaved carrots are a classic addition to a garden salad.
  • Radishes– You don’t find radishes in many restaurant salads, but they’re one of my favorites! They add amazing crunch and variety.
  • Cucumber– I prefer mini seedless cucumbers in salad. No tough skins or watery, flavorless cucumbers here, please!

If you want a true copy cat restaurant side salad, I also recommend adding:

  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Croutons

wooden bowl and salad servers scooping garden salad

Dressing for Garden Salad

I’ll confess, I’m a sucker for a good ranch dressing on a classic side salad. You can use store bought or make homemade ranch dressing.

Though if Italian dressing is more your speed, try my Easy Homemade Italian Dressing recipe.

I also LOVE the homemade lemon garlic dressing used in That Good Salad or try the homemade Greek dressing in this Greek Pasta Salad.

This Copy Cat Northstar Chopped Salad also includes a fantastic basic vinaigrette recipe.

Of course, you can also keep things really simple and dress your salad with a drizzle of good quality olive oil and splash of red wine vinegar or lemon juice.

bowl of salad with croutons and cheese

How to Make the Best Garden Salad Recipe

Making a garden salad is as simple as tossing all of the ingredients together, but I have a few tips to take your salad over the top:

  • Chop your ingredients in small, bite sized pieces– Don’t make people fight with their salad at the dinner table. Cut your lettuce into manageable bites, halve the cherry tomatoes, and chop crunchy veggies like carrots or radishes into small pieces or shreds. This is my go-to kitchen knife for chopping pretty much anything.
  • Season your ingredients– Toss your veggies with some Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper before adding the dressing. It makes a huge difference!
  • Make it ahead of time– Garden Salad can be made a day in advance, but always wait to dress the salad until just before serving.
  • Add fresh herbs– I don’t do this year round, but when I have fresh basil or cilantro in the garden, I love chopping it up and adding it to my salad! It makes it taste so fresh and summery!

bowl of garden salad with ranch dressing poured on top

What to Serve with Garden Salad

The beauty of this garden salad recipe is that is goes with almost any meal, but most of the time I pair it with a heartier entree like Johnny Marzetti, Cheesy Mini Meatloaf, or Creamy Mac and Cheese.

It’s also great with steak and chicken. Try it with these Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, Air Fryer Pork Chops, or Cast Iron Ribeye!

More Salad Recipes You Might Enjoy:

Make your salad a main course with this Mason Jar Chicken Taco Salad, Shrimp Taco Salad, or Steak and Blue Cheese Salad

Still have loads of garden veggies? Use them up with this Easy Cucumber Tomato Salad, Simple Summer Salad, and 1905 Salad.

bowl of garden salad with ranch dressing

wooden bowl and salad servers scooping garden salad

Easy Garden Salad Recipe

This Fresh Garden Salad is so easy to throw together! Loaded with garden veggies, this is the perfect side dish for almost any meal!
4.4 from 12 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 128kcal


  • 8 cups mixed lettuces (romaine, iceberg, and loose leaf all work week)
  • 2 carrots (shredded or chopped small)
  • 3 radishes (halved and sliced)
  • 2 mini cucumbers (sliced)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/4 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup croutons (optional)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
  • Dressing of your choice


  • Ensure all of your ingredients are chopped into bite sized pieces, then toss them all together in a large bowl.
  • Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.


  • Nutrition information includes cheese and croutons, but does not include dressing.
  • Salad can be served right away or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 day. Toss with your favorite dressing right by serving.
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Keyword copy cat restaurant salad, easy garden salad, easy garden salad recipe, garden salad recipe, restaurant side salad recipe, side salad recipe


Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 537mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4478IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 1mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a review, Mention @NeighborFoodie, or tag #neighborfoodies!

4.42 from 12 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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