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A Basic Salad Recipe That Allows Lettuce and Dressing to Shine
A delicious salad that only has two components? It can be done.
A great lettuce salad only needs: lettuce and dressing.
It does not need to have a ton of ingredients to taste delicious.
This lettuce salad with lemon mustard vinaigrette recipe is proof.
Your time is too valuable to waste it on prepping unnecessary ingredients. Gain that time back and simplify your healthy lettuce salads.
This easy lettuce salad recipe demonstrates that simplicity rules. Let the easy lemon mustard vinaigrette shine by using your hands to coat each piece of lettuce. Every bite is a perfect balance of tang, bitterness, and brightness.
It is an easy salad for lunch or as a side dish for dinner. Plus, it is vegan.
I love this simple salad next to a piece of meat or fish. The burst of acid from the vinaigrette complements the richness of the meat perfectly. Similar to how wine does.
Make this easy salad recipe for a crowd and prepare it ahead. It only takes a minute or two to come together after you have washed your greens and made your dressing. Frisee, escarole, or butter lettuce are hearty enough to be dressed ahead.
I made and dressed this salad (without salt) before making dinner over the weekend. By the time we ate dinner over an hour later, the salad (made with frisee) tasted like it was just made!
What Makes This Simple Salad Healthy?
It’s well known that green salads are healthy.
Lettuce is high in vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants, but low in calories. This makes it a great option for a light lunch or side dish.
The lemon mustard vinaigrette is primarily composed of lemon juice, mustard, and olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is high in healthy fats, contains antioxidants, reduces inflammation, and even helps protect against strokes and heart disease. Read more about each of these benefits here on Healthline.
Mustard is a great alternative to other condiments like mayo (high in saturated fats) or ketchup (contains sugar). Opt for a mustard with no added sugar and a short ingredient list that only contains some type of vinegar, water, mustard seeds, salt, and some spice(s).
Overall, this salad is a healthy option for getting a blast of nutritional rich vegetables and healthy fats during your day.
How Long Does this Simple Salad Keep?
Prepared and fully dressed: 2-3 hours
Prepared and dressed with vinaigrette only: 1-2 days
Prepared and not dressed: 3-4 days
You should eat this salad within a few hours of fully dressing. The lettuce will handle the vinaigrette well, but the salt will begin to remove moisture from the lettuce. This will make the lettuce slimy and droopy.
However, the beauty of this salad is that it only takes a minute or two to make once you have prepared the ingredients.
After chopping and washing the lettuce, put any leftovers in a bag or resealable container. Close and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days depending on how fresh the lettuce is. The vinaigrette will last 1 week in the refrigerator.
When ready to eat, just put a handful of lettuce in a bowl and top with vinaigrette.
How Should I Store This Salad?
The best way to use this salad is to cut, wash and store the undressed lettuce.
Want to take the hassle out of prepping a fresh head of lettuce?
Check out this Zyliss salad spinner. I have zero to few kitchen gadgets depending on what you consider a “gadget”. But, this salad spinner has absolutely changed how many salads I eat.
I used to hate making salads because you had to pick off the amount of greens you wanted from a fresh head, clean each one, and then still eat dirt because they’d never be cleaned. This salad spinner changed everything.
Now I chop up a whole head of lettuce at once, toss it in the salad spinner to soak and clean and then put any leftovers bag in the lettuce bag for easy use. It’s amazing to just pull out a bag of lettuce, toss a few handfuls in a bowl, top with a prepped dressing, and eat a delicious salad in like 2 minutes. Check it out.
Make the vinaigrette in a mason jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. These 16 oz. jars are the best size for dressings. I love mason jars because you can easily make (they have measurements!) and store dressings in the same container.
What Type of Lettuce Should I Use?
Choose a sturdy lettuce when making this simple salad. It will store well and make a better vehicle for the tangy lemon mustard vinaigrette.
Below are the best ones to use that are typically available at grocery stores:
Frisee – This was used for this post. It is a slightly bitter curly endive with yellow to light green leaves. The shape of its leaves create a voluminous salad. It can be eaten alone or mixed with other non-bitter greens for a great contrast.
Escarole – Very similar to frisee, except with smaller leaves and a bit more bitter.
Butter Lettuces – There are countless types of plump butter lettuces that create a great salad. Green leaf, red leaf, and bibb varieties are common ones you’ll see at the grocery store. These are mild in flavor so don’t overdress.
Another great option?
Go to your local farmer’s market if you have one and pick out a beautiful head of fresh lettuce. That is always a good idea.
Are There Any Optional Ingredients?
Lettuce and dressing is the base combination for this simple salad. it is totally appropriate to serve with just these two ingredients. But, here are some ideas to spruce it up a bit:
Canned or smoked fish – Want to add some protein to make it a meal? Add some canned or smoked sardines, yellowtail, tuna, trout, or salmon for a filling dish.
Shaved root vegetables – Use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to shave radishes, turnips, carrots, fennel, or kohlrabi.
Chicken – Have some leftover chicken from this buttermilk roasted chicken? Toss it on this salad.
Cheese – Is it ever a bad idea to add cheese to a salad? Probably not. Pecorino, Parmigiano-Reggiano, provolone, goat, or bleu cheese are all great options.
Want to Top This Salad With a Different Dressing?
Here are some great options: 10 Healthy Dressings That Make Everything Taste Better
Want More Salad Recipes? Check These Out.
Sometimes, you just need a healthy salad. A light dish that resets your appetite .
Check these simple salad recipes:
Simple Salad with Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette
- 8 oz. frisee, escarole, butter lettuce, or a mix
- 1 radish, shaved (optional)
- 1/4 cup Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Give lettuce a rough chop if the leaves are very large. Add vinaigrette to a large bowl. Add lettuce and radish (if using) to the bowl. Use your hands to toss and fold making sure each green is evenly coated. Season with a pinch of salt and toss again. Taste and add more salt as needed. Top with freshly cracked black pepper.
Ready to Make This Basic Salad?
So, do you believe me yet that it is possible to make a delicious salad with just two ingredients? I guess you’ll just have to make this salad to find out for yourself.
If you want to prep this salad in advanced and bring it for lunch, you’ll need have the right container. The key is to keep your salad dressing separate from the salad components.
I made this list of the best salad containers that does just that. Avoid soggy salads and meal prepped salads for the week with one of these.