basic garden salad
Recipes, Salads

Basic Garden Salad an Easy Side


This introduction to a cooking recipe for basic garden salad is ideal for those just getting their feet wet in the kitchen. Maybe you didn’t eat much fresh food growing up or need to know what goes well together. I admit I was more than blessed with many vegetables growing up. My mother’s garden was full of green stuff all summer. Then, well into the fall season, we would be munching on what she was unable to can for winter use.

Every night we had a side salad. I tweaked this basic side salad to include red lettuce and romaine. If we had to purchase it, the old standby for lettuce growing up was an iceberg. It was the cheapest, and there weren’t as many choices in our local grocery stores. Although I admit I was reading the Archie comics as a child more than paying attention to the vegetable section,

So why romaine and why red-leaf lettuce? Romaine holds up well in the fridge. If you can purchase a salad spinner, I highly recommend it. Washing the lettuce and keeping it in the spinner is suitable for up to a week! The other perk of good romaine is that it’s full of antioxidants and high in potassium. Red lettuce is a softer, less crisp lettuce as compared to romaine. You are making it a good pairing. The crispy romaine crunches and the red lettuce offer relief from the crunch and are packed with vitamin A.

The other note is that iceberg lettuce has dramatically increased in price. Therefore, it’s no longer the most economical choice, although it does hold up well in the fridge. I should also note that you don’t want to cut the lettuce with a knife, as it will brown it faster.

Let’s toss this garden salad together!

This garden salad has got to be the most straightforward weekday side you can muster. First, we will remove the rigid base of the romaine lettuce. It’s just bitter and not that tasty. Next, you can remove the thick core of the leaves if you prefer less toughness and more leaf. Or you can leave it in.

You will be tearing the lettuce into bite-sized pieces. 

Wash the cherry tomatoes and remove them from the vine if there are any. Or, if you are using a whole tomato, wash it and cut it up. Next, wash the cucumber and slice it into thin rounds. You can score the outside of the cucumber skin to have the same look as above or cut it up.

Toss all the tomatoes and cucumbers into a bowl with the lettuce. This is it, folks! The salad needs a little bit of dressing. Or if you’re a rabbit-like my daughter, eat it plain as it is. You can’t beat crisp, crunchy, fresh ingredients!

Suppose you can grow your leaf lettuce in a container during the summer months. Great! If you extend your gardening to cherry tomatoes, even better!
Enjoy the freshness this salad offers as a side to a heavier pasta dinner. Or make it a complete meal and add a whole can of tuna with a squeeze of lemon juice! MMM, delicious.

Your Questions Answered:

Can I use a different lettuce mix?  Absolutely! In fact, I love adding in baby spinach to this on occasion. Or just  using the boxed spring green mix. The possibilities are endless!

What is the best salad dressing for this? Based on the fact that there is red leaf lettuce which can easily become soggy and wilted in heavy cream dressing. I recommend using a vinaigrette of your choosing.

basic garden salad

Basic Garden Salad

Amber Bondar
This crisp salad is a staple for year round use. Filled with romaine and red lettuce it offers texture, flavor, and a vitamin boost. You can enjoy this salad with one of our homemade dressings or any store bought dressing.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 6


  • 1 Salad Bowl
  • 1 knife
  • 1 Cutting board
  • 1 Salad Spinner optional


  • ½ Head of Romaine Lettuce Ripped into bite size pieces
  • 1 Head/Bunch of Red Lettuce Ripped into bite size pieces
  • 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes a Chopped large tomato works too
  • 1 Half of an English Cucumber Sliced with skin on


  • Use the salad spinner to clean your lettuce.
  • Rip both lettuces into the salad bowl.
  • Rinse and then add the cherry tomatoes. If you are using a whole tomato, wash it and cut into pieces.
  • Rinse off the English cucumber and slice into pieces. Leave skin on as vitamins are higher in the flesh of vegetables.
  • Serve with salad dressing of your choosing.
Keyword cucumber, lettuce, salad, tomato

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