18 Ina Garten Salads We Love, Ranked

There are few recipe developers as prolific — or as popular — as Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa. She's known for her elegant but unfussy recipes that are simple enough to make at home but impressive enough to want to show off to friends and family. And although we love all of her recipes, we're particularly fond of her salads. She has a knack for combining ingredients in fresh, unique ways that we've never seen before, and those combos almost always result in crisp, fresh, and delicious salads.

We've decided to take a closer look at some of our absolute favorite salad recipes from the iconic food media mogul. If you decide to cook any of these, you're not likely to be disappointed. Although we're big fans of every salad she's created, some of her salad recipes hold a special place in our hearts, so we're ranking these Ina Garten salad classics starting with our least favorite and working our way down to the ones we wish we could eat every day. Here are 19 Ina Garten salads we love, ranked.

18. Waldorf Salad

Waldorf salad is an absolute classic, and it's one that you may come across in recipe books and at restaurants. It almost always contains apple, celery, and mayonnaise, but it can be combined with a variety of other ingredients. But, of course, even the classics can be improved, which is exactly what Garten did with her twist on the Waldorf salad. She decided to add boiled egg, a vinaigrette, and raisins to her version of this salad, which adds extra protein and an extra burst of flavor.

We think these additions are all undoubtedly an improvement on the classic, but since we don't love Waldorf salad in the first place, it ranks in the last spot on our list. However, if we had to eat a Waldorf salad, we'd want it to be this one.

17. Crunchy iceberg salad with creamy blue cheese

Iceberg lettuce has to be one of the least flavorful vegetables on the face of this earth, so we weren't too excited about this crunchy iceberg salad with creamy blue cheese from Ina Garten. We have to admit, though, that for an iceberg-based salad, this one is pretty good. The blue cheese dressing adds a much-needed kick to the freshness of the lettuce, and the addition of radishes and scallions really makes the flavor of the finished dish pop.

If it were up to us, we'd probably pass on the celery in this dish, though. You already have the green watery flavor of the lettuce, so you don't need that from the celery as well, although it adds a delightful crunch. Even though this isn't one of our favorite Ina Garten recipes, she's probably the only person who could ever get us to enjoy iceberg.

16. Tomato and avocado salad

There are few things as delightful as a tomato salad in the summer, which is why we got so excited when we came across Ina Garten's tomato and avocado salad. A simple but flavorful dressing ensures that every bite of the tomatoes, avocado, arugula, and chopped red onion is intensely flavorful. We love everything about this combo, from the juiciness of the tomatoes to the creaminess of the avocado.

The only reason this recipe doesn't rank higher on our list is that we don't happen to love this much avocado in any dish that's not guacamole. However, if you're the kind of person who can't get enough avocado in their diet, this recipe is bound to please. Enjoy it on a hot summer day.

15. Cape Cod Chopped Salad

We love starting off our meal with a chopped salad. Ina Garten's Cape Cod chopped salad can be used as a starter course, but it can even stand on its own as a fresh, healthy dinner. Peppery baby arugula forms the base of the salad, and Granny Smith apples add a crispness that you can't get from any other ingredient. Walnuts add some crunch to the mix, and dried cranberries and blue cheese add a hint of sweetness and complexity, respectively.

The finished product is one that's undeniably tasty, especially after you sprinkle the bacon on top. But for us, all of those sweet ingredients on top can be a bit overwhelming after a few bites. For those who love to mix sweet and salty flavors, though, this salad should be on your must-make list.

14. Guacamole Salad

Ina Garten's guacamole salad is essentially a deconstructed guacamole, which is definitely something we can get behind. In addition to avocados, this recipe calls for black beans, yellow bell peppers, diced red onion, and jalapenos, in addition to the ingredients you'll need for the dressing. The black beans ensure this salad is as filling as possible, and the jalapenos add just the right amount of heat (although you can always add more or less depending on your spice tolerance). We also love that she adds some lime zest, as it offers a note of acidity that makes you want to keep taking another bite.

We're not huge fans of the inclusion of bell pepper here, although it's easy to leave that out if you feel the same way. Garten has more flavorful salads in her repertoire, but this one should definitely be a hit with guac lovers.

