The 5-Minute Quick Salad (Spinach or Mixed Greens Optional)

One big reason some people skip eating salad is that it’s a bit of a hassle to make. Or, at least it feels like it. Here’s a quick salad recipe that will make it hard to find an excuse not to eat one almost every day!

Over two years ago, I read the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger and I learned something important. If you do nothing else but eat a big salad every day, it will improve your health without changing anything else. It doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest way to eat but one small step toward better nutrition helps build the habits we need for a healthier version of ourselves.

So, I took this to heart, and my husband and I eat a side salad with dinner at least 4-5 times a week and I try to eat a side salad as a snack sometimes. Quick salads are very easy to make and this, along with reducing sodium, has helped decrease his blood pressure enough to get off his medication (be sure to talk to your doctor about your own health and medication, though!)

Type of Lettuce in a Quick Salad

One thing that makes salads take a bit longer to make is chopping the lettuce. So, quick salads are easier to make if you use prepared lettuce. It is more expensive but if you are trying to eat healthier, sometimes we have to use more convenient options.

Dark, leafy greens are packed full of nutrition so I highly recommend you use mixed greens and/or spinach for your salad. I personally like the flavor of the Earthbound Farm’s Mixed Greens. My husband prefers something like a Romaine Salad. But, if you compare the nutrition, you can see the Mixed Greens have double the Vitamin A and Vitamin C. The 50-50 or Power Greens are also a good choice! And, I love adding spinach to my protein shakes.

Practical Tip: Start with the lettuce you like the most if it will get you to eat more salad. You can then take more steps toward better nutrition by putting half-and-half and/or mixing it up and eating different types of lettuce in different weeks. Just get started! Habits start with one baby step at a time.

Veggies to Add

Although you can simply eat the lettuce as your quick salad, to make it more interesting by adding a few toppings. The healthiest toppings you can add are raw veggies! What type of veggies should you add?

Anything you like to eat raw would work! I typically add red pepper, cucumber, and grape tomatoes. I’ve also added carrots and broccoli, too. Whatever you feel like eating at the moment will keep things less boring so be creative!

Should You Add Salad Toppers and Croutons?

One thing Dr. Greger says in his book is that if bacon bits make you eat a salad, then add bacon to your salad! That seemed like such a practical tip that blew my mind. Who said salad needs to be boring?

However, since we are also aimed at maintaining our weight or even losing weight, you should be careful about what toppings you put on your quick salad. Some toppings can be packed full of calories!

Therefore, measure the toppings out. For example, I try to add just a pinch or about one tablespoon of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds and I don’t personally use croutons. Croutons can easily add an additional 50-100 calories and a lot of carbohydrates. Use sparingly.

Salad Dressing

I have a friend who doesn’t like salad dressing on her salad, however, I have not mastered that skill. I enjoy at least a little salad dressing! However, if you start measuring your salad dressing, you will find that you might not need as much as you think. A little goes a long way. So, start with measuring your favorite dressing. Try to use only one or two tablespoons, mix it around, and then taste your salad. Can you get used to it? You might be surprised and you can easily save 100-200 calories that way!

Once you’re used to measuring and using less salad dressing, try finding a healthier version of the dressing you’re using on your quick salad. For example, olive oil is better for you than some of the other oils. Cream-based dressings will be higher in calories. And, you should definitely check the sugar content of all your dressing choices!

I, personally, make a batch of my own every two weeks or so. I’ll share my 5-minute salad dressing recipe soon.

How to Make a Quick Salad

There you have it! This is all the information you need to make a 5-minute quick salad. You can easily make it while the rest of your meal is in the oven or on the stovetop.

5-Minute Salad

The 5-Minute Quick Salad

Need a quick side salad for dinner? Use this quick recipe to add nutrition to any meal! Or, double the recipe and add a protein for a quick meal.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 person
Calories 226 kcal


  • 2 cups Mixed Greens
  • 1/4 Cucumber
  • 1/3 cup Red Pepper
  • 5 Grape Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Raw Pumpkin Seeds or Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 Avocado (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Ground Flaxseed (optional)


  • Put the mixed greens in a bowl.
  • Slice the cucumber, chop the red peppers, and put on top of the greens or lettuce.
  • Add the grape tomatoes and sprinkle the seeds on top.
  • (optional) Sprinkle ground flaxseed on top.


Lower-Calorie Option:
Omit the avocado if you need to trim a few calories and you’ve already eaten your healthy fats for the day. Avocado is “good fat” however high in calories so don’t overdo it.
Make it a Meal: 
If you want to make this a meal, simply double the ingredients and add protein to the top. For example, you can add 1/2 chicken breast, salmon, or tuna. Very quick dinner if you already have your protein baked or prepared. 


Calories: 226kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 8gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 35mgPotassium: 927mgFiber: 8gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 3301IUVitamin C: 101mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 3mg
Keyword mixed greens salad, quick easy salad, quick salad, spinach salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

What’s Your Favorite Quick Salad?

6 thoughts on “The 5-Minute Quick Salad (Spinach or Mixed Greens Optional)”

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for this salad recipe! I added a boiled egg and substituted lemon juice & olive oil for my dressing. They say we “eat with our eyes” so my salad not only looked great, but tasted great, too.

    • @Diane You’re welcome! Glad you liked it. I love when my food is colorful, too! Adding an egg is a great way to add protein depending on what you’re eating the salad with. I tend to eat my salad as a side salad with the rest of my meal 4+ times a week. Just keep in mind that each egg will add another 78 calories or so. Also, there is some conflicting guidance out there in regard to how many eggs are healthy to eat. In general, it’s considered a “perfect protein” but some sources recommend eating just one egg per day or less than 7 per week. I tend to eat my eggs in the form of breakfast on most days so I generally skip them on my salad unless it’s for dinner and I haven’t eaten eggs that day. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I love salads I just love Romaine Lettuce I will put an egg in (not the yolk), red onions, fresh garlic, mandarin oranges, and dressing. I don’t like spring mix at all.

  3. I enjoy a great salad! I use mixed greens for my salad and I add 2 eggs, red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, with a handful of arugula, mixed nuts, bacon bits, and a sprinkle of dried cranberries. For my dressings, I like blue cheese and or a vinaigrette. I place a lid on the container and shake it to mix all ingredients together and to allow the dressing to mix as well.


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