Why Side Salads Are the Best Salads — Sensational Sides

Leafy greens and everything that join them are anything but punishment. Next time you're on the hunt for a side dish, think of these glorious leafy side salads.
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The utterance "I'm going to get a salad" often evinces visions of diets and other streaks of healthy eating. But, if you're asking me, leafy greens and their accompaniments are anything but punishment. On the contrary, our favorite green salads emanate fresh vibrancy with every invigorating bite. Plus, when they're enjoyed as a main dish, they bring a certain brightness to the main event. Next time you're on the hunt for a side dish, think of these glorious side salad recipes for all kinds of leafy greens.

Spinach

Toss together Food Network Kitchen's wholesome  Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts (pictured above) for a leafy green side topped with the bold tang of goat cheese. Each forkful of tender baby spinach gets a coating of a luscious homemade vinaigrette that features an extra dose of nuttiness thanks to three tablespoons of walnut oil.

Rachael-Ray-Strawberry-Salad

Rachael-Ray-Strawberry-Salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Tara Donne, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Mixed Greens

When your salad involves a blend of leafy greens, you get a well-textured dish that excites every bite. Rachael Ray's  Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette gets it green from your choice of romaine or mixed greens, while mixing balsamic vinegar with two teaspoons of strawberry jam makes for a fruity dressing. It may not be the peak of strawberry season just yet, but you can still get your hands on the ruby-red berries at your supermarket without a problem.

FNK_KALE_APPLE_SALAD_H_.jpg

FNK_KALE_APPLE_SALAD_H_.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Kale

Even after all this time, anyone who's anyone is eating kale. Bring the hearty green-leafed veggie into a  Kale and Apple Salad that's studded with the sweetness of dates, apples and almonds. When lemon vinaigrette and pecorino cheese are added to the mix, you get a most-flavorful union of flavors that'll have you making this side salad as a main in the future.

TylerFlorence_ArugulaSaladwithOliveOil_H

TylerFlorence_ArugulaSaladwithOliveOil_H

Chef Name: Tyler Florence Full Recipe Name: Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon, and Parmesan Cheese Talent Recipe: Tyler Florence's Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon, and Parmesan Cheese as seen on How to Boil Water. FNK Recipe: Project: Foodnetwork.com, Back to School/Sandwich Central/Dinner and a Movie/Sides Show Name: How to Boil Water Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Arugula

Especially when you're enjoying a salad as a side dish, simplicity is key. With a peppery, flavor-packed ingredient like arugula on your hands, you don't need much else. Tyler Florence's low-maintenance  Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon and Parmesan Cheese has the majority of the ingredients in its name, besides the compulsory sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Lettuce_011.tif

Lettuce_011.tif

Bibb

Drizzle crunchy Bibb lettuce with a creamy dressing amplified with anchovies, lemon, sour cream and herbs. Food Network Magazine's  Creamy Bibb Salad is so easy it just takes 10 minutes to toss together.

Romaine

It wouldn't be a complete list without the inclusion of a salad favorite: romaine lettuce. Bring it into another favorite,  Greek Salad, for a classic recipe brimming with veggies, feta cheese and briny Kalamata olives.

Cheddar_Bacon_FINAL.tif

Cheddar_Bacon_FINAL.tif

Photo by: David Malosh

David Malosh

Iceberg

When The Pioneer Woman is faced with a head of iceberg lettuce, she makes it into her crowd-pleasing  Cheddar-Bacon Wedge Salad from Food Network Magazine. With a creamy buttermilk dressing, crispy thick-cut bacon and cheddar cheese, it's a hearty salad you'll have a hard time keeping to the side.

Get more greens recipes from our friends:

The Cultural Dish:  Three Quick and Easy Salad Recipes

Weelicious:  Southwestern Salad
Virtually Homemade: Spinach and Bacon Salad

Elephants and the Coconut Trees:  Arugula and Grapefruit Salad

Dishin & Dishes: Tangle Thai Rainbow Salad
Homemade Delish:  Grilled Pineapple Spinach Salad

In Jennie's Kitchen:  Cabbage, Apple, Sesame Seed Salad

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