How to Make Better Salads Without a Recipe

April 25, 2016


With these tips for riffing on classic dishes (Mom's chicken salad, anyone?), you can make a delicious meal that doesn't require any recipe, so you're ready to improvise at the table any time—with whatever you bought too much of at the farmers marekt. With a few simple bases to choose from, simply decide on the add-ins, whip up some dressing, and enjoy your creation, sans recipe. 

A New Potato Salad

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A Take on Chicken Salad

A Better Leafy Green Salad

A Great Big Pasta Salad

A Mightier Kale Salad


A Better Quinoa Salad

An Exciting Grain-based Salad

Of course, no salad is complete without dressing. Make your own vinaigrette to go along with your new concoctions. 


Do you have a favorite salad method that doesn't use a recipe? Tell us in the comments!

Seventh photo by Bobbi Lin, all other photos by James Ransom

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Debra Ballard
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Taylor Rondestvedt

Written by: Taylor Rondestvedt

Is never without a loaf of rye bread and currently stocks 5 different butters in her kitchen.


Debra B. May 2, 2016
Here'so the perfect salad dressing add whatever flavor you prefer. Debbie De Roo 3:2:1 dressing; In a jar add 3 tblsps oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tblsps dijon mustard 1 tblsps salt and fresh ground pepper. shake well and voila!
Brigitte B. May 1, 2016
In the summer I make a fruit based salad that goes something like this: large chunks of a tropical fruit (papaya, mango or pineapple) add a handful of your favorite nuts toasted, macadamia if you're feeling flush and then a grilled lean protein. Make a lime based vinaigrette and you're done. If you feel you need greens serve it on a bed of Boston lettuce or whatever strikes you at the moment.