Nutritious, balanced, and easy.

These three characteristics are a must around dinner time at our house. So, as you might guess, I'm often throwing together a salad after a busy day of cooking here in the test kitchens of Cooking Light.

In my opinion, a successful salad begins and ends with a great vinaigrette. All the components can vary - type of lettuce, protein, vegetables, etc. With a simple, tasty vinaigrette you can please just about any crowd.

Here's my go-to vinaigrette recipe, which I use all the time at home:

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh shallots
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine/champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Stir together everything but the oil. Then, gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Pour over salad and enjoy!

For more tips on making super salads ideas, read our Build a Smarter Salad story.