I’m almost embarrassed to share this super easy thing with you.

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Back in June when my brother got married, my sister-in-law’s aunt made the simplest but BEST (seriously, best best best) greens salad I ever did have. It just tasted so fantastic (along with the pizza we were eating…) and wasn’t full of wacky ingredients – just normal, everyday add-ins.

From that moment, I decided that every single side salad I made, or every single big salad that accompanied a meal, but wasn’t THEEE meal, would have to be an “aunt Ellen” salad. And I’ve done it!

When we were on vacation I mentioned that we had made a killer salad one night for dinner? This was it.

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This isn’t one of the crazy, more-of-a-meal salads that I share every now and then. This is pretty much the base, super easy, serve-as-a-side salad in our house. Not taco or steak or lime flavors.

Some sunflower seeds because I find them to be the most neutral and the are the one seed/nut that Eddie doesn’t (this he) hate(s). eg: walnuts, almonds, pistachios.

It’s basic, in a good way. It doesn’t have dried cherries or goat cheese, it doesn’t have arugula and bacon. I obviously love all four of those things, but this is one of those salads that works well with pretty much all meals. It doesn’t steal the show from your lasagna, you know?

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My must haves, at least for the last three or four months:

Spring greens or butter lettuce. It’s all I want!

Chopped bell peppers. The size of the chopping depends on my mood. Like how much do I really want to chew?

Diced red onion. Or chopped. Because Eddie is one of those (rare) people that can eat an onion like an apple and he likes big pieces. Gah-ross. I know.

Tomatoes! Little, sweet grape ones.

Banana pepper rings. It wasn’t until this past summer that I was interested in these on a salad at all. They have to come from the jar, and you KNOW it’s because of my ridiculous adoration for all things pickled. I like mild, sometimes Eddie likes the hot ones.

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A sprinkle of cheese of course, but not overwhelming. I did freshly grated parmesan here.

And what I need basically all the time: garlic sourdough torn croutons. These are a must in our house every single week. So much better homemade.

I only left one thing out that we really enjoy, but I left it out of this salad because we don’t have it every day. It’s more of a weekend add in, and that’s: mini pepperoni or torn pepperoni!

GUYS. You know I really didn’t even enjoy pepperoni until recently. This is half the reason why. Little pieces of pepperoni in this salad are so fabulous.

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For dressing, I’ve been making an apple cider vinaigrette. This is what I use – practically daily. It’s a similar recipe to the one from my greek salad and we love it oh so much.

So easy, but major flavor with all these players. And that’s ME talking. About vegetables!

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Our Favorite House Salad

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garlic sourdough croutons



  • Add your greens to a large bowl and season them liberally with salt and pepper. Add the rest of your ingredients, your croutons and dress!

garlic sourdough croutons

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the bread pieces on a baking sheet and cover with olive oil, tossing well. Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt, tossing again. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.


  • In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper. Continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil. This dressing stays great in the fridge in a sealed container for a week or so, so feel free to make a double batch if desired!

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and that is that. DELISH.