Guide to Making The Best Vegan Salads

Tired of the same old salads day after day? In this Vegan Salad Guide, you'll not only get inspiration for tons of delicious and exciting new salads, but you'll learn how to mix and match for the best texture, taste, and nutrition.
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How to Make A Superhero Vegan Salad
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Your Guide to Making The Best Vegan Salads

Have you ever wondered why you get so sick of salad sometimes? Is it because your lettuce has lost its luster and your dressing is downright dreary? Maybe you can think of only cucumber chunks or tired tomatoes to toss in? Our ultimate vegan salad guide is the solution!

Are we doomed to constantly create the most boring bowl of plain, passive produce? Not anymore, my fresh veggie-loving friends! It’s time to fight back against our fearsome foes—Limp Lettuce Man and Kranky Kale Woman!

Today, we’re going to turn your Clark Kent collection of gloomy, grumpy greens into the Superman (or woman) of all salads! Find the nearest phone box (or iPhone store), lug on those leggings, and grab your most colorful cape. Let’s make a superhero salad!

1. Gather Those Greens

Like any good vegan salad guide, we’ll start with the greens. While iceberg may be the tried and true lettuce for a standard salad, we know that we can do better! There are so many types of tasty greens to choose from, you’ll never have to make the same salad twice.

Here are some of our favorite greens to use in a salad:

  • Sweet & Mild – romaine, butter lettuce, iceberg
  • Best Blend – spring mix, 50/50 baby spinach/spring mix, mesclun
  • A Little Bit of Bitter – baby kale, dandelion greens, escarole
  • Perky & Peppery – arugula, watercress
  • Throw in Some Texture – frisée, green leaf, curly endive
  • Call in the Color – red leaf, radicchio, endive

To make your salad even more superb, use this system to entice your senses:

  • Monochrome – Create a salad base using only green lettuce, but use many colorful toppings and veggies on top.
  • Variegated – Use as many different shades of green, purple, white and yellow leaves as you can find and then top with only one color veggie and a neutral color topping (ie. strawberries, tomatoes, and chopped nuts OR carrots, orange bell pepper, and black sesame seeds).
Gather Your Greens for the Best Vegan Salads

2. Vary Your Vegetables

The best way to make salads less boring is to create a burst of color in every bowl. When your eyes are excited by a rainbow of colors and textures, your belly will beg for more!

Here are some cool and colorful veggies to make your salad sing:

  • Red – beets, hot peppers, radishes, red bell peppers, tomatoes
  • Orange – carrots, orange bell peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
  • Yellow – corn, squash, tomatoes, yellow bell peppers
  • Green – asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, green bell peppers, olives, green peas, sugar snap or snow peas
  • Purple – purple cabbage, purple potatoes, red onion
  • White – cauliflower, garlic, onions, parsnips, potatoes, shallots
  • Brown – mushrooms
  • Black – olives

Another good idea is to vary the size and shape of each of your veggies. Chopping is fine for a quick, spur-of-the-moment salad but, if you have the time, add a little extra effort with your chef’s knife. Use two or three different techniques to achieve the most appetizing appearance.

Fun Shapes to Try:

  • Spirals
  • Diced
  • Chunks
  • Shreds
  • Matchsticks
  • Cookie Cutter Shapes (involve the kids with this one!)

Helpful Kitchen Tools:

  • Mandoline – Very handy for slicing in any thickness.
  • Spiralizer – Creates lovely, long vegetable spirals and curls.
  • Food Processor with a shredding and grating attachment – this video is super helpful!
  • Wide-Mouth Mason Jars – Perfect for storing all of your fresh and colorful vegetables in the fridge.
  • Colander – For washing your greens and veggies
  • Can Opener – For opening cans of beans and other salad add-ons
  • Knife – A sharp chef’s knife for chopping up your greens and veggies

3. Select a Sauce

Less is always more when it comes to a salad sauce or dressing. My instinct is to add a waterfall of watery dressing so that my salad can swim happily. Do yourself a favor and do the opposite of this.

Assemble your sassy salad and then portion it out onto individual plates. Let everyone add their own amount and let the rest of the bowl go bare. Believe me, this makes it much easier to store later on.

A good rule of thumb is 2 tablespoons of dressing per medium bowl of salad, give or take. It might not seem like a lot at the time, but once you get it mixed in, it’s the perfect amount. Some people may even prefer their salad completely plain.

