Salad Specifics: Four Plus One

Cook’s notes: These tips come from Hillary Wright, M.Ed, RD. I refer to them often.

A salad must contain at least five ingredients: four vegetables or fruits plus one extra (protein, beans, nuts, or cheese). Add up to two teaspoons raisins or dried cranberries. A typical portion of salad dressing is two tablespoons (one ounce; 3o g), but feel free to use less than this.

Recently, we made this salad: baby spinach, blueberries, Peppadew peppers, cherry tomatoes, and chopped walnuts. Tangy!

Mix and match to fill your bowl. Here are some typical ingredient sizes to help you make a side salad with 2 cups of salad:


  • 1 cup mixed green lettuce or baby spinach
  • 5 grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup sliced cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup steamed broccoli
  • 1 cup steamed green beans
  • 1 cup snow peas


  • Up to 1 Tbsp raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup berries, grapes, or pineapple cubes
  • 1/2 pear, diced
  • 1/3 cup tangerine slices or mandarin orange segments
  • 1 cup strawberries or watermelon chunks


  • 3 Tbsp canned beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Extras: Nuts, Treats, or Cheese:

  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts or pistachios
  • 24 toasted almonds
  • 1 oz cashews
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 10 black olives
  • 2 Tbsp blue cheese
  •  3 Tbsp feta cheese

To make a salad a meal, add 3 oz lean protein (chicken, shrimp, tuna, or turkey) or 3 oz beans/hummus.