The Best Basic Tossed Salad

This classic tossed salad is loaded with healthy vegetables and takes mere minutes to make. Always a crowd pleaser with the cubed cheddar cheese!

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My Mom’s tossed salad really is the best. Loaded with healthy vegetables and my Mom’s little trick of adding cubed cheddar cheese, this is always a crowd-pleaser and is so easy to customize.

No one will guess that it takes mere minutes to make and if you use a homemade French dressing or Blue Cheese dressing, it becomes 10 times better!

Tossed Salad

The Best Basic Tossed Salad

No word of a lie, but when I was finally old enough to venture out to restaurants by myself as a teenager, I was appalled by the side salads that restaurants served. You know the type: it comes in a bag, it’s wilted, the radishes are sad, etcetera, etcetera. Also: no cheese!!

When I was growing up, my parents considered a tossed salad, an integral part of dinner almost every night (and they still do.) But Mom’s wasn’t like the restaurants; it was always loaded with veggies and, yes, that cubed cheddar cheese.

She was wise beyond her years – if you put cheese on it, it not only becomes a million times better but you massively up the chances of kids eating it!

Tossed Salad Ingredients

Ingredients for Tossed Salad

This is just a list of ingredients for you to skim over and see if you have them or need to shop, the exact amounts of ingredients are listed in the printable recipe card below!

  • Lettuce (Iceberg or Romaine works best here)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Red onion
  • Radishes
  • Cheddar cheese
  • French dressing

How to Make A Tossed Salad

  • Put all your salad greens in a big salad bowl
  • top with all your other ingredients
  • Pour over your dressing
  • Toss with salad forks and serve
Tossed Salad in a wooden bowl with French dressing

What Else Could You Add to This Tossed Salad?

The joy of a tossed salad is that it is a blank canvas for whatever you feel like adding to it.

Want a more carnivorous salad? Add in some finely chopped, crispy bacon or some shredded chicken. Want more of a crunch? Add a handful of toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or even some whole walnuts!

This recipe serves as an excellent base for whatever you prefer in your salads. Just make sure you don’t add so much stuff that it becomes unhealthy!

Tossed Salad on a white plate

What Kind of Cheese Can You Use?

To stick as close as possible to my Mom’s frankly genius recipe, you should use cubes of cheddar cheese. You can use either the stuff that comes pre-cubed in a little bag or takes any block of cheese you want and cut it into small cubes.

If you really don’t want to use standard American cheddar, you could totally sub in any type of cheese you like. Just be careful you don’t make something too flavorful, though, as you otherwise make the whole salad taste like the cheese.

A nice aged gouda cheese is lovely, but if you add enough of it to this salad, everything is going to taste like gouda.

It’s best to stick to the classics and use the standard American cheese – save the fancier stuff for dessert!

Enjoy! I hope I’ve provided some inspiration for your next salad!



The Best Basic Tossed Salad

This classic tossed salad is loaded with healthy vegetables and takes mere minutes to make. Always a crowd pleaser with the cubed cheddar cheese!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time
20 minutes
Appetizer, Side Dish
Karlynn Johnston


  • 10 cups chopped Romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes washed and halved
  • 1 whole English cucumber washed and sliced
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and grated
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 2-3 radishes washed and sliced
  • 1 cup cubed cheddar cheese small cubes
  • French Dressing


  • Place the salad greens in a large salad bowl.
  • Top the greens with the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, carrot and cheese cubes.
  • Pour the French dressing over the salad.
  • Toss the salad with two forks or salad tongs to coat the ingredients.
  • Serve with salad tongs.

Recipe Notes

Additional ingredients you can add:
  • pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • slivered almonds
  • walnuts
  • olives
  • grated purple cabbage
  • crumbled Feta cheese

Nutrition Information

Calories: 109kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 135mg, Potassium: 385mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 8884IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 178mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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This classic tossed salad is loaded with healthy vegetables and takes mere minutes to make. Always a crowd pleaser with the cheddar cheese!

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Carol M says

    This recipe reminds me so much of the salad my Mom made every Sunday night when I was as growing up. I made the French dressing on your site and it was so much better than the bottled kind you buy at the store. We had homemade chicken strips along with the salad and it was delicious. I’ll definitely make this salad again.5 stars

  2. Mary C says

    I love your recipes but can’t find a way to print just the recipe without the other content. How would I do that?

  3. Pat J says

    Just like I’ve made salads (only with iceburg lettuce) since I was a kid! I sometimes add pineapple or mandarin canned oranges for a bit of sweetness. Fresh is better if available, but not always in my fridge for either. I also add peas as they are really good for you too. Makes a great meal with some really good bread of any kind. I used to make honey/french and catalina style dressings myself and add those to my choices of dressings. Italian works well also. They go well with varied cheeses and stuff. Lots of proteins. Hard boiled eggs too (if you have them). If you don’t dress salads, and essentially only put cucumbers in what you are eating immediately, the salad will stay in a plastic bag for a night. Add cucumbers next day. They are very watery, so would mess with your salad, so I put them on when I have my dish prepared for the dressing.

5 from 6 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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