Image adapted from Flickr, T.Tseng, CC BY 2.0

There’s never any reason to make a fuss over tossing together a fresh salad recipe, especially in the summer when ripe vegetables are everywhere. No recipes necessary, just a few wholesome ingredients with fresh flavors that speak for themselves. How few? Let’s try for three! Ready to give it a shot? Make this three-ingredient fresh salad recipe in 5 minutes today, and spend the rest of your time soaking up the sun, unwinding to some summer jams, and savoring each tasty bite of your delish salad.

With just three ingredients, you can have a tossed salad ready to go, any time, any day, of any season—though this is particularly awesome in the summer when you’ve got your choice of farm and garden produce. This isn’t a recipe with specific instructions; rather, it’s a simple formula of three basic foods that love hanging out together in a salad bowl, and will always play well with whatever dressing you want to throw at them.

INGREDIENT #1: Leafy garden veggies.
Yes, this is vague with intention. Because in the summer, virtually any leafy veggies that came from a garden are going to work. Arugula, chard, kale, spinach, cress, whatever—it’s all good here. Just rinse the greens clean and, if they’re very large leaves, tear them into smaller pieces with your hands. That’s it. Greens, please.

INGREDIENT #2: Fresh herbs.
Yet another reason why this salad is such a cinch in the summer: fresh herbs, which most folks grow during the warmer months, or know a friend who does, or have a farmers’ market that’s bursting with them. Again, any herbs you have are going into the salad bowl—don’t discriminate, and don’t overthink it! Basil, cilantro, and parsley are the most common, but don’t forget mint, oregano, rosemary, lavender, thyme, chives, dill, tarragon, or marjoram—and there are oodles more out there!

I think that where most people err when putting fresh herbs in their recipes is to try and measure out what they’ll be using—no need to measure at all, in fact. Just grab a few handfuls of your herbs, or snip the tasty buds/leaves with kitchen scissors, and toss them in. I’m a firm believer of using lots of fresh herbs in my dishes—they add incredible color, spice, freshness, and antioxidants.

INGREDIENTS #3: Crumbled soft cheese.
Which cheese, you wonder? Any cheese that will crumble! Goat cheese, feta cheese, blue cheese, gorgonzola … they all have a different level of tang and salt, but any of them will impart that savory, umami, and slightly acidic quality to balance out the “greenness” of your salad. If you’re not into crumbled cheeses, go for a shaved cheese—parmesan, asiago, or manchego are all great choices. If you’re vegan or dairy-free, replace the crumbled/shaved cheese with a vegan cheese, if you’ve got one you like, or else try toasted pine nuts for a cheese-esque flavor.

Once my salad is tossed in the bowl, I like to finish it off with a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of lemon juice, but that’s up to you, the salad spinner, which dressing or vinaigrette to toss it with. Personally, I feel that if you’re using really fresh greens, herbs, and cheese, you don’t want to drown those flavors in a creamy dressing that’s too overpowering, which is why I use simple oil and lemons.

And that’s all there is to make this three ingredient salad in 5 minutes with virtually any greens, herbs, and cheeses you’ve got on hand. Have fun experimenting!

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Image adapted from Flickr, T.Tseng, CC BY 2.0