Make Salads Delicious Again With This Handy Cheat Sheet

If you’re one of those people that looks at a menu and thinks to themselves, ‘Ew, who would order a salad?’, there’s a good chance that you’ve never had a good salad before. It’s a sector of the food world that has been so intrinsically tied to dieting and weight loss that it’s hard to separate them and see salad for the delicious and indulgent dish that it can be. 

The secret to a great salad lies in the balance. You want to have a combination of different flavours and textures to play with but not so many that you’re overwhelmed. This can be easily achieved when you break each component into categories and pick one from each category.

Below is a rough guideline of everything you need to make a great salad. So pick an item from each category and figure out which combinations work for you. Feel free to mix and match ingredients to find your favourite combination and don't be afraid to branch out and try a brand-new recipe as well.


The heart of any salad is the green leafy gang. If you’re a salad beginner, stick with iceberg since it goes with anything, but if you’re looking for more nuanced flavours pick peppery arugula or a robust baby spinach.

  • Iceberg
  • Arugula
  • Romaine
  • Lollo Rosso 
  • Baby Spinach


Every salad needs some veggies, so pick your favourites and toss them in. Most vegetables can be used raw after cleaning but for an extra hit of flavour sautee or grill them with some garlic and butter first.

  • Sauteed Mushrooms
  • Green Beans
  • Green Onions
  • Corn
  • Broccoli 


Vegetables are great but they can’t always provide all the protein you need to get through the day. By adding a protein element you can make your salad more filling and delicious. 

  • Cold Cuts or Grilled Meats
  • Chickpeas
  • Paneer
  • Tofu
  • Egg


Most of the time when you find a salad too light or unfulfilling, it’s missing a base. A carb-rich base can make your basic salad into a proper meal.

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous
  • Potato
  • Pasta


The texture is everything. Having small elements that make every bite interesting and crunchy breaks the monotony of eating a salad and adds to your overall enjoyment.

  • Toasted Almonds
  • Pita Chips
  • Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds
  • Croutons
  • Coconut Crisps


Adding a sweet element to a salad can balance out all the vegetable elements and really elevate each bite.

  • Figs
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Raisins
  • Candied Walnuts

Fresh Herbs

If you want an extra special touch in a salad, try fresh herbs. They’ll add a zing to an otherwise boring experience. Try to stick with tender leafy herbs rather than woody ones like rosemary or thyme for a more pleasant bite. 

  • Parsley
  • Coriander
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Basil


A good dressing can change the entire flavour profile of a salad. But be careful with how much you add because it can quickly overwhelm all the other elements you’ve put so much work into.

  • Balsamic Vinegarette
  • Yoghurt Dressing
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Peanut Butter Dressing
  • Honey Mustard Dressing


The final garnish is where you can get an extra heft of seasonings. The salty edge helps lift the rest of the flavours and balance out the final salad.

  • Feta Cheese
  • Olives
  • Parmesan
  • Bacon
  • Capers