My Mom used to make these kinds of simple green salads all the time. It's really just a grouping of fresh ingredients with lettuce as the base. Even though this kind of crisp, green salad is best suited for summer, I love this kind of thing all year round, especially when I'm pressed for time.
This variation features tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and radishes, but other raw vegetables can easily be varied according to taste and time of year. For example, I enjoy a little green or red cabbage from time to time, just to shake things up. As with all green salads, add the dressing just before serving so the lettuce won't get soggy.
1 medium green bell pepper
3 medium tomatoes
1/2 red onion
6 lettuce leaves (Iceberg, Romaine, or whatever you like)
Peel the cucumber with a vegetable peeler, or leave the skin on if you like. Cut the cucumber into very thin round slices. Remove the seeds and stems from the green pepper and cut the pepper into very thin round slices. Alternately, cut into matchsticks. Remove the stem from the tomatoes and cut them into thin wedges. Remove the leaves from the radishes, discarding them or saving them for some other dish, and cut the radishes crosswise into thin round slices. Peel the red onion, cut it in half, and cut through the layers, separating them into thin, curved strips. Cut or tear the lettuce into fork sized pieces.
Add all the vegetables, except the lettuce, into a large mixing bowl and toss. If you're using a vinaigrette type dressing, toss in about 1 to 1 1/4 cup of the dressing with the salad. If you're using something thicker, like Ranch dressing, you can toss it in now if you want, but I prefer to wait.
Arrange the lettuce into six salad bowls or plates. Even divide the dressed vegetables between the plates, pouring any remaining dressing from the mixing bowl evenly onto the salads. If using a thicker dressing, now is the time to pour it on, about 1 or 2 tablespoons of dressing per bowl.
Makes 6 servings.
If you like spicy food, try adding a chopped green chili pepper.
Almost any kind of dressing will work. I'll share a citrus and olive oil dressing that I rather like, next time.
Picture by Andrzej Gdula