Want to know what my go-to salad is on a busy weeknight? This one. This easy salad is SO quick to prepare and it's super satisfying and refreshing.
I LOVE this salad and it's versatility. It's filling enough on its own for a light lunch or dinner, but also pairs perfectly alongside a cup of soup like this minestrone soup or lentil soup if you'd like to make it a meal.
Or if you want to turn it into more of a chef salad for a larger meal, feel free to add additional cold cuts, some sliced cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs, bacon or tomatoes in any combination. They're all great! 🙂
The ingredients for this cold cut salad are minimal, and all easily found any any grocery store. For produce, I use Romaine lettuce, cucumber and a little red onion. And for cold cuts, I love using sliced chicken, turkey, ham and sliced cheddar.
See recipe card below for exact quantities.
First, go ahead and get all of the veggies washed and prepped. Chop the Romaine, peel and slice the cucumber into half or quarter moons, and thinly slice the red onion.
Pro tip: To chop the Romaine lettuce up quickly and evenly, just stack a few trimmed leaves on top of each other at a time on a cutting board. Then, using a large sharp knife, make long lengthwise slices across the leaves followed by slices along the width so that you end up with 1-inch or so squares. Repeat with the rest of the lettuce slices.
Next, chop the sliced cold cuts and place everything in a large mixing bowl.
And lastly, drizzle everything with olive oil, squeeze some fresh lemon juice in and season with sea salt. Use a large mixing spoon or a pair of tongs to mix everything together and coat the ingredients with dressing.
Feel free to make any of the following substitutions in this recipe:
- Romaine lettuce - use iceberg lettuce, butter lettuce, baby kale or spinach instead
- Cucumber - substitute red bell pepper, tomatoes, celery or carrots
- Red onion - use yellow or white onion instead
- Cold cuts - feel free to use any combination of sliced chicken, turkey, ham, roast beef or sliced cheese
- Olive oil - substitute avocado oil or canola oil
- Lemon - use a lime instead, or your favorite store-bought vinaigrette salad dressing
- Sea salt - feel free to leave out if desired
Here are a couple great variations on this cold cut salad:
- Mini chef salad - add extra cold cuts like ham and sliced cheese, and add bacon, hard boiled eggs or tomatoes in any combination
- Italian cold cut salad - instead of or in addition to other cold cuts, add salami, banana peppers, tomatoes, black olives, mozzarella balls in any combination, and drizzle with olive oil, red wine vinegar and Italian seasoning
- Vegetarian cold cut salad - leave out the meat and use sliced cheese and hard boiled eggs or cooked beans instead
The equipment required for this salad is very minimal; just make sure to use a good, sharp knife to prep the veggies.
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- Mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon
This salad is best freshly made, however you can meal prep the ingredients ahead of time for a quick lunch or dinner. Place the chopped lettuce, cucumbers, onion and cold cuts in bowl or a mason jar with a lid. In a separate smaller container with a lid, add the remaining ingredients for the dressing.
Store both up to 24 hours in advance, and then pour the dressing over your salad and shake to mix. Note: you may need to wait for the olive oil to liquefy after storing the fridge; if you put your hand around the container to warm it up, that should speed up the process.
🎉 Top tip
This salad is endlessly versatile, so feel free to get creative and use what you have on hand or try new add-ons like sliced cheddar, bacon, hard boiled eggs or other favorites; you can't go wrong with this one.
Sliced turkey, chicken, ham or roast beef work well in a salad, as do cheeses including sliced cheddar, provolone, Swiss and Gouda.
Romaine and iceberg lettuce both work well in a cold cut salad since their high water content creates a refreshing crunch to balance the protein, but other greens such as spinach and baby kale work well too.
A simple lemon or Italian vinaigrette works well over a salad with cold cuts, while other good choices include balsamic vinaigrette, ranch or Greek dressing.
Yes; a cold cut salad can be made vegetarian by leaving out the meats and using sliced cheese along with hard boiled eggs or cooked beans for extra protein.
Cold Cut Salad
- 1 medium head Romaine lettuce
- ½ small cucumber
- ¼ small red onion
- ½ cup sliced chicken, turkey or ham
- ¼ cup sliced cheddar cheese optional
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ lemon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
- Prep: Wash the lettuce and cucumber, and peel the cucumber (if desired). Chop the lettuce into 1-inch squares by stacking trimmed leaves on a cutting board and cutting across the leaves in crisscrossed fashion. Slice the cucumber into half or quarter moons and thinly slice the red onion. Chop the cold cuts into small squares, as well as the cheese (if using).
- Mix: Place all ingredients in step 1 into a large mixing bowl and then drizzle with olive oil and squeeze the lemon over everything. Add the sea salt and use a large wooden spoon or just your clean hand to mix everything together until the lettuce is well coated with dressing.
- Enjoy: Divide the salad among serving plates, and enjoy immediately!