salad bowl

Create a home salad bar with delicious texture, taste and colour


Hopefully you are way past the thought of salad being lettuce, tomato and a slice of cucumber, possibly with a sprinkle of cress! Maybe you are in the next stage where you add a bit of carrot, sweetcorn, beetroot, pepper or onion – a bit like a cheap and cheerful restaurant salad bar. Either way, both are good for you and if you manage to add ‘salad’ to your lunch or dinner (or breakfast – no judgement here) then well done! Now imagine everything you could possibly have on a salad.

Salad bar by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Salad vegetables

Try to think past the obvious vegetables and get creative. Maybe start with varying the salad leaves – try crunchy Little Gem, peppery rocket (aragula), leafy baby spinach or crisp Chinese leaves. Think about different raw vegetables you could add such as sugar snap peas, baby sweetcorn, or red onion. Next, think about antipasta you could add (or grilled and chilled vegetables) such as courgette strips, artichokes or mushrooms. Then think about pickles such as silverskin onions, roquito peppers or mini gherkins. How about finishing with olives or capers or alfafa sprouts.

Salad vegetables by Mordo Bilman on Unsplash

Salad Fruits

Yes of course you can put fruit in salad! Start with something easy like a couple of halved grapes, then try sliced strawberries, small chunks of apple, a teaspoon of raisins, a couple of bits of orange or satsuma. Test it and see what works for you.

salad with strawberries
Can you spot the strawberries in this simple salad?
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels

Salad bar dishes

If you think about ‘salad dishes’ you might have your own specialities, but how about coleslaw, potato salad, rice salad, couscous salad, pasta salad, bean salad, or Greek salad. Add a spoonful of one or two of these dishes to your salad bar.

Greek Salad by Farhad Ibrahimzade Unsplash

Salad Bar Sauces, Dressings and Dips

Maybe you are a salad with olive oil and lemon fan. Perhaps you like vinegar, balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar on your food. Do you like to cover everything in houmous, tahini or mild mustard. Are you a salad cream, mayonnaise, vinaigrette, ranch or caesar dressing fan? Maybe you like to experiment and make your own dressing from a combination. Add a few to your salad bar and use them in different areas of your meal.

salad dressings
Salad Dressings by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Salad Extras

If you have a big enough bowl, maybe you like to add some protein like tofu or seitan, some cubes of plant based cheese, meat or fish (or their equivalent). Do you like the crunch of croutons, crispy onions, roasted chickpeas or a sprinkle of roasted nuts or seeds (sesame seeds are a great salad topper). Add a few different options to your salad bar so you can find your favourites.

The Salad Recipe

The more accesssible your ingredients, the more likely you are to eat them! Have a prep day where you spend an hour getting everything ready for your salad bar. Peel, halve, chop, chunk, dice, grate, finely grate, matchstick, crudite, spiralise, grill, chill, whatever you want. Put everything in individual ramekins, small bowls, big bowls, use a deep baking tray, whatever you have, whatever you can, just get it ready. Take the pickled onions out of the back of the fridge, open that vacuum packed beetroot, roast those chickpeas, put them all somewhere easy to see, easy to reach and easy to eat!

Now grab a plate, bowl, dish, platter and load it up! A handful of this, a spoon of that, a splodge, a splatter, a sprinkle, a drizzle. Make yourself a real feast of a salad, then sit down with a lovely glass of something and enjoy!

The #SaladChallenge

Now is the time for you to get creative! I am challenging you… yes you, to eat at least one different salad on three days this week! This is your challenge, just for you! If you usually do cucumber, tomato, onion then that’s your base to start from. Add in a carrot and there you have your first one done! Try adding a tin of drained beans to your cooked cooled pasta, that’s two. Make a lettuce boat with houmous, red pepper, cucumber and sesame seeds and that was your third! If change is scary, then just add one thing at a time, or swap one thing at a time, your challenge, your way.

rice wraps
Salad wraps by Cocobols on Unsplash

What do I need?

As you are creating your own salads, there are loads of things you might need! I have selected a few items which you may find useful, especially if you are new to cooking. I receive a small commission if you click and purchase through these links (this is at no additional cost to you)!