Quick & Easy Vegan Salad Dressing

Author: Gina House
5 from 7 votes
This quick and easy salad dressing is a versatile formula and can be made in a snap! Just mix everything together and you've got a delicious easy dressing. 
Rainbow Salad in a Jar | Easy Lunch On The Go | | #salad #lunch #vegan #masonjar #zerowaste #quinoa #budget
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4


  • ½ cup oil, olive, avocado, vegetable, safflower
  • ¼ cup vinegar, rice, red wine, balsamic, champagne
  • 1 tablespoon mustard, stoneground, yellow or dijon
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener, agave, maple syrup, sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic and/or onion powder
  • Pinch salt and pepper


  • In a small bowl add the oil, vinegar, mustard, sweetener, garlic and/or onion powder, salt, and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined and serve over salad greens!


Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Course Dressing
Cuisine American
Keyword salad dressing recipe, vegan salad dressing

Our Favorite Dressing Recipes:

Simple Dressings (with little to no preparation needed):

  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Hummus mixed with a little water or juice
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Flavored Vinegars (The Peach flavored vinegar from Rocky Mountain Olive Oil is out of this world!)
  • Mashed avocado
  • A sprinkle of toasted sesame oil or infused olive oil

4. Don’t Forget the Fruit

Fruit makes an appealing addition to any salad. It gives each bite another layer of texture, sweet flavor, and a bit of extra color, too. Best left until you’re just ready to serve and sprinkled on top.

A good rule of thumb is to use ½ cup of fruit per 4 cups of veggies, but it’s all up to you and your taste preference. Thinly sliced fruit works really well in a salad and you can keep raspberries and blueberries whole.

Although any type of fruit can be used in salads, these are our favorites:

  • Berries – raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries
  • Stone Fruit – peaches, apricots, or cherries
  • Apples – honeycrisp (semi-sweet), fuji (sweet), green (sour)
  • Pears – bosc or asian
  • Citrus – oranges or grapefruits
  • Dried Fruit – chopped dates, raisins, sweetened cranberries

5. Tantalizing Texture

Once you choose all of your favorite greens, fruits, and veggies for a Superhero Salad base, it’s time to think texture. No one wants a salad that’s only squishy and soft. You need a bit of bite, a crispy CRUNCH, a stunning snap, and plenty of PUNCH!

Chopped Nuts and Seeds

Use any nuts or seeds that you love, either roasted or raw, and chop them roughly before adding to your salad. Not only do you get a good amount of healthy fat, but a terrific texture, too! My favorite are salted sunflower seeds —did anyone else love those at the Pizza Hut salad bar?


Either bought or homemade, the lush crustiness is irresistible! But, beware, some packaged croutons contain butter, cheese, or egg whites. Try these baked croutons from our Italian Bread Salad recipe and leave out the other ingredients.


You can never go wrong by adding spuds to your salad! Our Crispy Air Fryer Potato Wedges have a super soft and crunchy character that you’ll love.


This gorgeously green Tomatillo Salsa would be a terrific topping with a bit of zest and zing, as well as added color.

Tortilla Strips

Either purchase pre-packaged or easy to make on your own, using either corn or flour tortillas. Cut each round tortilla into thin strips all the same diameter, lay out onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spray with a little bit of avocado or olive oil, and season with a sprinkle of salt, garlic powder and squeeze of lime. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes, making sure to check them often and turning them halfway.

6. Appetizing Add-Ons

When it comes to making the best vegan salad, toppings are key. The types of toppings you can add are endless! It’s all about that little extra that can transform your Gathering of Greens into a Sensational Superhero Salad. To help you out, here are the most popular and praise-worthy garnishes for your garden salad:


Satisfying addition full of fiber, protein, and plant-based iron. Add ½ cup of cooked and cool beans to your bowl. Our Savory Roasted Chickpeas are so yummy.

Roasted Vegetables 

The perfect use of any vegetable leftovers. If you don’t have any pre-made, just mix any veggies you like with a little balsamic vinegar or oil, add seasonings of your choice and roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. The complete recipe is here. Tasty both warm or cool.

Glorious Grains

Transform your light salad into a filling meal by adding cooked and chilled grains! Quinoa, brown rice, barley, and farro are all great options. Add ½ cup to each serving of salad.

Baked or Grilled Tofu

You can find pre-baked and seasoned tofu at the grocery store or make your own. Chop it into small bite-sized cubes and add it to your salad as a great healthy alternative to grilled chicken!

Plant-Based Meats

Can’t picture a salad without grilled chicken strips on top? You can get some vegan chicken strips or vegan chicken nuggets that are just as delicious but cruelty-free! Cook them up and let them cool, chop them into bite-sized pieces, and add them on top of your salad. Delicious!

Pickled Veggies

Topping with a tang! Pickled onions, carrots, or just plain pickles are a nice way to add another layer of fabulous flavor. Try our homemade pickled veggies recipe!

