Sometimes it's good to revisit old favorites.

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Light yet at the same time hearty, nutritious yet exciting: Those are the qualities we would use to describe a good dinner salad. Salad can be (should be) so much more than a side dish, more than an appetizer, and more than a collection of greens drenched in whatever bottled dressing is on hand. These four classic salads—Caesar, Greek, Niçoise, and Wedge—show the colorful, crunchy, irresistible qualities of salad at its very best. Make one for dinner this week.

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Credit: Lennart Weibull

Wedge Salad

It's often served as a starter at a steak-house, but we think the Wedge Salad, pictured above, deserves the spotlight. In our latest rendition, we use crisp iceberg lettuce, sweet tomatoes, crispy bacon, and tangy blue-cheese dressing to create a cooling, crunchy, and satisfying dish.

Greek Salad on blue plate

Greek Salad

For feta fans, olive aficionados, and red onion lovers, Greek Salad is the go-to pretty much any time of year. We like it best in the warm weather when we can enjoy fresh, local tomatoes as part of this romaine-based dish.

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Credit: Bryan Gardner

Salade Nicoise

Like the other classic salads here, there are countless versions of this main dish salad that originated in the French city of Nice. Purists say Salade Niçoise should have canned tuna—not fresh tuna—and we agree (although we've also enjoyed versions made with salmon, halibut, and even chicken). Also non-negotiable are hard-boiled eggs, haricot verts, potatoes, lettuce, olives, anchovies, and capers.

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Credit: Lennart Weibull

Caesar Salad

If you're a Caesar Salad fan, this one's for you! Homemade croutons—cubed Italian bread, tossed in a garlic paste, sprinkled in Parmigiano-Reggiano, and baked—give this salad a superior flavorful crunch.

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