Everyone loves a House Salad from their favorite restaurant. It’s the perfect starter to any meal and loaded with tons of flavor thanks to all those crisp vegetables and croutons. If you’re lucky, you might even get an extra sprinkle of Cheddar cheese and a crumble of bacon.
Making a classic, American House Salad at home is easier than you think, and after you know what goes in a House Salad, all that’s left is to toss it all together and serve. Today we’re going to cover the ingredients that go in a House Salad, plus everything you need to know to make it as good as your favorite restaurant’s!
The House Salad is strangely named don’t ya think? Seeing as how we mostly eat it when we are out at a restaurant? Just about all mainstream, American restaurants serve them up – Cheddar’s, Chili’s, Outback, Applebees – just to name a few, and if you’re looking to copycat one of those restaurant’s House Salad, you’ve come to the right place. I think it’s high time we changed things up and bring it home, right where it belongs. Regardless of which spot serves up your favorite salad, the ingredients and the process remain the same and making it is not only going to be a cinch, it’s going to be a fraction of the cost.
WHAT GOES IN A HOUSE SALAD
- Crisp Lettuce (such as Romaine or Iceberg — often times mix of the two)
- Firm Tomatoes
- Sliced Cucumber
- Red Onions
- Cheddar Cheese (optional)
- Crumbles of Bacon (optional)
CHOOSE TOMATOES FOR YOU SALAD WISELY
Most tomato varieties tend to get grainy and dull in flavor outside of the summer months, but Campari and Vine-Ripened tomatoes are great options for larger tomatoes. They tend to keep both a more vibrant color and flavor even outside of tomato season.
If you plan to use one of these varieties for your salad, take care to remove the seeds before adding them to the salad so they don’t water down your lettuce. If you don’t want to mess with seeding tomatoes, try using grape or cherry tomatoes for your salad.
THE “OPTIONAL” INGREDIENTS
Don’t forget about the Cheddar cheese and bacon. I mean, we’re eating a pretty healthy serving of vegetables, here — think we earned the right to a few carbs.
If you’ve never grated your own cheese, this house salad is a great place to start. I promise you will taste the difference between freshly grated cheese and the pre-packaged stuff.
HOW TO MAKE A HOUSE SALAD AT HOME
House salad is really a very simple salad to make and doesn’t require to much time in the prep department. To make one at home you’ll first need to start with crisp lettuce. Romaine, Green Leef, and Iceberg are all excellent lettuce varieties for a house salad. Other vegetables often included are cucumber, red onion, and tomatoes. Red onions are best for salad as they tend to have a milder way about them than their white/yellow counterparts.
Simply combine the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. That’s all there is to making a House Salad at home!
HOUSE SALAD DRESSING RECIPES
Most restaurants will offer a variety of dressings to top off a House Salad. You can purchase your favorite store-bought salad dressing, or make any one of these homemade dressings:
MAKE-AHEAD SALAD INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOUSE SALAD
If you’re making the salad ahead of time, just leave the cucumbers, cheese, croutons, and dressing on the side, and your lettuce should stay nice and crisp for up to 24 hours.
When it all comes together, all that’s left is to dress it up and serve it up. My all-time favorite dressing for a House Salad is a classic, homemade ranch dressing. You can get that recipe here if you’d like.
It’s a salad you won’t want to leave home without…or rather, for. Quick and easy to assemble, and perfect for a simple healthy lunch or dinnertime side salad. Please, enjoy.
MORE RESTAURANT-STYLE SALADS:
- The Classic Wedge Salad is a steakhouse favorite, and a seriously easy salad to make at home! Serve it topped with crispy bacon and a homemade chunky blue cheese for your next steak night in!
- Caesar Salad with a Creamy Parmesan Dressing is great to serve alongside pasta dishes or as its own entree! Top it with chicken or shrimp and call it dinner!
- Panera’s Fuji Apple Chicken Salad has become a cult classic! It’s a flavorful salad, full of chicken, blue cheese, and dried apples.
- For even more flavorful and filling salad ideas, check out over 20 Hearty Salad Recipes you’ll love!
A classic house salad featuring crisp lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, cheese, and cucumbers.
- 4 c Mixed Romaine and Green Leaf Lettuce washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 11/2 c Grape Tomatoes
- 1 1/2 c Cucumber sliced at a 1/4” bias
- 1 c Croutons separated
- 3/4 c Red Onion halved and thinly sliced
- 2/3 c Freshly Grated Cheddar Cheese separated
- 1/2 c Salad Dressing
- 1/4 c crispy bacon crumbles
In a large serving bowl, toss together lettuce, half of the croutons, about two-thirds of the cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Add the dressing of your choice and toss to coat. Top with remaining croutons, cheese, and bacon and serve right away.