How to Build an Epic Salad without a recipe

A simple guide to how to build an epic salad without a recipe

If there’s one thing I love about cooking – it’s how simple making a salad can be.

Today I’m sharing with you a delicious and simple recipe guide for how to build an epic salad without a recipe. The kind of salads that will brighten your weekday work lunches because they’re so fresh, easy and delicious. You’ll feel like you’re cheating with how simple they can be.

An easy throw together salad to create simple delicious crowd pleasers. Healthy salad meal prep ingredients to boost your salad game and fill your belly.

This guide is part of a 6 part cooking 101 series. Check the rest out:
Equipment Guide | Pantry Guide | The Basics | Seasonal Eating | Get Your Shit Together (free recipe book)

Here’s the thing about salads…
We’re doing them all wrong!


These amazing bowls of goodness have been given a bad wrap by cafes and restaurants that serve you four pieces of tomato, three pieces of cheese and charge you $16. It’s an outrage, annoying and a deal breaker.

Salads need a PR manager. Their catch phrase would be:

More than just green leaves, chopped tomato and cheese.

Top me with your best FLAVOUR BOMB condiments like, feta, toasted nuts, sauerkraut and let yourself off the hook.

Salads can fill you up more than a hearty roast dinner. Give us a chance… please?

I often hear people say salads are boring or not filling enough. I’ve built a catering business on serving people salads. These were however not your average salad. They were made with an array of ingredients, filling wholefoods, with zippy dressings, texture and an undeniably delicious crunch factor.

A salad is anything in a bowl.


With multiple ingredients, put together in an interesting way.

Imagination is key here, like most cooking. It’s not so much about the weird and wacky ingredients you add, it’s all about the simple ingredients and how you bring them together.

It’s totally up to you to get crazy creative with your ideas. Usually the ‘weirder’ you think they are, the more delicious they can be. Or maybe, just maybe, what you think is weird actually isn’t weird. It’s just that you’ve never been shown that’s an option?

I’ve put together a guide for you to follow. Before we get to that lets start with a few rules. They’re more like guide posts, I follow these every time I make a salad.



The rules of salad making


1. All you need is: a lug of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon (or vinegar), salt, pepper to transform your bowl.

2. Your options are seriously endless. Yes that can be daunting but… start with what you like and what you know to gain your confidence.

3. At some point you need to freestyle, you may fuck it up. This is how you learn. Go back to point #1 to make your meal edible. Honestly, if everything you made turned out to be edible gold – good for you, but it’s in the recovery that makes the difference. When you mess something up think about what could make it better, or what you’d change for next time. This is how you build your confidence.

4. Gather a list and a pantry/fridge of your non-negotiable flavour bombs. Keep these at all times. Mine are: sheeps milk feta, dried herbs, fresh herbs, semi-dried tomatoes, olives, sourdough croutons, lemon, toasted coconut, nuts, seeds. To name a few.

5. Add some fruit – you won’t regret it. Fruit adds sweetness and balances out flavour profiles, it can also make your salad POP with interesting flavour. Stone fruit in summer, citrus / oranges / apples in the cooler months. Try roasting them too.

6. A dressing is all you need to make a salad super delicious. If you really don’t know what to add, or the fridge is bare, good news, cover it up with a delicious dressing. This is also handy if you want to eat ‘healthier’ but are worried about making a pile of veggies taste great.

7. Salads can be filling, but it’s up to you to make them so. The crunch and the chewing is what gets your digestive system moving to start processing the food. Salads are not quick to eat. All that chewing takes time – if your salads are quick to eat and you are still hungry at the end of lunch… you aren’t feeding yourself enough. Try adding 1/2 cup of rice/quinoa/beans or a slice of sourdough.

8. There are no rules, so forget all of this and just get creating! These are guide posts and reminders in case you get lost in a world of leafy greens and roasted tomatoes, but that wouldn’t be so bad.

The Meal Matrix is a free guide helping you create effortless meals without a recipe, so you never have to ask WTF is for dinner again

say bye bye to the recipe rut merry go round


Do you feel like all you do is search for new recipes, yet still seem to cook the same meals over and over again?

Say bye bye to your recipe rut and nail your meals with The Meal Matrix. Did I mention it’s free?


 7,268,184 meal ideas …. to be exact

▷ A mini flavour guide, so you can instantly level up the yum factor of your cooking and stop overthinking what ingredients go with ‘dill’ and get on with it

▷ 9 meal ideas (from 3 feature ingredients) and recipes, showing you how this works in real time

 Permission that you and your family are worth it and home cooking matters

want more salad inspo?

There's plenty more where that came from. Browse the archives right here.

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How to build an epic salad recipe book and guide by Lunch Lady Lou


How to build an epic salad... that you'll want to eat

Life's too short for soggy sad salads. Level up your salad game with the How to Build An Epic Salad guide.


In this step by step guide, I'll walk you through the 5 building blocks to making the best, most delicious, easy salads - that will make you feel like a kitchen legend. 


Brighten your weekday work lunches.
Create simple delicious crowd pleasers.
Boost your salad game and fill your belly, all from a simple salad bowl.