13. Tomato feta pasta salad

Pasta salad is perhaps the best kind of salad — you get all the freshness of a veggie-heavy salad, but you also get the delight of a bowl of pasta. That's why we love Ina Garten's tomato feta pasta salad, which offers both the juiciness of fresh tomatoes along with plenty of carbs to keep us satisfied. The ingredients that really shine in this dish include sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and feta, of course. All of these ingredients are especially salty, which provides the perfect backdrop for the otherwise bland pasta.

Unless you're not feeling that hungry, though, we'd say that this pasta salad is better off as a side dish than as a main course. That does make it rank on the lower side of our list, but we still love how all of these flavors come together.

12. French green bean and goat cheese salad

Green beans may play the front-and-center role in this French green bean and goat cheese salad from Ina Garten, but that doesn't mean it's the best part of the dish. The green beans really shine when they're tossed in the shallot-heavy vinaigrette, but they may just be eclipsed by the phyllo-wrapped goat cheese that goes in the center of the dish. The goat cheese is almost its own recipe itself, but it really does pair well with the green beans, so we understand why Garten wanted to put them together.

This is a gorgeous, elegant combination, but this recipe doesn't rank higher because of how much work it takes to make the goat cheese pastry. If we were a bit more patient, though, this recipe might just be at the top of our list.

11. Tricolore salad with oranges

When you want to make a salad dish that looks as good as it tastes, look no further than Garten's tricolore salad with oranges. We love how much the finished product pops — because of all of those bright colors, we think that this dish deserves to be in the very center of the table. It features bitter radicchio and endive and peppery arugula along with kalamata olives and navel oranges, which counteract the bitterness of the greens. When it all comes together, it's a great mix of zesty, bitter, and sweet flavors, which is exactly what we want in a salad course.

The only thing wrong with this salad is the fact that it wilts so quickly. Make sure you plan on eating it within the hour before you start prepping it.

10. Grilled Greek panzanella salad

Panzanella may be an Italian dish, but Ina Garten gives it a Greek makeover with this recipe for a grilled Greek panzanella salad. She takes the classic bread salad and gives it a decidedly Mediterranean twist with the addition of cucumbers along with tomatoes. Instead of using dry, crusty bread, she instead uses pita, another nod to Greek cuisine. And by grilling many of the components that eventually make their way into the salad, you'll get a smokey, more complex flavor in the finished dish.

This salad is one of our favorites when we're entertaining, but the fact that you have to turn on the grill makes this recipe less than ideal when you just want to get a fresh dinner on the table without too much fuss.

9. Balsamic roasted beet salad

We love all root vegetables, but unfortunately, beets are too often overlooked in the veggie world. However, Ina Garten clearly knows how to handle them well, as evidenced by her recipe for a balsamic roasted beet salad. Beets already have an earthy, complex flavor to them, and when they're roasted, you get even more richness and even a touch of sweetness. 

The balsamic vinegar adds to that complexity and also offers an extra hint of sweetness. Goat cheese, Marcona almonds, and baby arugula provide the perfect backdrop for the intensely flavorful beets, especially when paired with the Dijon-based dressing. We think this salad is perfect for the beginning of fall when you're still craving fresh veggies but are looking for something a bit more warming and comforting.

8. Fresh corn salad

Think corn on the cob is the only thing you can make with all the fresh summer corn you have in the kitchen? Think again. This fresh corn salad from Ina Garten may just be one of our all-time favorite ways to eat corn. You will cook the corn for this recipe, but just barely — you still want it to be crisp in the finished product. Apart from the corn itself, you won't need many ingredients to make this dish come together. Apart from the dressing and seasoning ingredients, you'll really only need basil and red onion.

This salad is supremely simple, which is ideal for those days when you want to throw together something fresh without spending a ton of time in the kitchen. Garten does have more dynamic, complex recipes, but we're big fans of the simplicity she displays here.

7. Warm fig and arugula salad

When summertime begins to fade away and the strawberries start to go out of season, it's time to switch up your fruit game. As an early autumn fruit, figs are perfect for just that purpose. Ina Garten embraces the seasonal fruit with her warm fig and arugula salad that combines the sharp, peppery flavor of the greens with the sweet, gooeyness of the figs. Add in some walnuts for a bit of crunch as well as Roquefort for some tang, and you've got a seriously delicious fall salad.

The dressing in this recipe is exceedingly simple — and also exceedingly delicious. Sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and olive oil join forces to bring all the ingredients in this salad together. If you love a fruit-forward salad, this Ina Garten number is sure to please.

6. French Potato Salad

There are few foods we love more than pasta salad, but if you're getting tired of the mayo-soaked versions you usually find at family cookouts, it may be time to change it up a bit. That's exactly what you'll do when you decide to make Ina Garten's French potato salad. Instead of packing your potato salad with a ton of boiled eggs and mayonnaise, this recipe calls for fresh herbs like dill, parsley, basil, and chopped scallions. They add a freshness and a flavor to this dish that's more subtle and elevated than the mayo-heavy version.

There are several liquid ingredients that are important to this dish, like chicken stock, Champagne vinegar, and a splash of good white dry wine. This is one of our favorite salad recipes from Ina Garten because it's so easy to make even when you don't have a ton of ingredients in the house.

5. Roasted Shrimp Salad

Ina Garten has a tip for more flavorful shrimp salad: roasting it. Her delectable roasted shrimp salad is proof of how well it works. Shrimp really is the center of attention in this salad — it's not hiding underneath lettuce or grains. Instead, you'll get to enjoy the full flavor of the seafood, making this salad perfect for either side dish or main course status. In addition to the shrimp itself, the recipe calls for mayonnaise, capers, dill, and chopped red onion. When it all comes together, you'll have a dish that just about any shrimp lover will adore.

We love that the seafood gets to take center stage here. It's old-school in that it uses mayo just like seafood salads of decades past, but the brightness of the dill and capers gives this salad an undeniably tasty upgrade.

4. Heirloom tomato and blue cheese salad

When it's way too hot out to cook, you have to turn to this supremely delicious recipe: It's Ina Garten's heirloom tomato and blue cheese salad, and it may just be our favorite tomato-based salad of all time. You really only need a few ingredients to put this salad together. First and most important is the heirloom tomatoes themselves. By getting a mix of cherry and larger tomatoes, you'll have a more varied (and more beautiful) final product. The second ingredient you need to snag is a blue cheese, like Roquefort. The bold sharpness of the cheese is just what the slightly sweet tomatoes need to bring out their savory side.

All you'll need beyond those few ingredients is some red wine vinegar, quality olive oil, and some torn basil leaves. Is it any wonder why this is one of our favorite Barefoot Contessa recipes?

3. Watermelon and arugula salad

Watermelon and arugula may not sound like the most natural pairing in the world, but believe us when we say that it really works in Ina Garten's watermelon and arugula salad. Like many of the Barefoot Contessa's recipes, it's simple but sophisticated with its mix of arugula and watermelon, of course, but also Parmesan and black ground pepper. Beyond that, all you'll need to finish off this easy salad is some olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Sometimes, the best things really are that simple.

We love this salad as an easy and elegant side dish to include on the table at your next dinner party. And since it only calls for a short list of ingredients, you can easily throw it together even when you don't have a lot to work with in the fridge.

2. Maple-roasted carrot salad

If you're looking for the perfect fall salad, look no further than Ina Garten's maple-roasted carrot salad from Ina Garten. Two whole pounds of carrots take center stage in this recipe. The other ingredients, like arugula, goat cheese, cranberries, and maple syrup just aim to highlight the roasted carrots' sweetness. Because there are so many carrots in the mix, this is a filling recipe, but its lack of meat means it's also not too heavy.

This is one of our favorite Ina Garten salads because it's fantastic for those cool fall days when you want something that tastes seasonal but also refreshing. Plus, like a lot of the Barefoot Contessa's other salad recipes on this list, it's not difficult to make, even if you don't cook on the regular.

1. Crispy mustard chicken and frisée salad

When crispy chicken is the centerpiece of your salad, you know you're in for something amazing. That's exactly the case with Ina Garten's crispy mustard chicken with frisée salad. The chicken thighs get their incredible, tangy flavor from the mustard marinade, and the frisée sets the bed for the meal. Roasted potatoes ensure you have a little something of everything in every bite you take of this salad.

This is our favorite of Ina Garten's salad recipes because it truly is a whole meal. Although it may require more effort than some of the other, less time-intensive salads on this list, the payoff is so, so worth it. It's ideal when you're looking for a salad that's both filling and refreshing. And if you just want to make those crispy mustard chicken thighs on their own? We won't tell.