Coconut Strips

Adds a bit of buttery, crunchy sweetness.


Round out your salad plate with a scoopful of cooked brown rice, quinoa, or other favorite grain. Great for extra fiber and B vitamins.

Dare to Add Dairy-Free Cheese!

Sometimes, you just need something salty to step up your salad. Check out our Dairy-Free Cheese Guide for our favorite kinds. Or, you can add a few savory slices of your own homemade cheese with this recipe.

Or, how about a sprinkle of nutritional yeast? It’s a great substitute for dairy cheese and adds a pleasant, dry cheesy flavor that’s really addictive.

Rainbow Salad in a Jar | Zero Waste Lunch Idea | World of Vegan | #vegan #zerowaste #healthy #salad

How to Store Your Salad

The best way to store any leftover Superhero Salad is to place a damp paper towel (or cloth) into the bottom of a container (or reusable bag), add your salad remains, and cover completely. Salad stored in the refrigerator will last up to 3 days, if kept cool and moist. Do not freeze.

If you’re able, store your salad fixings in separate containers. Greens in one, veggies/fruits in another, and toppings by themselves. This will help to keep everything fresher and discourages sogginess and spoilage.

When you’re ready for another round of salad, you can easily add extra lettuce, new veggies and fruit, and more awesome add-ons. Dare to try a different dressing or serve while you’re still wearing your superhero cape!

Now that you’ve defeated all the biggest barriers to boring salad bowls, you’re ready to face the world as a Super Salad Hero!

How to Store Your Salad in the Fridge

More Scrumptious Vegan Salad and Dressing Recipes

Guide to Making an Amazing Vegan Salad

What’s your favorite vegan salad recipe? Do you have any must-have ingredients you consider essential to create the best vegan salads? Tag us on Instagram, share with us on Twitter or post on our Facebook wall. We’d love to see your #superherosalad creations! And discover even more salad ideas over on our Vegan Salads Pinterest board.

Article by Gina House and edited by Amanda Meth. Content copyright World of Vegan, all rights reserved. Photo from and Zhoro Apostolov. Cover photo designed by Michelle Cehn.

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Recipe Rating

  1. I love this guide so much! You are a wonderful blogger.

  2. 5 stars
    I make about 10 salads at a time, which last for a week to two weeks depending on whether I eat one or two a day. I just prep a variety of organic veg* and then assemble into 4 cup BPA-free containers with a see-through, snap-on lid.


    I top each salad with a piece of dried fruit (a whole dried fig per salad is my favorite). I also include unsalted nuts, such as almonds and pistachios. The dried fruit and nuts soak up the moisture from the veg, and add flavor and nutrients.

    I stack the containers in the fridge, with those graced with the biggest figs in back. When I open one of the front containers, the fig is at least softened. Later in the week, the fig is fully reconstituted, the nuts are softened, and the salad is as fresh as the day it was made.

    * I usually include a mix of lettuces, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, snap peas, carrots, red cabbage, steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes, mushrooms, green onion… Maybe fresh corn, apple chunks (tossed in lemon juice to prevent discoloration), steamed asparagus or butternut squash, fresh dill or cilantro, sunflower or lentil sprouts…

    I’ve recently discovered chayote, a squash that is a little sweet and surprisingly good raw (and cooked).

    I do not add salad dressing when I make these assembly-line salads, or any veg that would be too wet (such as chopped tomatoes and cucumbers), anything that would discolor (avocado), or anything that might overpower (onion slices). I add salad dressing when I open a salad, and might add avocado or whatever then too – though part of the reason I make all these salads at once is to have healthy, grab-and-go food on hand.

  3. 5 stars
    Love all of the really amazing tips in this blog post. I also appreciate the mention as well. Thank you Michelle!

  4. 5 stars
    This is super informative and yes homemade dressings are my favourite, can make just the amount needed and with any flavour you want.

  5. 5 stars
    This is so so helpful! I only buy store-bought dressing when it’s on sale, but still it’s so expensive! I’m excited to try this all out and save money!!

  6. Gina House says:

    5 stars
    It was SO much fun to create this salad guide! I eat salads multiple times a day, so I had many ideas to share. You never have to make the same salad twice, unless you really want to. They can be sweet or savory, fancy or plain. I hope everyone gets inspired by my article to make a special salad for themselves or family. Enjoy!!

  7. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    Salads are the best lunch option ever! They keep you energized to go about your day and they can help prevent the 4 o’clock sugar cravings many of us suffer from 🙂 Salads for the win!

  8. 5 stars
    I’m on a mission to stop buying store-bought dressing and always make my own vegan salad dressings! I forget how easy it is, and it’s also a great way to save money.

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