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Lew Larason: Thoughts from an Epicure

Tossed salads for lunch or dinner


Although salads have been around since the 1500s, I never had tossed salad until the late 1940s when I started eating at the homes of girlfriends.
Before that, the only “salads” I’d eaten were at Thanksgiving and Christmas. These usually were green or red Jell-O with fruit cocktail mixed through. Most of my family considered lettuce rabbit food.
When I first married, salads were a common accompaniment to meals. They’ve been part of my diet since. We usually have salads at dinner. I often have one for lunch, those being more robust.
For me, there are two main ingredients for tossed salad: crisp greens and good dressing. I like to buy different lettuces and often mix in spinach leaves.
I tear lettuce into bite-sized pieces, rinse well, then dry it in a lettuce spinner. A young chef-to-be once said to me, “Don’t cut it, tear it.” What I don’t use goes into an airtight container, kept in the crisper drawer. It holds well for a few days.

This is one food you don’t want to over-think. Keep it simple. To a bowl of crisp greens, add nearly anything you have, including sliced mushrooms and bell peppers, diced scallions, sliced cucumbers, olives, cheese, and so on. If you have some in the fridge, don’t forget quartered hard-cooked eggs.
I also often add cubed leftover dinner meats to my luncheon salads. And, at this time of year, we always have fresh tomatoes. If you’re making a large salad, use cherry tomatoes because large ones often add too much liquid. When we have only lettuce and tomatoes, I use the large and slice them.
As for dressings, Patti likes hers naked, the salad not her! I usually have my olive oil, vinegar, and garlic mix. This with a piece of garlic bread and a glass of wine is a perfect, light meal.
Enjoy and stay safe!

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