This simple Green Salad with three lettuces, a bright lemon Dijon vinaigrette and parmesan cheese, will delight and satisfy at any occasion, whether a holiday feast or a weeknight meal.
Everyone knows how to throw a green salad together and toss it with dressing but what does it take to make a really great green salad? The best green salad has an interesting variety of fresh seasonal greens with contrasting flavors and textures, and it’s dressed with just the right amount of light flavorful vinaigrette.
A wonderful green salad isn’t hard to make but it does require some careful steps.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS GREEN SALAD
- Three great lettuces, kale, arugula and endive, bring an exciting range of colors, tastes and textures to this simple but exciting salad.
- The lemon, mustard and garlic vinaigrette is bright, zippy and flavorful.
- A generous heap of good-quality grated parmesan cheese coats the leaves in rich, savory, nutty deliciousness.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST GREEN SALAD
The recipe is simple. Whisk up the vinaigrette. Massage the kale (instructions below) and toss it with the arugula, endive, vinaigrette and parmigiana cheese, and it’s ready.
- Start by making the vinaigrette: Whisk lemon juice with mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking as you do, to emulsify the dressing.
- Next prepare the kale: Remove the tough stems, tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them into a large bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the leaves to tenderize them. A one or two minute olive oil massage should do the trick.
- Cut the endive: crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
- Dress and toss: Mix everything together in a big bowl: kale, arugula and endive. Toss with half the dressing and taste. Add more dressing slowly, tossing and tasting until the salad is perfectly dressed. Add parmesan and toss again.
DO YOU REALLY NEED TO MASSAGE KALE?
Because kale is hearty bordering on tough, it isn’t great for eating raw straight out of the bag. A one to two minute massage with a little olive oil works wonders to tenderize it.
So the answer is yes, if you’re putting raw curly kale into your salad, give it a nice olive oil rub for a couple of minutes and it will be the perfect texture for your salad. If you’re interested, here’s more info about how to massage kale.
Though I don’t usually suggest saving salad for leftovers, this salad is different. With its hearty greens and lively vinaigrette, it’s very tasty and barely wilted the next day.
That said, I don’t recommend making it a day ahead for a big event. Fresh is best. But if you do have any of this left over, wrap it up and throw it in the fridge and you’ll enjoy it for lunch the next day.
5 TIPS FOR MAKING GREAT GREEN SALADS
- How To select great lettuces for salad: A great salad starts with excellent greens. Pick seasonal greens that are fresh, crisp and unbruised. For a beautiful, lively tasting salad, choose two or three different lettuces of contrasting texture, flavor, color and leaf shape. Leave small leaves whole. Tear or slice larger leaves so they can be eaten gracefully.
- How to wash lettuce: Nobody likes grit in their salad, not even one grain. The best way to wash greens is to immerse them completely in a bowl of water or in the bowl of your salad spinner. Gently swoosh them around in the water to loosen the dirt, which will sink to the bottom. Slowly pour off the water and check for grit at the bottom of the bowl. If there’s grit, repeat the process until there’s no more grit.
- How to dry lettuce without a salad spinner: If you have a salad spinner you know how simple it is to spin lettuce dry. To dry lettuce without a salad spinner, shake the leaves to remove some water. Roll out a long sheet of paper towels and arrange the lettuces on it. Place another long sheet of towels on top and gently press down to absorb the excess water. If you’re storing the lettuce for later, simply roll it up gently from one end and pop the roll into a ziplock baggie (see step 4, below).
- How to store lettuce so It stays fresh and crisp for days: I love this technique for storing lettuces and herbs. It’s amazing how long the delicate leaves will keep if you do this. Roll out a big sheet of paper towels. Wash and mostly dry your greens, leaving them a bit damp. Arrange the leaves on top of the towels. Place another long sheet of paper towels on top. Roll the leaves up gently, place the roll into a large ziplock baggy, press out the air, seal and store in the fridge.
- How To Dress your Salad: It’s easy to overdress a salad and then you can’t undress it. So go slowly, adding the vinaigrette little by little, tossing and tasting, until your leaves are lightly coated and dressed to your liking.
Looking for more leafy salads to serve with dinner? Here are a few more of my favorites from Panning The Globe.
- Butter Lettuce Salad with Citrus Honey Vinaigrette
- Shredded Kale Salad with Lemony Honey Parmesan
- Classic Italian Insalata Tri Colore
- My Favorite Holiday Salad
Here’s The Best Green Salad Recipe. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think.Print
The Best Green Salad
This simple Green Salad with three lettuces, a bright lemon Dijon vinaigrette and parmigiana cheese, will delight and satisfy at any occasion, whether a holiday feast or a weeknight meal.
- Prep Time: 25 min
- Total Time: 25 min
- Yield: 8-10 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: no cook
- Cuisine: American
For The Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon more for massaging the kale leaves
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced or squeezed through a garlic press
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
For The Salad:
- 1 bunch curly kale (purple is nice if you can find it) thick stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces.
- 3 ounces baby arugula
- 2 large or 3 small heads of endive, cut crosswise into thin (¼-inch) slices
- 1–2 ounces finely grated good quality parmesan cheese such as Parmigiana Reggiano, plus a bit more for sprinkling on top. (2 heaping tablespoons)
- Make The Vinaigrette: Whisk lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly pour in olive oil, while whisking.
- Prepare the Salad: Put the kale into a large bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the leaves, working for a minute or two until the leaves are tenderized. Add arugula and endive. Toss to combine. Add the vinaigrette slowly, tossing and tasting, until the salad is dressed to your liking. Add parmesan and toss again.
- Garnish with additional parmesan.
Tips For Success:
- For this simple green salad to be the absolute best, use the freshest lettuces, good quality extra virgin olive oil and top notch parmesan cheese such as Parmigiana Reggiano.
- The vinaigrette can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temp before using.
- Kale leaves can be torn from their stems, washed, rolled up in paper towels, rolls sealed in ziplock baggies and stored in the fridge up to a day ahead.
- Endives can be washed and stored the same way as the kale. Slice them just before putting them in the salad for maximum crispness and to prevent them from browning.
Keywords: kale, arugula and endive salad, easy green salad, best green salad recipe