Ensalada verde is bursting with crisp lettuce, crunchy cucumber, juicy tomatoes, red onions, and a tangy lime dressing. It’s a simple, healthy side dish that’s perfect for any meal.

Ensalada verde is a simple green salad made primarily with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Is usually dressed with a vinaigrette made from lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, and basic seasonings.

In Mexican and Latin American cuisine, this salad is often served as a side dish for pollo a la plancha, and it’s a popular choice for those looking for a fresh and healthy salad option.

Ensalada Verde, or simple green salad, placed on a bowl and a portion served on a small plate on the side. Seen from above.

Ingredients

  • LettuceI used romaine lettuce, but iceberg or butter lettuce works too.
  • Tomatoesyou can use roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes.
  • Onionsuse red onions or white onions.
  • Cucumbersregular or English cucumbers.
  • For the simple vinaigrette: Lime, apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper.

How to Make Ensalada Verde

Start by washing the lettuce or mixed greens thoroughly under cold running water. Rinse them several times to remove any dirt or debris.

Top Tip: To prevent a soggy salad, gently pat the leaves dry with a clean kitchen towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.

Romaine lettuce washed and placed on a colander.

Tear or cut the greens into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large salad bowl.

Wash the tomatoes under cold water to remove any dirt. Dice the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and add them to the bowl with lettuce.

Peel the red onion and cut off the ends. Slice the onion in half from top to bottom, then thinly slice each half crosswise to create half-moon-shaped slices. Add to the bowl.

Wash the cucumber under cold water. Peel them or leave the skin on, then slice them into thin rounds or half-moons and add to the other vegetables.

Tip: If the cucumber has tough skin, you can peel it, but it’s not necessary. Some people prefer the extra crunch and flavor of cucumber skin.

Add lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt, and freshly cracked pepper to a bowl. Vigorously mix to combine all ingredients.

The simple dressing made in a small bowl, a bottle with olive oil and some lime wedges on the side.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss for one minute. Adjust salt to taste and serve immediately.

Tossing ensalada verde with the tangy vinaigrette dressing.

Recipe Variations

This ensalada verde is perfect as it is. However, here are some variations to make it richer while keeping it on the healthy side:

  • Avocado: Cut an avocado into cubes and add for creaminess and healthy fats.
  • Peppers: Add diced green or red bell peppers for crunchiness.
  • Corn: Add some boiled or grilled corn for a sweet touch.
  • Nuts & seeds: Add toasted almonds, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds for a delightful crunch.
  • Olives: Green or black olives. You can add them whole (pitted) or sliced.
  • Protein: You can add feta cheese, blue cheese, canned tuna, or rotisserie chicken leftovers. Do this if you eat this fresh green salad as a main meal and not as a side.
  • Other greens: Besides lettuce, feel free to use other types of greens like arugula, spinach, cabbage, kale, and even cilantro to make this simple salad.

Ways to Serve

Ensalada verde can be served in various ways in Mexican cuisine, either as a side dish or a light appetizer. Here are some popular ways to enjoy it:

  • As a side for tacos: Whether they’re fish tacos or steak tacos. The crisp, refreshing flavors of the salad complement the bold and savory flavors.
  • For grilled chicken or shrimp: Serve with brochetas de pollo (chicken skewers) or shrimp kabobs.
  • As a tostada topping: Spread refried beans or guacamole on a tostada shell and top it with this green salad. It’s a crunchy and refreshing combination.
  • As a side for hearty mains: To add freshness to bold dishes like chicken adobo or spicy pork chops.
  • With enchiladas: Pair with birria enchiladas for a balanced meal.
  • As a light starter: Serve small portions as a light appetizer before a Mexican meal. It’s a great way to awaken the palate with fresh flavors.
Close-up of Ensalada Verde.

FAQ

Can this salad be stored?

Ensalada verde can be stored for later, but it’s best enjoyed when it’s freshly made to maintain its crispness and flavors.

If you’ve already dressed the salad, place it in a glass container with a tight lid and store it in the fridge. Make sure to eat it as soon as possible as the vegetables may become wilted, and the salad won’t be as appealing.

For longer storage, keep the dressing separate and place the salad ingredients (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.) in the container. The dressing can be stored in a separate small container or a sealable plastic bag. When you’re ready to eat, combine the two.

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Ensalada Verde recipe.

Ensalada Verde

4 servings
Ensalada verde is a simple green salad made with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. The lime dressing makes it perfect to serve as a side for grilled chicken or steak!
prep 10 minutes
total 10 minutes

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl

Ingredients 

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 2 small tomatoes (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • ½ small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium cucumber (sliced, peeled or with the skin on)

For the simple dressing

  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar you prefer)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Wash the lettuce thoroughly under cold running water. Gently pat the leaves dry with a clean kitchen towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.
  • Tear or cut the lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large salad bowl.
  • Add tomatoes, onions, and cucumber.
  • In a small bowl, add lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Mix to combine all ingredients.
  • Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss for one minute.
  • Adjust salt to taste and serve immediately.

Notes

  • If the cucumber has tough skin, you can peel it, but it’s not necessary. Some people prefer the extra crunch and flavor of cucumber skin.
  • If you want to make it ahead, keep the dressing and the salad ingredients in separate containers. When you’re ready to eat, combine the two.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 14053IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 2mg
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