Delicious Side-Dish Salad Recipes That Will Steal the Spotlight

Escarole, Radicchio, and Fuyu Persimmon Salad
Photo: Blaine Moats

When you have a big feast planned, the sides are just as important as the main dish. And while potatoes are always a hit, a side salad can be equally exciting (yes, really). Leave the plain lettuce bowls in the past and try one of these delicious side-dish salad recipes for a fresh addition to your dinner table. With tons of healthy greens, homemade salad dressings, and yummy toppings, you'll find a side salad here to complement any meal.

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Caramelized Squash Salad with Pistachios and Goat Cheese

Caramelized Squash Salad with Pistachios and Goat Cheese
Andy Lyons

Zesty orange juice and freshly grated ginger bring bold citrus flavor to this far-from-boring salad recipe. Toasted pistachios and tender butternut squash add layers of texture to every bite. We like goat cheese for the tangy finish but if you're not a fan leave it out or substitute feta cheese for a milder take.

02 of 15

Iceberg Wedge Salad with Bacon, Carrots, and Radishes

Iceberg Wedge Salad with Bacon, Carrots, and Radishes
Blaine Moats

You can't go wrong with this side salad. Crispy bacon adds a salty crunch to lettuce wedges, carrots, and radishes. Top with a garlicky oil-and-vinegar dressing for an unforgettable side-dish salad recipe that'll steal the show.

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Shaved Fennel Salad with Dill, Arugula, and Walnuts

Shaved Fennel Salad with Dill, Arugula, and Walnuts
Jason Donnelly

This easy side-dish salad recipe is a great way to use your summer bumper crop of zucchini. The thin-sliced zucchini along with fresh ingredients such as dill, fennel, and feta cheese provide a flavorful balance to peppery arugula. Use a food processor to make easy work of shaving the fennel.

Buy It: Hamilton Beach Food Processor ($58, Target)

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Fresh Corn Salad

Fresh Corn Salad
Andy Lyons

Sweet corn, refreshing cucumber, and cherry tomatoes temper the heat of spicy jalepeños in this colorful side-dish salad. At just 77 calories per serving, it makes a healthy and tasty addition to any meal.

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Celery and Apple Salad with Walnuts

Celery and Apple Salad with Walnuts
Blaine Moats

Take plain celery from boring to celebratory with this delicious side-dish salad recipe. Keep the leaves on the celery for extra eye appeal and earthy flavor. Along with the fresh apples and walnuts, the crunch factor here is hard to beat.

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Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Cauliflower Tabbouleh
Andy Lyons

Classic tabbouleh salads have bulgur. For a lightened-up version, we opt for riced cauliflower. You'll love the light lemony dressing and refreshing herbs (use one or more of mint, parsley, or dill). Enjoy this side-dish salad alongside your favorite Mediterranean recipes.

Buy It: B. Smith 3-Piece Wood Salad Set ($50, Bed Bath & Beyond)

07 of 15

Escarole, Radicchio, and Fuyu Persimmon Salad

Escarole, Radicchio, and Fuyu Persimmon Salad
Blaine Moats

With crunchy chicory greens, Fuyu persimmons, and toasted walnuts, this colorful and exotic side-dish salad is sure to please. Manchego cheese provides a mild flavor and buttery texture. Fuyu persimmons are usually available October through December, so if you can't find them, substitute papaya or mango slices.

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Avocado and Blood Orange Salad with Almonds and Chile Oil

Avocado and Blood Orange Salad with Almonds and Chile Oil
Jason Donnelly

Bright blood oranges add color to a basic arugula salad, while red pepper-infused olive oil gives a little spice. Top your side salad with toasted nuts for added crunch. Use our tips for sectioning citrus fruit to avoid any bitter flavor that comes from the thin outer membranes.

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Stacked Vegetable Salad

Stacked Summer Vegetable Salad
Blaine Moats

Try a sophisticated twist to your usual side salad by elegantly stacking your veggies instead. A simple vegetable peeler or mandoline works wonderfully when slicing the ingredients into thin ribbons for stacking.

Buy It: OXO Handheld Mandoline ($18, Target)

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Classic Chopped Salad

Classic Chopped Salad
Andy Lyons

Why do chopped salads taste so good? By using bite-size pieces of your favorite ingredients, you get a little bit of everything in each forkful for maximum flavor. Our classic healthy green side is chock-full of veggies and an unbeatable homemade dressing made with créme fraiche.

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Tuscan Kale Salad with Pecorino

Tuscan Kale Salad with Pecorino
Andy Lyons

Requiring only 25 minutes to make from start to finish, this tasty kale salad makes a great weeknight side option. If you want to cut even more time, make the light, garlicky dressing in advance.

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Grilled Romaine Panzanella

Grilled Romaine Panzanella
Andy Lyons

Grilling out this weekend? Might as well give your side salad a bit of char, too. Our grilled veggie side is a creative take on the Tuscan chopped bread salad that features tomatoes and ciabatta that also get some flame time. After adding chopped bacon and a hearty vinaigrette made with some of the reserved drippings, this salad borders main-dish territory.

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Triple-Melon Salad

Triple-Melon Salad
Carson Downing

This side-dish salad recipe is basically summer on a plate. Choose whatever melon varieties are in season to create a super refreshing salad. Red onion, crumbled feta, and arugula make the perfect contrasting flavors to the sweet melon.

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Wilted Spinach Salad with Cranberries and Pears

Wilted Spinach Salad with Pears and Cranberries
Andy Lyons

Side salads don't always have to be cold. A red wine vinegar dressing provides great flavor to this wilted spinach salad. Sliced pears and dried cranberries add the perfect sweet-tart bite. Add gorgonzola cheese for a rich, creamy tang that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

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Balsamic-Dried Cherry Salad Toss

Balsamic-Dried Cherry Salad Toss on a plate
Blaine Moats

This 25-minute side salad yields 10 servings, making it an excellent addition to a potluck spread. Tart cherries pair beautifully with the above-average homemade balsamic dressing featuring honey (use agave to keep it vegan-friendly), Dijon-style mustard, and a bit of soy sauce.

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