When anyone uses the word "salad" I think of a restaurant salad: iceberg lettuce, hard tomatoes, maybe cucumbers, maybe carrots, cheese, croutons, and very fattening dressing. Okay, the last is of my own choice because even though I really, with all my heart, want to be one of those "Oh my goodness, I NEVER eat anything but a little fresh lemon squeezed on my salads", I'm more of a Ranch, Thousand Island, French dressing, and lots of it, kind of girl. The first part of the salad is so anemic it's got little health value and the second, with its high fat and higher chemical load in the bottled versions makes the the whole idea of eating salad out at a regular restaurant much less good for you in reality than in theory. At home, I mostly keep it simple with fresh spinach or leaf lettuce and wilt it (see Classic Wilted Lettuce Salad) or try to make simple home-made vinaigrettes or creamier dressings. By using a better nutritionally quality of base greens and home-made, no chemical, dressings, the taste and nutrition values are amplified.
I confess that even with the home-made, sometimes I get bored with the greens/dressing formula and often go with this concept of small diced veggies of all kinds that marinate in a vinaigrette. It's extra crunchy, very brightly colored and pretty, and has a longer shelf life in the fridge so that I can nibble on it as snacks too. Actually, this is one of those great dishes that tastes better the second day after its had a chance to hang out in the fridge and make friends with its neighboring veggies for a while. I like its versatility of working as a stand alone pre-dinner salad, a side on our dinner plate, or as a great snack. It will also be great ON a bed of greens, and with this, no extra salad dressing would be needed.