Easy Garden Salad Recipe
This easy Garden Salad is inspired by our family’s favorite restaurant house salad. It’s filled with crisp chopped lettuce and ripe tomatoes tossed with crispy bacon, croutons, and creamy homemade Ranch Dressing.
We love recreating restaurant-style salad recipes right in our own kitchen, from a classic Caesar Salad to this all-American Cobb Salad. You’ll love the delicious combination of textures and flavors in this fresh garden salad.
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Easy Garden Salad with Homemade Dressing
Have you ever gone to a restaurant just for their house salad? We have! This is my son’s favorite salad at Goodwood Grill. He loves it so much, we decided to re-create it at home. This restaurant-inspired salad is easier than you think.
It’s loaded with crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, Crumbled Bacon, and a surprising ingredient: Boiled Eggs. The eggs make this house salad the perfect protein-packed side dish or meal in itself. It’s drizzled with our favorite homemade Ranch Dressing and never disappoints.
What is a Garden Salad Made of?
Below you’ll find the ingredients you’ll need for this easy salad. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full amounts and details.
- Iceberg Lettuce – Chopped iceberg lettuce is a popular choice for garden salads. It’s crisp, inexpensive, and really lets the other ingredients shine. Other good options are romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, or bibb lettuce (or any combination thereof).
- Tomatoes – We use cherry tomatoes, but chopped garden tomatoes or Roma tomatoes will also work.
- Bacon – Crumbled Baked Bacon (or Air Fryer Bacon) brings a delicious smoky, salty crunch to this garden salad recipe. Feel free to omit the bacon or replace it with chopped smoked peanuts or cashews if you’re making this salad vegetarian.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs – Eggs offer tons of extra protein. We have an easy method for Perfect Boiled Eggs that you can use.
- Croutons – Crunchy croutons are one of our favorite salad ingredients. You can even make your own with our recipe for Crunchy Garlic Croutons.
- Red Onion – For one more layer of flavor. You can also use chopped green onion or chives if you’d like.
- Ranch Dressing – If you have the time, I encourage you to make your own Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. It takes minutes with basic ingredients and you’ll really taste the difference. Otherwise, you can use your favorite store-bought ranch dressing instead.
How to Make a Garden Salad
The best part about this restaurant-copycat garden salad: It’s incredibly easy to make. With your ingredients prepped and ready, here’s how quickly it comes together:
- Start with Lettuce – Add your chopped iceberg lettuce to a large bowl.
- Add Toppings – Sprinkle on tomatoes, bacon, diced eggs, croutons, and red onion.
- Dress and Serve – When you’re ready to serve, drizzle over ranch dressing and give everything a toss. Serve your salad as a light meal, a starter, or as a side (see below for ideas).
Pro Tip: If you’re making this salad in advance, leave the dressing and croutons off right up until you’re ready to serve. That way the croutons will stay crisp and the salad won’t become soggy. See further down in the post for more make-ahead instructions.
What is the Best Garden Salad Dressing?
We love dressing this salad in my family’s favorite tangy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. It’s as easy as combining buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, white vinegar, herbs (chives, parsley, dill, and garlic), plus salt and pepper in a bowl. Give it a whisk, and it’s ready to serve. Refer to the link for the detailed recipe – you won’t be sorry!
If you prefer to toss this recipe with another homemade salad dressing such as:
It’s called a garden salad because it’s often made with veggies typically grown in the garden (tomatoes, lettuce, onions, etc.)
This garden salad recipe is high in protein (from the eggs) and packed with fresh veggies, for a healthy meal-in-one. Plus, you can adapt it to your family’s needs and preferences.
Absolutely. This salad is a total crowd-pleaser, so if you’re making it for a party or a large crowd, feel free to scale the ingredients as needed.
Salad add-ins and Variations
The beauty of a homemade salad is that it’s truly customizable depending on the season or the vegetables you have on hand. There’s room to really make this garden salad your own. Try these easy add-ins to your garden salad:
- Black olives
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Cubed feta cheese
Ways to Serve a Garden Salad
This is such a satisfying salad, I’ll often enjoy it as a main course for lunch with a piece of soft Focaccia Bread. It also makes a perfect house salad, pairing well with just about anything from Pan Seared Steak to Juicy Baked Chicken Breast.
You can assemble this garden salad 2-3 hours ahead of time, leaving off the dressing and croutons. Simply store the salad covered in the fridge. Right before serving, add the croutons and drizzle with the dressing. You can also prepare the Ranch Dressing up to one week in advance, and refrigerate it.
This effortless homemade Garden Salad is protein-packed and so tasty. Even the kids go crazy for the salty bacon and creamy ranch dressing. Have you made it yet? We’d love to hear what you think.
More Easy Salad Recipes
If you love this recipe for an easy house salad, wait until you try these other hearty homemade salad ideas:
P.S. Did you see our cookbook is now available to order? I’m so excited to finally share it with you! Actually, my favorite category in the book is Salads and we have amazing salads in the book that have never been shared on the blog. Click to learn more about Natasha’s Kitchen’s Cookbook!
Easy Garden Salad Recipe
- In a large mixing bowl, add chopped iceberg lettuce
- Scatter the remaining toppings over the lettuce: tomatoes, cooked bacon, eggs, croutons and onion.
- Just before serving, drizzle with dressing and serve.