Once you have all your salad prepped, it is really easy to just grab a plate, bowl or jar and fill it up with everything! I usually start with lettuce or leaves as the base, then add dishes such as coleslaw or potato salad on top. Next I throw on spoonfuls of popular salad veg such as chopped tomato, sliced cucumber, grated carrot and cubed beetroot. Then I might add a splodge or two of houmous, dot a few olives around, mini silverskin onions, mixed beans, marinated artichokes and chargrilled courgettes. Dressing comes next as a drizzle, then a good few grinds of black pepper. Finally I sprinkle with crunchy pumpkin and sesame seeds and sometimes (when I’m feeling adventurous), I add a bit of desiccated coconut too! Of course, this is your salad, so make it your way.

salad bowl
Salad by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash


Most of your salad items should store for 3 or 4 days in the fridge once prepped. You can of course prepare a salad bowl or jar in the morning for lunch time, but ideally (especially if you are using leaves) then assemble your salad just before eating.


Now you have a wonderful salad bar, why not share it for lunch, dinner, a barbecue, even as a healthier option for a coffee morning. You will be amazed how different everyone makes theirs given the same ingredients!

Finally, I hope you join in this wonderful challenge! You can drop me a line below with your ideas and creations! You can of course, as with all my recipes, share and tag me @LifeDietHealth or using #LifeDietHealth on InstagramPinterest,  Facebook or Twitter. Add the #SaladChallenge too to make sure I can see what you’re making!

Leave me a comment below… I love to chat!

I hope to speak with you soon

Laurena x


  • tulips79 30th June 2022 at 19:26

    Hi Laurena, what a great idea- creating your own salad bar ☺️ I can’t help thinking of those mayo tinned potatoes from the salad bar at Pizza Hut back in the day haha. I prefer a good old vinegar and oil dressing (prefer it to lemon in salads, believe it or not!) I like grated carrot but I must prep it in advance like you suggest👍I should do that with cabbage too. I’ll sometimes add raisins to a curry or biryani but never salad😄(yes to grapes though!) Definitely not dessicated coconut hehe. I add pumpkin and sunflower seeds too but never thought of adding sesame, funnily enough. Mum used to add purslane to salads. She gave me a massive tub of Turkish (black wrinkled) olives, they should last me a while lol. The sweetcorn, gherkins (and anything pickled) I have to keep to myself😁

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 1st July 2022 at 00:36

      Salad bars are great as they encourage you to eat more of the rainbow! I’m sure the potato salad is still there and possibly still the same! 🤣 Lemon on grated carrot is great (with a sprinkle of poppy seeds)! Ooo, and lemon on globe artichokes or chargrilled courgettes works too! Any of yours use citric acid in salad? 🙈🤣 I’m definitely not a fan of that one- I’ll leave that for kettle descaling (works amazingly)! Raisins go well with apple and celery. Black or white grapes? I think the first time with coconut was me trying to brighten a photo 🤣 tasted great so I kept it! I tried to grow purslane one year, but I kept mistaking it for weeds 🤦🏽‍♀️ Great for omega 3 though if you have any! OMGosh I need olives now! Black wrinkly are the best (a bit too salty but definitely one of my favourites). Anyway… are you accepting the #saladchallenge ?

  • tulips79 1st July 2022 at 08:37

    Ooh, poppy seeds on lemony grated carrot sounds lovely! Lol about the citric acid- no, I don’t think it’s a thing for us for food but I’m quite sure my Mum’s Turkish friends do☺️ Yes, I use it for the kettle too!
    I use both black and white grapes in salad (I do prefer black grapes in general, although I do like the white ‘sultana grapes’ you only find in ethnic stores).
    I’ve been trying to do Dr Tim Spector’s 30 plants-a-week challenge for a little while- your challenge sounds good too👍 I haven’t bought fresh beetroot for a while, you’ve reminded me to buy some x

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 1st July 2022 at 18:09

      Haha… I read 30 plants a ‘day’ and thought, ooo, that’s more than when I did 20 a day for a week! Perhaps I should go back to counting, I’ve had a few different to my normal things this week including asparagus tips, baby pak choi, coriander micro greens and blackcurrants. My allotment beetroot is almost ready, but I do need to sow some more. Do you prefer the giant plum sized grapes or the smaller seedless ones? Have a fabulous #saladchallenge weekend 😁😜

  • tulips79 1st July 2022 at 20:41

    I’m a bit of a contradiction lol: I like larger dark seeded grapes but I also like the little seedless white/green ones😀 I’ve been keeping seedless dark ones in the freezer this past week (we still had 32′ days) but today’s been a bit of a respite with a cool 24′ lol) Have a lovely weekend too💚

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 1st July 2022 at 22:14

      Ooo 24c🎉 I’m guessing you liked that! 👍🏼 I like the small seedless green but also the round red ones off the vine in the garden😁


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