Simple Green Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

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Overhead image of green salad with carrots tomato onion and lemon dressing and tongs tossing the salad

Every cook should know how to make a simple side salad and lemon vinaigrette. It’s the easy side dish to pair with just about any entrée, comes together in 10 minutes with simple ingredients, and is incredibly versatile. Let me show you how it’s done.

Overhead image of a white platter pink towel and greens being placed on the plate by hand

Start with a base of greens. We went with spring greens, but I also love spinach as a base, as well as thinly sliced kale, arugula, and romaine.

Overhead image of white plate with greens a pink towel underneath and carrots being placed on top by hand

Next comes any vegetable you have on hand. My go-to’s are finely shredded carrot, chopped tomatoes, and onion or shallot. But to make it a little more fancy, I also included pomegranate arils, cranberries, and pepitas.

For even more texture and flavor, you could also consider adding things like my Easy Vegan Parmesan Cheese, Actually Crispy Baked Chickpeas or 5-Minute Macadamia Nut Cheese!

Overhead image of salad with greens carrots and onion and a measuring cup with pumpkin seeds with a hand sprinkling some seeds on top

Next comes the dressing. Recipes usually recommend adding twice the amount of oil as acid when making vinaigrette. But I find that makes the dressing taste too oily. So I go for more of a 1:1 ratio for better balance, add a little maple syrup to offset the acidity, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

For even more flavor and texture, you can whisk (or blend) in some shallot. Blending it will add more body to your dressing (making it creamier and thicker). Whisking will be more visually appealing as you can see specks of shallot throughout the dressing.

Overhead image of lemon vinaigrette in a glass bowl being whisked by hand

We hope you love and use this side salad all the time. It’s:

Quick & Easy to make
& Customizable

You can pair this side salad with just about any dish. It’s especially delicious with our Smoky BBQ Black Bean Burger, Best Vegan Gluten-Free Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Easy Gluten-Free Vegan Pizza, and Garlic & White Wine Pasta with Brussels Sprouts.

For more salad inspiration, be sure to check out our Sweet Potato & Avocado Green Salad, Roasted Vegetable Salad with Chimichurri, Kale Citrus SaladCurried Cauliflower Grape & Lentil Salad, or this fan-favorite Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Overhead image of green salad with onion tomato carrots and lemon vinaigrette and tongs on the side

Simple Green Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

When a meal needs something extra, consider this your go-to side. Fresh greens and vegetables dressed in a simple lemon vinaigrette pair with just about any meal. Ready in just 10 minutes.
Author Minimalist Baker
Sprinkling pepitas for our Simple Green Salad recipe
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 (side salads)
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days



  • 3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil (or extra virgin)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 pinch each salt and black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp minced shallot (optional)


  • 5 oz organic mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup baby tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot or red onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils or dried fruit (optional)
  • 1 pinch each salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp toasted pepitas or sunflower seeds


  • First prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a mixing bowl (or small blender) and whisking (or blending) to fully combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, lemon for acidity, or salt or pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Prepare salad by adding greens to a serving bowl or platter and topping with baby tomatoes, shallot or onion, carrots, pomegranate arils or dried fruit (optional), a pinch of salt and pepper, and toasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
  • Add dressing to the salad and toss to coat, or serve on the side. Best when fresh. Store salad separate from dressing if keeping for later use. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days. Store dressing in the refrigerator 3-4 days. The oil can harden when cold, so let set out for a few minutes to warm and shake well to reincorporate before serving leftovers.


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with lesser amount of lemon juice and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 side salads Calories: 168 Carbohydrates: 7 g Protein: 2.1 g Fat: 15.5 g Saturated Fat: 2.2 g Sodium: 59 mg Fiber: 1.8 g Sugar: 3.3 g

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My Rating:

  1. Dolly says

    Simple and so easy to prepare. I love how the dressing lets the flavors of greens, tomatoes and other ingredients blend. I’ve substituted the pomegranates with fresh cut oranges.

  2. Kirsten says

    Great recipe! Love how tasty but not overpowering the dressing is. I made it with romaine and almonds because that’s what I had in the house and they went great with it as well.

  3. Heather says

    I made this recipe for a (socially distanced) get together outdoors this past weekend, and everyone loved it. I used dried cherries and toasted the sunflower seeds for 5 minutes. The perfect blend of veggies and just the right amount of crunch. The dressing is sublime, too. Making it again this week!

  4. Christine says

    Doesn’t there need to be vinegar to make it a vinaigrette? I don’t see it in the list of!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      flaxseed oil is similar in color and texture to olive oil – it should work fine! Just make sure you like the flavor before adding.

  5. Allison says

    This is a really good simple recipe. As with the others who commented, adding the shallot and blending the dress is a great idea and makes a big difference! The dressing tastes so good.

  6. Michele says

    Thanks! I am in need of different types of Vinaigrette Dressings with no oil. I saw your tahini and ranch but I need Vinaigrette style. Trying to find something similar to Italian, Raspberry and Fig.

  7. Linda F. says

    One of my favorite salads with lemon vinaigrette uses shredded Brussels sprouts for the greens. They shred up so quickly with a knife and stay fresh a long time uncut in the fridge. They are nutritious and delicious! Love the blog!

  8. Merry says

    I like your flavorful recipes .
    I am interested in no oil ingredients especially for salad dressings.
    Thank you

  9. Moi says

    How long can you keep that dressing in the refrigerator?
    I make something similar with garlic and vinegar instead of shallots and lemon. This should be a nice fresh change.
    Thank you

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      About 5-7 days! And shake well out of the refrigerator. I also like to let mine warm up in temperature a bit before serving as the olive oil can stiffen.