When you’re inventing your own salads, it’s easy to be inspired by fresh summer produce—and hard to make mistakes if you follow a few general rules.
  • Match assertive greens (arugula, dandelion, chicory, endive, frisée and radicchio) with strong-flavored dressings and hearty ingredients, such as beef or sausage.
  • Coat milder greens (romaine, Boston, Bibb and red-leaf lettuces, as well as mung bean, alfalfa and sunflower sprouts) with subtle dressings that won’t overpower them.
  • Play with textures and temperatures—cool, lacy greens with warm goat cheese in crisp phyllo or just-grilled beef with citrus.
  • For tossed salads, use ingredients of similar size and weight; heavy items will fall to the bottom of the bowl as you toss.
  • Serve salads based on starches, such as pasta, rice, potatoes, bread or grains, at room temperature, not chilled.
  • Don’t be afraid to use meat, seafood or poultry straight from the grill.