Sometimes you need just a delicious, basic tossed green salad for a crowd! This salad is perfect for a dinner party and could not be easier! The simple homemade dressing adds so much fresh flavor and makes it truly special, yet hassle free!
It’s always great have a basic salad recipe in your back pocket….a salad made with fresh greens that will complement a main dish at a party, or just be your everyday, easy side salad.
This simple tossed salad recipe is your answer! Crisp fresh veggies are tossed with a delicious homemade Italian-style dressing that’s a cinch to make.
It’s the easiest side dish when you don’t know what else to make…this will be your go-to house salad!
If you need a perfect salad that is even more simple, try my Simple Arugula Salad or this Arugula and Spinach Salad! — both you can make that one less than 5 minutes!!! Need a more hearty crowd-pleasing salad? You have to try this Dorito Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing and this delicious Bruschetta Salad with Chicken!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Simple salad full of fresh veggies, crunch and a delicious homemade dressing.
- A great Italian salad that pairs well with pasta.
- Can be made ahead of time for stress-free entertaining.
- So many ways to customize this simple salad!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this amazing tossed green salad for a crowd:
Lettuce: Romaine is great but I also LOVE this salad with iceberg lettuce OR a combination of both!
Green Olives: You can also use small black olives.
Croutons: Homemade croutons or store-bought are just fine!
HOW TO MAKE A TOSSED GREEN SALAD FOR A CROWD: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together ingredients for the simple dressing.
Step 2: Wash your greens (use a salad spinner and pat dry with paper towels). Then add to a large salad bowl.
Step 3: Top the salad with all other ingredients.
Step 4: Right before you are ready to serve, add dressing and toss.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Turn this salad into a healthy main dish by adding in your favorite proteins like chicken breast, white beans or shrimp.
- Slice all of your veggies in about the same size — and not too small! Since you are making this salad for a crowd, you want to give guests the option to pick things out (there’s always that person, right?!).
- If you are completely strapped for time, use a great bottled Italian dressing. We love Ken’s Steakhouse Light Northern Italian Dressing!
- If you want your red onion to be a little less strong in taste, soak the slices in ice water for about 10-15 minutes while you are getting the other ingredients together. The taste will be a lot more mild.
SALAD PREP & STORAGE
Make Ahead: If you are making this salad more than a day ahead, prep all your ingredients and dressing, but store them separately. This is important so the salad stays crisp. When you are ready to serve, toss everything together.
I like prepping my lettuce (washing and completely drying) and storing it in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Storing Leftovers: Leftover salad that has been dressed with the salad dressing does not keep well in the fridge. It will store OK, for 12-24 hours, tops. If you have a little leftover salad, you can just cover it with plastic wrap or put it in an air tight container and have it for lunch the next day! The croutons will get a bit soggy, though 🙂
ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Additions: There are so many fun ingredients you can mix and match! Some ideas are:
- Veggies: Bell peppers, carrots, radishes and beets make great additions to mix in.
- Crunch: sunflower seeds, pine nuts, almonds.
- Protein: Grilled chicken is so delish on this salad if you want to make it more of a meal and less of a side salad.
Substitutions: Here are some great swaps.
- Oil: Vegetable oil or canola oil will also work in place of the extra virgin olive oil.
- Red Onion: I love the flavor and crunch of the red onion, but you can swap it out with thinly sliced yellow onion, white onion or leave it out all together.
- Cheese: I love the shaved Parmesan with the Italian-style dressing, but you can also use mozzarella cheese. I tend to stay away from feta cheese and goat cheese when making this salad for a crowd, since some people tend to have strong aversions to these particular cheeses!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can make this salad up to two days in advance. Prep the dressing and all ingredients (wash and chop veggies), and store them separately in the fridge. Toss the salad at the last minute when you are ready to serve!
Prep and store dressing and ingredients separately in the fridge as listed above. You can also assemble the salad up to 4 hours in advance and toss it with the dressing when you are ready to serve.
I like adding extra crunch! Nuts, seeds and different flavors of croutons can jazz things up! Bacon bits are also fantastic!
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OTHER DELICIOUS SALADS YOU’LL LOVE
The Best Tossed Green Salad for a Crowd
Italian-Style Dressing Ingredients
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 8 cups iceberg or romaine lettuce, chopped into 1/2" slices or "ribbons"
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup cucumber, sliced European seedless cucumbers are great
- 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced (See Note 1) a small yellow onion also works
- 1/2 cup green olives more if you like!
- 1-2 cups croutons
- Parmesan shavings, to taste
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients; set aside. You can also put all of the dressing ingredients in a medium sized jar and shake until everything is combined. Season with more salt, if needed and set aside.
- Wash your lettuce (use a salad spinner and pat dry with paper towels). Then add to a large salad bowl.
- Top greens with all other ingredients (at this point, you can cover the salad with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to 4 hours).
- When you are ready to serve, add the dressing, a little at a time, and toss the salad with tongs. I usually reserve a little extra dressing to serve on the side.