A green salad is one of the most versatile side dishes. This dish can either be served as a starter, with smoked salmon for example, or as a side dish to a main course.
The problem is that it can quickly become bland and redundant! Let’s face it, the little balsamic mesclun is always delicious, but let’s just say we’ve eaten it a lot and it’s on every menu.
And yet, bringing texture and a bit of originality to salads is very easy. Just add fresh herbs and play with the varieties of lettuce and vegetables.
Here is a slightly less traditional salad recipe that I have been making for years. It’s a mix of greens, with slightly marinated crisp vegetables, herbs including dill and a lemon and white wine vinegar dressing.
This is a simple recipe to make but so fresh and delicious!
The best part is that you can modify it according to your taste or what you have on hand.
And with its lemon vinaigrette, it pairs well with many dishes. Think fish, seafood or grilled meat.
A few notes on this chopped salad recipe
What type of lettuce should you use for this salad?
You can use any lettuce you have on hand: leaf, romaine, iceberg, etc.
To play with textures and flavours, you can also add kale, Swiss chard, baby spinach or a bit of bitter lettuce such as radicchio.
However, if you use kale, choose young kale and cut it into small pieces before marinating it in the dressing for at least 15 minutes. For this salad, avoid using large kale leaves and especially the stems, which are much tougher.
What vegetables should you use for this salad?
In this salad, you can put the usual cucumbers, tomatoes, green or red onions thinly sliced.
But it’s the addition radish, rabiole or carrots, cut with a mandolin and marinated with a little vinaigrette and salt for about ten minutes, that makes it perfect! It brings a lot of color and taste.
What herbs should you add to the salad?
Definitely dill, especially if you want to serve the salad with smoked salmon, grilled fish or cod croquettes for example.
Chopped chives and flat-leaf parsley are two other must-haves.
What to serve this salad with?
Here, you have plenty to choose from!
This salad is also excellent with grilled fish or seafood, smoked salmon, cod acras or crab cakes.
You can also add canned tuna, pumpkin seeds or hard boiled eggs to make this salad a complete meal.
- 6 cups chopped lettuce (romaine, curly, mesclun)
- 2 cups of radicchio (see note 2)
- 1 small carrot cut into thin slices, yields about ¼ cup slices (mandolin preferred)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced radish (mandolin preferred - see note 3)
- ⅛ cup thinly sliced red onion or French shallot (see note 3)
- ½ cup cubed cucumbers
- 8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- ⅛ cup chopped fresh chives
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 4 Tbsp olive oil (or canola oil)
- ¼ tsp. garlic salt
- 1 ½ Tbsp white wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Salt generously.
- Marinate the radishes and carrots in the vinaigrette for about 15 minutes before serving.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining vegetables and herbs to a salad bowl.
- Just before serving, add the vinaigrette and vegetables to the salad and toss well. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve immediately.
Note 1: Makes 4 servings if served as a side dish, 2 if served as a main meal
Note 2: Radicchio adds a nice bitterness and touch of color to this salad. If you don't have any, you can use another bitter lettuce or replace it with your favorite lettuce.
Note 3: If the taste of the onions or radishes is too strong, you can soak them for about 10 minutes in a small bowl of cold water to tone down the flavor.