For an easy healthy side dish, you’re going to love this Romaine Salad Recipe with a Simple Vinaigrette Dressing. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free. Serve your romaine salad with almost any main dish.

Romaine salad with a vinaigrette and tomatoes.

Maybe you’ve seen romaine lettuce at the store, but you thought it was too complicated to prepare? It’s actually very simple to wash and chop romaine lettuce, toss it in a bowl with an easy vinaigrette, and serve it as a delicious and healthy side dish.

You can even make romaine salad a whole meal by topping it with your favorite cooked lean protein.

a head of romaine lettuce.

A simple romaine salad is so easy to make on busy weeknights or even for a fancy dinner party. The crisp romaine lettuce is refreshing and goes really well with this simple vinaigrette dressing.

This easy salad is a family favorite and one of my favorite things to make. It’s reminiscent of a Caesar salad but much simpler to prepare.

How to Prepare Romaine

Many stores now carry romaine lettuce that is already washed, chopped, and ready to be eaten. But, it’s usually more budget-friendly to buy whole heads of romaine.

To prepare the romaine, just chop off the bottom few inches and discard the root. Then, chop the whole head of romaine into about 2-inch pieces.

Place the leaves in a salad spinner to be cleaned and spun dry. I like this stainless steel salad spinner.

chopped romaine lettuce on a cutting board.

Then, you can prepare the romaine salad from there, or place the leaves in a bag with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.

Prepared romaine in general can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Simple Vinaigrette Recipe

I don’t generally get fancy with my salad dressings, and this vinaigrette is my go-to version.

I just shake together olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and some salt and pepper in a glass jar with a lid or a small bowl. That’s it!

See the recipe card below for the exact measurements.

You might also like my recipe for Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.

Romaine Salad Dressing Ingredients

Ingredients for romaine salad with a vinaigrette.

As mentioned, you’ll need romaine hearts or prepared romaine salad to start this great salad. You can use the salad plain or even use grilled romaine salad if you wish.

To make the dressing, you’ll need a neutral oil like olive oil or avocado oil. I almost always use an extra virgin olive oil for my homemade dressings.

You’ll also need an acid like apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar.

To help the oil and vinegar emulsify or mix together, you’ll want to use dijon mustard or another type of mustard.

Lastly, you’ll want to season y our dijon vinaigrette with salt and pepper. You can also add parmesan cheese (up to 1/4 cup) if you aren’t on a dairy-free diet.

How to Make Romaine Salad

Once you have the romaine and the dressing prepared, making this simple Romaine Salad is as easy as tossing the two together in a large bowl, and then adding any extras, like sliced tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, red onion, lemon zest, crispy bacon, or whatever you like.

So easy, right?

Romaine salads are crunchy, mild in flavor, and perfect for pairing with your favorite main dishes.

I hope your family loves this romaine lettuce salad as much as mine does. You can find all the ingredients at your local grocery store which makes it one of the easiest salads you can try.

homemade vinaigrette in a jar.

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • If you don’t have a salad spinner, shake the excess water off the lettuce and then place it on a dry dish towel. Place another one on top and gently press into the lettuce to dry it well. Don’t press too hard. You can also use paper towels.
  • It’s important that the romaine lettuce isn’t too wet from rinsing or the vinaigrette won’t adhere to the lettuce.
  • You can add croutons or cut up veggies to your salad (try cucumbers or red bell pepper) for additional crunch. Or, try this recipe for Southwest Salad that is always a favorite!
  • If you don’t have olive oil on hand, see my list of substitutes for olive oil.
  • If you want to prep this salad ahead of time, store the lettuce and dressing in separate containers in the refrigerator. Then, toss together just before serving.

Recipe FAQs

What can I do with lots of romaine lettuce?

If you have excess romaine you can use it for lettuce wraps, burrito bowls, sandwiches, top it with chicken or tuna salad, and use it in turkey wraps.

How do I purchase fresh romaine lettuce?

Look for heads that aren’t wilted or brown but look crisp. They should be heavy for their size with tightly closed leaves.

Should I wash lettuce before I store it?

Ideally you should wash the leaves right before using. Once the lettuce is washed it will perish quicker in the refrigerator. Don’t worry if you’ve already washed the lettuce, simply place a few paper towels in a container and place the lettuce on top. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.

romaine salad with cherry tomatoes.

More Healthy Salads You Might Like

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

And, consider following me on social media so we can stay connected. I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!

Print
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romaine salad on a white plate with a fork

Romaine Salad with Simple Vinaigrette Dressing

For an easy healthy side dish, you’re going to love this Romaine Salad Recipe with a Simple Vinaigrette Dressing. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free. 

  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped (about 6 cups)*
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the chopped romaine lettuce in a large serving bowl. Add the chopped tomatoes.
  2. Then, in a small jar, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Put a lid on the jar and shake vigorously until the ingredients are well combined.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. * To prepare a head of romaine, just chop off the bottom few inches and discard the root. Then, chop the whole head of romaine into about 2-inch pieces. Place the leaves in a salad spinner to be cleaned and spun dry. Then, you can prepare the romaine salad from there, or place the leaves in a bag with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. Prepared romaine in general can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
  2. If you want to prepare the salad ahead of time to serve later, wait to pour the dressing on the salad until just before serving. 
  3. Store any prepared salad leftovers in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 156
  • Sugar: 2.4 g
  • Sodium: 159.3 mg
  • Fat: 14.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6.5 g
  • Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Protein: 2.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: how to chop romaine lettuce, easy salad recipe, romaine lettuce salad

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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with nearly 10 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.