It almost seems ridiculous to write about salad. Isn't it just one of the most basic things out there? Well, yes and no.
Sure, a salad can be elementary -- just something you pour from a bag and douse in bottled dressing. And it can be decent like that, especially if the dressing is good. It's a fast and easy side dish for your dinner.
But a dinner salad can also be something far more exciting. For instance, trade the bag for some baby spinach, sliced strawberries and candied nuts, and you have something light but amazing. Or go simple with some romaine hearts, a blue-veined cheese and a light vinaigrette and you have a nice dinner salad.
Now, the trick with a dinner salad (by that I mean a salad that is served as a side dish or appetizer with dinner) is to keep it light and fresh. You don't want to be bogged down with a heavy salad, if you are also having dinner with it.
Start with a lettuce. I prefer romaine or Boston, but any lettuce you like will do. Next, add a couple veggies. My husband isn't a huge veggie lover, so mine typically has shredded carrots (I shred them by hand with a peeler) and occasionally grape tomatoes or diced peppers.
Then comes the optional items like cheese (don't add too much - the cheese should be more of a hint than a statement), croutons (I prefer homemade), fruit (such a pomegranate seeds, roasted apples or strawberries) and nuts/seeds. Only choose one or two of these to add to a dinner salad, so that you don't overwhelm it.
Finally, let everyone dress their own salad. For the best bite, make your own dressing. You won't be sorry. Here are a few good homemade options: