My Favorite Leafy Green Salad Recipe & My Favorite Salad Dressing, What’s Yours?

I may have mentioned a time or ten that I don’t really enjoy cooking. The only time I get excited about it is when I have family coming to visit or friends coming for dinner. It’s so much more fun when there’s the anticipation of a great dinner party with friends or family. Whenever I visit my grandsons, I get some good cookin’!

My daughter-in-love, Nancy, is a wonderful cook, the kind that can whip up a delicious meal on the fly with just whatever happens to be in the fridge. She makes a lot of great salads too and I always vow that I’m going to buy the ingredients to make more salads once I return home, but somehow I never get around to it–until now. I stopped by the grocery store a couple of days ago and purchased several packages of already-washed lettuces and greens. That’s Romaine lettuce in the bag in the center.

Lettuces, Greens for Healthy Salad


I also purchased a bunch of salad toppings/ingredients like I so often see in the salads Nancy makes. In a recent salad, she included cranberries, walnuts, and Feta cheese. I love Feta cheese!

Spice up a Green Salad with Fruit and Nut Toppings


Here’s how my salad looked just before I added my absolute favorite dressing, Garlic Expressions. After this photo was taken, I also added a small handful of blueberries to the salad. Just before leaving for Ohio, I had air-fried some chicken breast tenders (added Lemon Pepper to them prior to air frying) and had quite a few left over. I cut up one of those and tossed it into my salad, as well. I should try adding some avocado, I think that would be great in place of chicken sometime.

Healthy Salad with Protein for Lunch of Dinner


This bottle of dressing was nearly finished, so when I poured it onto my salad, a couple of the little garlic cloves from the bottom of the bottle came out into the salad–do you see those below? Garlic Expressions was another discovery made during a visit to see family. The flavor is just sooo good! What is your favorite dressing? Is there one you think I should try?

Delicious Salad with Protein, Great for Lunch or Dinner


What do you like in your green salads? Do you ever add chicken or a different kind of meat? I love how fast and easy this was to make and would love your suggestions for other kinds of quick and easy salads!

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

 Never miss a Between Naps on the Porch post! 

*Subscribe to have updates delivered to your Inbox. 


  1. I love to eat salads, I’ve always added nuts, cranberry raisins and avocado. Feta cheese always as I love it so much. Love it in my scrambled eggs as well. Just has some today, I made a pasta salad and put it in. I will add any meat, but it is mainly chicken that I use. But when I don’t want to eat my hamburger on a bun, I will chop it up and toss it on my salad. Your salad looks so yummy and that dressing looks really yummy! Never seen that kind around here. I love most all salad dressings, but my main one is honey mustard. Hope you enjoy lots more salads Susan! Hugs, Brenda

  2. I’m on the Mediterranean Diet way of eating – I make my own dressing for salads out of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar, with garlic and spices. I eat a lot of salads, but nothing with added sugar, just veggies, sliced almonds, a protein (chicken, tuna, hard boiled egg perhaps), avocado, crumbled goat cheese. Clean eating. Side note – have lost weight too! Enjoy your salads! Healthy Eating!

  3. Iris McCloud says

    I love garlic expressions but I hate feta. I will use hard boiled eggs, tuna, dries cherries, toasted almonds or pine nuts, sugar snap peas, black beans, cheeses other than feta just not all at once. Love salad !

  4. Cyndy Cook says

    If you like Garlic Expressions, you will probably like Kraft Aged Balsamic. It’s not as tart as a lot of the other balsamics.

  5. I love Wendy’s apple pecan salad and often duplicate it had home but using raspberry dressing. Still delicious without chicken. Maybe toss on some croutons.

  6. Becky O'Brien says

    I make my own dressing. Mince a shallot, blue cheese crumbles, salt and pepper, olive oil with half and much good balsamic and whisk til its blended and pourable. Looks a bit dark and cloudy but real delish.

    • I, too, make my own salad dressings. Nothing complex—olive oil, vinegar (red wine, balsamic, whatever!), pepper, minced shallots, minced garlic clove, then something that acts as an emulsifier such as honey or Dijon mustard. I put it in a cruet that has a built in ‘spinning mechanism’ which mixes the ingredients nicely. The dressing lasts for a long time in the fridge. I’ve never added blue cheese crumbles but that sounds delicious.

      My salads are similar to yours: mixed lettuce, lots of chopped veggies (carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, avocado, etc.) with chicken, nuts, then a sweet item such as dried cranberries, and croutons/topping.

      FYI, Trader Joe’s has some prepared chicken that I like but inventory has been spotty lately. I don’t care for their grilled chicken breasts as it tends to be too charred. But they have other items such as ‘Simply’ Turkey breast chunks that have minimal additives. It tastes home cooked unlike the ‘Big Brand’ chicken found in grocery stores.

  7. Becky O'Brien says

    *should be half as much balsamic as olive oil

    • Haha, thank you for specifying that, Becky. I was about to ask you to clarify when I scrolled down. Sounds delicious.

  8. We has grown some of the best cucumbers this year I had planned to make pickle but I keep putting then in salads. I use olive oil and different types of vinegar for dressing along with fresh herbs

  9. Nancy Lou Hauge says

    I love all the things you mentioned but have never seen the dressing on the shelf…usually do not like anything but home made but have found Iove Briannas poppy seed dressing but most of all I love the Briannas blush wine vinagrette with the strawberry on the front and cannot make myself try any others…but will trust that brand and try others too. Most other brands have a chemical taste I cant get past…will look for the garlic one…thanks for the tip!

  10. I love a good salad! I put all those goodies on mine but my favorite protein is leftover salmon. My go-to dressing is Olive Garden’s Italian when I don’t make my own.

  11. Hi Susan, your salad looks delish. I always love to hear about the recipes Nancy comes up with. She makes some great things.

    I have never heard of that particular salad dressing so I am looking forward to seeing if I can find it. I love, love, love salads. I make mine similar to yours and use ingredients I have on hand. I love chicken, but for some reason I can’t eat leftover chicken. It takes on a whole different taste and character to me. So if I want protein and don’t have time to cook some chicken, I might add a fish that I like such as salmon (usually that would be leftover from dinner) or the pollock that is disguised as crab, lol. I love fish, so to me it’s tasty and super easy to add on top of the salad. For the imitation crab, there is no cooking, it’s ready to go from the package. I also sometimes cook up some bacon and add that to my salads. Yum! And I always put something crunchy on top, like those little tortilla strips or even wonton strips. They add a nice crunch. Other than that, to the body of the salad, it depends on what’s on hand. I would be very satisfied with a salad like yours (I always use those nut / berry toppings as well) but if any or all of these were on hand, they might wind up in a salad; cucumber, pepperoncini, radish, parmesan cheese (love grated parmesan on salad!) or some other type of cheese, olives, green or black. I love Kalamari olives. Possibly some grated carrot or broccoli (like from broccoli slaw) garbanzo beans, even real basil leaves, which really add interest. Heck, you name it. If I like it, it might wind up in a salad, lol. I also sometimes make my own dressings to avoid the icky and ubiquitous soy oil that seems to be in everything these days.

    So those are my contribution ideas for your future salads. I’m probably forgetting something. Oh!! Avocado and tomato, duh. To me, those go without saying. And you might find it nice to try different lettuces. Like try a butter lettuce for a change of pace. Oh, and I recently made an Asian crunch salad that was out of this world. Lots of recipes on line for those. Hee, that’s probably more ideas than you needed, but I hope you enjoy all the things you try.

    • I agree Pam, I can’ eat leftover chicken either! No matter which way it was prepared the day before it just tastes “different”. Glad I’m not the only one!!

      • Oh my goodness! Thank you for posting this, Kathy. I thought I was the only one. You’re the only other person I have ever met who has the same issue. I love chicken when it’s prepared fresh, but it just seems so yucky when it’s leftover, so I can’t make big batches. I’m so glad to learn I’m no longer alone in this. 🙂

  12. Janice Markhoff says

    My favorite salad is called a Michigan salad. I make it at home. Mixed greens dried cherries, pecans, feta or bleu cheese tossed with Girard’s raspberry vinaigrette. Slice grilled chicken tastes good as well.

  13. I also love salads! I haven’t seen anyone mention yet adding chopped peppers – those little sweet colorful ones you buy in a bag. I also add sweet baby peas. These go so well with the parmesan cheese. I add shredded to the salad and top it off with a little dusting of grated. Makes it look fancy!

  14. My new favorite salad is one I call “Helen’s Salad” after they young lady who had made it. Mixed greens, goat cheese, peaches and glazed nuts. She served it with the Garlic Expressions (which must be an Ohio thing, as that is where she is from) dressing but said it was good with any balsamic vinaigrette. It is fabulous and would taste great with chicken as well.

  15. Terri J Santiago says

    Susan where do you buy the garlic dressing you use?

  16. Jill from Southern NH says

    I love adding strawberries or fresh in-season peaches to our salads, and often enjoy Stonewall Kitchen’s Balsamic Fig dressing with mixed greens or arugula, and walnuts, feta, cranberries etc. Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger dressing is one of my favorites for a grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, chopped red cabbage (or Asian slaw bagged salad mix), carrots or clementines/mandarin oranges, scallions, cilantro and water chestnuts – good for crunch! It’s really hot out today so my husband is grilling burgers for dinner so I’m putting together a little salad for two with some watermelon, basil, mint and feta drizzled with some balsamic glaze, either with or without mixed greens. Hope you enjoy all the salad possibilities you’re exploring!

  17. Love Salads!!! Each day a different one. Cobb Salads are fantastic.
    All the best,

  18. Your salad looks yummy! We eat a LOT of salads…I love to cut up a Costco chicken with strawberries and mandarin oranges and a few cashews. That dressing looks yummy, too. We usually use Gazebo House Greek Dressing, or I make my own with a little olive oil, red wine vinegar, some Mrs. Dash, and a squirt of honey. Eating healthy tasted delicious !

  19. All of these salads sound delicious, but I can’t stand garlic.

    • Maureen, check out some of the other salad dressings others are recommending. There are some great-sounding ones.

      • franki parde says

        “Dorothy Lynch”…& what Bobbie T. wrote. Salads are “almost” called “refrigerator roundup” in my domain…franki

  20. Omgoodness, I’ve been hooked on garlic expressions for a few years now! I was in the grocery back then, and a little older-than-me lady told me how good it was, that she would add it to tomatoes and cukes and her son thought she had made that famous marinated mix. I love it on cottage cheese with cukes and tomatoes too. It’s fabulous. It’s all I use.

  21. I love Garlic Expressions, but last time I looked, the serving size for calories and sodium were for a 1 tablespoon serving, not 2 as most dressings are listed. It had more sodium than my husband, who needs to follow a low sodium diet, realized he was eating. Nothing against it, just be sure if there are issues in your household or with friends. The dressing was actually invented and originally made in my hometown, and its inventor ran a wonderful restaurant. Many a happy anniversary was spent dining there!

  22. That sounds so good. I have never seen Garlic Expressions but sounds like something I would love.
    I have several different salad combinations that I love. One I love is spinach and romaine with fresh strawberries and blueberries, garbanzo beans, celery, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds or walnuts. This is good with a balsamic vinaigrette. I also love spinach salad with chopped boiled egg, crisp bacon crumbles, and Thousand Island dressing. Simple but delicious.

  23. I love to mix the greens in my salads also, but we usually will add Ham cubed or sliced if I don’t have chicken. We also will put in Cantelope balls, or Watermelon balls. If I have either one that needs to be used. We love all fruits and nuts along with raisins. And sometimes if I have leftover Chinese noodles ( the dried crunchy kind) will throw those in there. I also add Jicama to my salads they are so good and crunchy!

  24. You can purchase Garlic Expressions from Amazon in multiple bottles! I also get Colavita white balsamic vinegar and use it to make my own fat free dressings. It is fabulous! Greens prewashed in the bag or containers are easy to add any of the things you like. Good eating!

  25. I make my salads just exactly like you do and I get Garlic Expressions all the time. It was also something I learned from my daughter in law. All three of their girls absolutely LOVE it. I also make a cucumber salad with English cucumbers, small pear tomatoes, slices of red onion and S&P. Mix it all together and pour over the Garlic Expressions. One of the ladies working in our Fresh Market told me that’s how they made a cuke salad for their deli. I’ve been making it ever since. I have found that our Publix has run short of Garlic Expressions at times so when I get it, I always buy two. There is nothing better than a nutritious salad with Garlic Expressions dressing and it isn’t necessary to drown a salad in dressing, so I think it’s worth it.

    Carolyn/A Southerner’s Notebook

  26. Jane Briscoe says

    Brianna’s Poppy Seed Dressing is my current favorite.

  27. Cyndi Raines says

    I love salads and eat them alot changing up the ingredients but I will add the following depending on what I have on hand: with cranberries, or fresh strawbwerries, pecans, a mix of Colby and cheddar cheese, avocado, sunflower seeds, cucumbers, tomatoes, or raw zucchini or yellow squash. I like to cut up red, yellow or orange peppers as they have a sweeter flavor to me then green peppers. I have even added in some dill pickles or wonderful beets, also black or green olives. I often use chicken or tuna. I love Ranch or poppyseed or raspberry vinegarette. I will look for this dressing, sounds wonderful.

  28. Cyndi Raines says

    I love salads and eat them alot changing up the ingredients but I will add the following depending on what I have on hand: with cranberries, or fresh strawbwerries, pecans, a mix of Colby and cheddar cheese, avocado, sunflower seeds, cucumbers, tomatoes, or raw zucchini or yellow squash. I like to cut up red, yellow or orange peppers as they have a sweeter flavor to me then green peppers. I have even added in some dill pickles or wonderful beets, also black or green olives. I often use chicken or tuna. I love Ranch or poppyseed or raspberry vinegarette. I will look for this dressing, sounds wonderful. Thank you Susan.

I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment!