I’ll admit, I never thought that a salad could be a whole meal. I always thought that it was just something you ate before your meal or as a side to your meal. I also thought that I wasn’t a salad person because I wasn’t satisfied with just eating a bowl of lettuce with a few other vegetables thrown in; especially as a whole meal. This was until I discovered that there are actually a ton of salad recipes that can make salads delicious, filling, and still pretty healthy. Plus, most salad recipes are fairly quick and easy to make, so they are perfect for after a long day of work, to bring to a luncheon, or if you don’t feel like eating something too heavy for dinner. Here’s a list of 8 salad recipes that will make you fall in love with salad and make you want to make it for dinner.
1. Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad
This salad recipe is perfect for picnics and barbeques because it is light, refreshing, and super simple to make. The sesame vinaigrette adds a nice tangy overtone and the noodles give the salad a crunch that is different from the vegetable crunch. Sure to please the crowd, try this salad recipe for something delicious, and if you want to leave the function with an empty bowl.
- 1 16-oz. bag coleslaw mix
- 2 3-oz. packages of ramen noodles, crumbled
- 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 mango, julienned or diced
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Sesame honey vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup avocado oil (or any cooking oil)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Salt and pepper
To make the vinaigrette whisk all ingredients together until combined. Heat oven to 425. Spread ramen noodles and almonds out on a baking sheet; stir to combine. Bake for 5 minutes. Toss mixture then put bake in the oven for an additional 3 minutes. Add all ingredients (including the vinaigrette) together in a large bowl; toss until combined. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. This salad recipe is best eaten on the first day.
2. BBQ Chicken Salad
This second example of salad recipes makes a salad that is perfect for lunch. Make it when you have leftover chicken in the fridge and it literally takes 5 minutes to make! But even if you have to cook the chicken it only takes about 15! It’s tangy, it’s filling, and it’s delicious – the perfect combo for a perfect salad recipe.
- 1 pound chicken breast, cubed
- Olive oil spray
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons light Ranch dressing
- Tomatoes, chopped
- Cucumbers, chopped
- Carrots, chopped
- Lettuce, rinsed and chopped
In a pan, heat the olive oil spray to medium heat. Add the cubed chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook until cooked through, turning at least once. Place the chicken in a mixing bowl. Add the BBQ sauce and mix well. Get the lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, and any other toppings you want together on a plate. Place the BBQ chicken on top, top with cheese, and Ranch if desired, then serve up and enjoy this tasty salad recipe.
3. BLT Pasta Salad
This salad recipe combines some of my favorite things: a BLT, pasta, and salad. It’s perfect for parties and meals because it comes together fast and everyone loves it. It’s perfect for summer and is a salad recipe to try out this summer.
- 3/4 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- 8 oz. spiral pasta
- 3-4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cup bacon bits or pieces
Prepare the dressing by stirring together all the ingredients until smooth and well-combined. Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain well and transfer to a large salad bowl. Add chopped lettuce, grape tomatoes, cheese, bacon, and your prepared dressing. Toss very well. Serve up this delicious salad recipe and enjoy!
4. Watermelon Feta Salad
Seems like it might be a weird pairing, watermelon, and feta, but it’s actually extremely delicious. This salad recipe is crisp, fresh, and perfect if you like a blend of salty and sweet. Again, perfect for summer, this salad recipe is light, refreshing, and very addictive. You’ll start making it all the time!
- 4 cups spring mix
- 1/2 cup watermelon, cubed
- 1/2 cup mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
- 3 tablespoons feta, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
In a small bowl combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. In a slow steady stream whisk in the oil until combined and thickened. Fill two bowls with mixed greens. Top with watermelon, berries, feta, and basil. Drizzle this salad recipe with the dressing, serve, and enjoy!
5. Doritos Taco Salad
I never would’ve considered putting chips in my salad until I tried this salad recipe. The chips not only give the salad a cheesy flavor, but they also give it a nice crunch. This salad is perfect if you’re feeling like a taco, but want to avoid grease and making a mess.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 1.25-oz. packet of taco seasoning
- 2 Romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups nacho cheese Doritos, broken into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup Catalina dressing or your favorite dressing
Brown and crumble the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain grease. Add taco seasoning and water called for one packet. Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. In a large bowl add chopped lettuce, black beans, tomato, and cheese. Add cooked ground beef and gently toss. When ready to serve, add Doritos and dressing to the salad recipe. Toss to coat then serve and enjoy!
6. Kale and Chicken Pita Salad
Feel like making a Mediterranean salad for dinner? The crushed pita chips give this salad recipe a nice salty crunch while also being light and fresh. Perfect to eat all year, this salad is like eating a gyro just in salad form.
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
- 2 teaspoons salt-free Greek seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- 3 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 5-oz. container baby kale
- 2 cups lightly crushed pita chips
- 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
- 5 thinly sliced radishes
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 scallions, sliced
Season chicken tenders with Greek seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook in 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet until golden drown, 3 to 4 minutes each side; slice. Whisk together fresh lemon juice, tahini, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons water, and chopped garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in baby kale. Fold in crushed pita chips, cucumbers, radishes. grape tomatoes, scallions. and pepper. Serve this salad recipe and enjoy immediately for the best taste.
7. Apple Cranberry Pecan Salad
Normally, I don’t like fruity salads unless I’m making a fruit salad, but this one is actually really delicious. This salad recipe is light, refreshing, and combines a lot of nice Fall flavors. Easy to make and perfect as a nice, light meal.
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1 granny smith apple, sliced
- 1/2 pecan halves
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
For the vinaigrette, whisk together all the ingredients. For the salad, place the spinach in a large bowl; top with apple, pecans, pomegranate arils, cranberries, and goat cheese. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve this salad recipe immediately for the best results.
8. Easy Greek Salad
You can’t go wrong with a Greek salad recipe. This is my favorite salad and I can honestly eat it as a meal almost every day. I’m big on feta though. A nice, light, and easy-to-make salad for lunch, dinner, and parties.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 5 oz. feta cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- Salt and pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard, salt, and several grinds of pepper. On a large platter, arrange the cucumbers, green pepper, tomatoes, feta cheese, red onions. and olives. Drizzle with dressing and very gently toss. Sprinkle with a few pinches of oregano and top with mint leaves. Season this salad recipe to taste, serve, and enjoy!