Best Simple Side Salad

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A simple green side salad with romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and a blend of two different delicious dressings! It’s perfectly paired with just about any soup or dinner to round out the meal.

side salad mixed together with dressing in serving bowl

My daughter has always liked foods that most would consider unusual for a young kid – runny eggs, hummus, peas, and salad. She was a champ. My son, while also a fairly great eater, has been a lot harder to convince. Although he loves sushi, so I pretty much give him a pass on everything else.

Several years ago, we’re over at my parent’s house and my mom serves grilled tri-tip, corn, and a side salad. My son grimaced at the lettuce, and politely asked me if he could have fruit instead. I said, “just take a few bites.” Well, he filled up on salad and barely had room for the actual dinner. Leave it to Nana – I swear I thought she put the tears of unicorns in there or something.

This has become my little go-to side salad recipe ever since. And my son never asks me to substitute fruit for it. We all love it so much.

overhead photo of chopped romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, pecans, and craisins in white bowl

Side Salad Recipe

You only need a short list of ingredients to put this side salad together (scroll down for the detailed printable):

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pecan halves
  • Caesar dressing
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Salt and pepper

The two dressings listed is not a mistake! Turns out, my mom had both dressings in the fridge, but only a little bit left in each container. Never one to waste food, she combined the two. And it is delicious! I do a 3 to 1 ratio, but you can try different amounts until the desired flavor is reached.

I prefer the Newman’s Own brand salad dressings, but use whatever brand you prefer, or if you’ve got favorite homemade versions, use those!

side salad ingredients in bowl with two wooden serving spoons

How to Make a Simple Side Salad

It’s so easy to make this side dish salad. You simply whisk both dressings together. Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl, coating with half the dressing. Then serve on individual plates and drizzle the remaining dressing over each one. I also like to sprinkle each serving with a pinch of salt and pepper.

How much side salad per person? The general rule of thumb is about 1 1/2 cups or 3 ounces per person.

Don’t let the little goodies get left behind!

green salad with dressing being poured over it

Recipe Variations

Over the years, I’ve played with the ingredients a little, while keeping the dressing the same. You can’t go wrong with the original combination or these variations:

  • Combine some iceberg lettuce with the romaine.
  • Replace the dried cranberries with dried cherries or raisins.
  • Swap out the cucumber for apples or pears.
  • Use candied pecans instead of regular ones.
  • Top with some ripe avocado.
  • Toss in some croutons.
overhead side dish salad in white bowl

What to Serve this Side Salad with

This is truly the best side dish salad that goes with just about anything. We especially love it with skillet steak, roast chicken, Salisbury steak, and Broccoli Cheddar Soup to round out the meal. It really goes with a number of soup recipes or beef stew, too!

I hope you love this delicious and simple recipe – be sure to give it a review below! Also don’t forget to follow Belly Full on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube!

side salad mixed together with dressing in serving bowl

The Best Side Salad

A simple green side salad with romaine, cucumber, tomato, craisins, pecans, and a blend of two different delicious dressings!

Prep Time 10 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 1/4 cup Caesar dressing
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes , cut in half
  • 1 cup cubed cucumber
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves


  • In a small bowl, whisk together both dressings until fully combined.

  • In a large bowl toss the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, cranberries, pecans, and 1/2 of the dressing mixture.

  • Divide among individual plates; drizzle with the remaining dressing and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.


For recipe variations, please refer to the full article.


Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 254mg | Potassium: 276mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4300IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information given is an automatic calculation and can vary based on the exact products you use and any changes you make to the recipe. If these numbers are very important to you, I would recommend calculating them yourself.

Other Notes

Course: Salad

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Side salad, Side salad recipe

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