How To Make Salad Taste Good

Prepared salads can often be a waste of money. While you might pay for convenience, you could just as easily make a salad at home while saving a few bucks along the way. The secret of how to make salad taste good? That comes down to the ingredients you put in it, and trust us, it takes a little more than just lettuce, dressing, and croutons. 

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Start With The Base

The base is the very beginning step to a great salad. We recommend you begin experimenting with different types of lettuce, from mixed greens to baby kale, iceberg to butter lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and more. They all have different tastes and textures, so play around and try it raw to get the real feel for what it has to offer.

Bagged or Fresh?

Well, it’s up to you! Depending on where you are, one may be more convenient than the other. Our tip: grab the one that looks and feels the the most fresh. If a couple of pieces look a little wonky, put it back, and move on to the next. Nothing is worse than bad lettuce, yuck.

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Add Some Color With Vegetables

Adding vegetables to a salad provides a nice amount of moisture and texture. You can add in raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, grilled vegetables, and even roasted or pickled vegetables. They’re all going to offer a little different kick, and if you’re not big on veggies, try shredding or cubing them into really small pieces. Make sure to put them in there though, your body will thank you for the nutrients all day (and night) long!


  • Salsa
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Olives
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Squash
  • Radishes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Avocado
  • Beets
  • Peas
  • Ginger
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Flavor With Fruit

Fruit in a salad that isn’t fruit salad, say what!? Yep! Similar to putting fruit on a taco, a little bit goes a long way and adds a nice little bit of sweetness from nature’s candy, which is especially nice if you’re not big on the bitter flavor that some salad greens and vegetables can offer. Bonus points - fruit in a salad makes it feel a little more ‘restaurant-style’, especially during the summer months when the fruit is the most fresh.


  • Mango
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Dried Fruit (apricots, cranberries, blueberries, etc)
  • Freeze Dried Berries (strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
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Add Some Crunch

A little crunch goes a long way when you’re trying to make salad taste good. We recommend throwing in some homemade croutons made from stale bread or leftover bread crust, nuts, seeds, crunchy vegetables and even dried beans.


  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Slivered Almonds
  • Homemade Croutons
  • Beet Chips
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Dried chickpeas
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Dried peas
  • Peas
  • Pomegranate
  • Edamame
  • Quest Protein Chips

Add Quality Protein

A good salad needs protein, not only because protein is good for you, but to keep you satiated longer and nourished better. Whether your protein comes from plants or animals, don’t forget this crucial step. You can grill, roast, bake, poach, or fry your protein, but like we said, don’t forget it, ok?


  • Grilled chicken
  • Steak
  • Flank Steak
  • Roasted salmon
  • Broiled salmon
  • Poached shrimp
  • Imitation crab
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned salmon
  • Ground chicken
  • Ground turkey
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Beans and rice
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Don't Forget The Extras

The extras can get fun, but salad eater beware, the calories can add up here so proceed with caution. Aim to add a little bit of texture, like a crunch from some nuts or seeds, a savory texture with some cheese, or a touch of sweetness from fresh or dried fruit. 


  • Cheese
  • Herbs
  • Feta
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Goat Cheese
  • Fruit
  • Quinoa
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Homemade croutons

Finish With Dressing

Whether it’s homemade or store-bought, the quality of your dressing matters. If you’re not going to make a dressing at home with extra virgin olive oil, salt, herbs, and pepper, then we recommend reading the ingredient label. If you can, try to avoid those with hydrogenated or highly-refined oils that cause unnecessary levels of systemic inflammation in the body. Typically speaking, the shorter the ingredient list, the better. Add a small amount of dressing, mix, then maybe add a little more. Keep in mind you can always add, but you cannot subtract.

How To Make Salad Taste Good - In Conclusion

All in all, making an awesome salad, and mixing it up doesn’t have to be an expensive or complicated process. If you’re still wondering how to make salad taste good, then it’s time to head to the store and to try it out for yourself with our pro tips from The Swole Kitchen Coaches. Here at TSK, we help people just like you discover how to optimize their food intake to not only include the foods that they love but foods that are nutritious and able to support both physical and performance goals.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain muscle, improve performance, or just have a better relationship with food overall, then coaching may be right for you.


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THE SWOLE KITCHEN provides 1:1 nutrition coaching, macro coaching, and custom meal plans to help guide you to becoming the best version of yourself.

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Tags: Nutrition