How to make salad

How to make salad

How to make salad

by GBC Kitchen 3 June 2024

We guide you through everything you need to know about crafting the perfect salad, from advice on leaves to dressing recipes, tips for toppings and more.

How to make salad


We guide you through everything you need to know about crafting the perfect salad, from advice on leaves to dressing recipes, tips for toppings and more.

Crafting the perfect salad takes more than just tossing together some greens and a dressing. The secret to a truly memorable salad lies in the thoughtful combination of flavours, colours and most crucially, textures. Many salads use a base of leafy greens such as crispy Romaine or buttery Bibb lettuce, then toppings such as proteins, nuts and fruits to elevate and balance the whole dish. For example, the crunchiness of a handful of nuts can provide the perfect contrast to the lacy texture of frisée. A good variety of textures in a salad ensures that the overall texture doesn’t become too soggy or monotonous. 

What are the best leafy greens for salads?

When it comes to creating a delicious salad, choosing the right leafy greens is essential. Romaine lettuce stands out for its crisp texture and mild flavour, whereas the slight sweetness from spinach pairs perfectly with a variety of other ingredients. If you’re looking for a bolder flavour, rocket adds light, peppery notes, whereas butter lettuce has soft, velvety leaves which are milder and easier to balance with other flavours. 

How do I keep my salad fresh?

Keeping salads crisp and vibrant involves a couple of key tips and tricks. The first thing to do is to make sure that once you wash all of your leafy greens, and dry them thoroughly before tossing the salad together. Moisture is what makes stored salads go soggy, so store them in the fridge drawer to maintain the right humidity level. When you’re making a salad in advance, store the dressing separate from the base then mix them together ‘a la minute’; tossing right before serving helps to prevent wilting. Additionally, if you’re adding ingredients such as avocados or apples which tend to brown then toss them with some lemon juice to help prevent the oxidation process. 

Simple green salad and lemon vinaigrette recipe




Start by taking the butter lettuce leaves and tossing them in a large bowl along with the cucumber, avocado and tomatoes 


Whisk together the vinaigrette by adding the lemon juice, mustard, salt and honey to a bowl 


Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking, then drizzle over the salad 


Toss again to coat all of the leaves in the vinaigrette, then sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds and shaved parmesan 

What proteins can I add to salads?

Adding proteins to salads helps to make them more satisfying and well-rounded. Grilled chicken is a popular choice, as it is a lean protein that compliments a range of dressings and toppings. Grilled chicken is a classic choice of protein, particularly on Caesar salads and cobbs. Steak adds a rich, umai-packed element while plant-based proteins such as chickpeas, black beans and lentils are also great choices, adding lots of fibre and a contrast of texture. Try tossing chickpeas in olive oil and roasting them with spices such as sumac, paprika and cumin.

How long do salads last?

The storage time of salads will depend on a range of factors, including the ingredients used, how they are prepared, and environmental conditions. In most cases a freshly made salad can last in the fridge for 3-5 days, but salads containing high moisture fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes or cucumbers can become soggy more quickly. Chilling salads below 4°C is also essential, as this inhibits bacterial growth and helps to keep everything fresh. If the salad contains any perishable proteins such as chicken or seafood, it's usually best to eat it within 1-2 days to ensure food safety, but always use your judgement and look for any signs of spoilage such as bad odours, discoloration or sliminess. 

What toppings can I add to salads?

There are endless ways to top salads including toasted nuts and seeds, fresh fruits or cheeses. Tossing beans or almonds in olive oil with herbs and spices then toasting them until golden makes for the perfect salad topping, and crumbled cheeses such as feta, goat’s cheese or Stilton work wonderfully with a range of dressings and help to add a touch of richness. Fresh herbs such as basil, coriander or mint can brighten up the flavours in any salad, but for a savoury kick try adding some crispy bacon pieces. 

Salad recipes

At Great British Chefs we have hundreds of salad recipes to try if you’re feeling stuck in a rut. For something refined, try Tong Chee Hwee’s Duck salad, or Bruno Loubet’s Beetroot salad. If you’re a fan of Mediterranean flavours, give George Ryle’s seafood salad a go, or Nathan Outlaw’s Mackerel, tomato and samphire salad. 

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