While you may brush off the humble side salad whenever you go out to restaurants with friends, (because, um… buffalo wings), this staple dish can be made delicious with irresistible ingredients. And you only have to make a trip to the produce aisle (and perhaps the butcher’s corner) to make one of your own. No need to supplement these salads with any sides, either- most of these recipes contain plenty of protein (such as feta cheese or grilled chicken) and each makes a generous amount (so invite your friends over for a feast). Featuring scrumptious selections of fruits and veggies and some aesthetically pleasing combos, here are 12 salads that you can make tonight.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad With Creamy Vinaigrette
Thought that you were just going to steam that pack of cauliflower sitting in your fridge tonight? Think again! This salad from Half Baked Harvest takes this humdrum vegetable and transforms it in a creamy, tangy, slightly spicy dish. First, roast your cauliflower with some chickpeas and spices (listed in the recipe) in a sheet pan in the oven. After they’re done cooking, add them to a bowl full of spring greens, avocado, cucumber, and feta. Finally, just toss with a homemade (this recipe uses a mixture of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tahini, and dijon mustard) or store-bought creamy vinaigrette and you’re good to go. Personal challenge: set aside some salad without dressing and pack it for school or work tomorrow. Just don’t brag about your newfound cooking skills to your colleagues too much. Get the recipe here.
Sure, none of us would complain if we had a lifetime supply of Trader Joe’s southwest salad (always got our back, TJ’s), but making your own only takes twenty minutes and you know just how fresh your ingredients are! This chipotle dressing southwest salad incorporates black beans, cherry tomatoes, sweet yellow corn, avocado, and lettuce together with chipotle dressing and homemade tortilla chips, making for a perfect wrap-up to your marathon school days (“why did I schedule 3 classes in a row?”). Find the recipe here.
Grilled Peach And Arugula Salad
If any vegetable in the world were indicative of responsible, sophisticated adulthood, it would be arugula. But just because five-year-olds aren’t crazy about it doesn’t mean it can’t be crazy delicious! Arugula is light and naturally peppery, which makes it perfect for this salad. This recipe includes blueberries, pecans, goat cheese, and grilled peaches, which complement the arugula base wonderfully. Does the prospect of grilling a piece of fruit sound a little daunting? All you’ve got to do is turn on a grill, place pitted peach halves on it, and roast for a few minutes per side. Just make sure your grill is well-oiled before doing so. Those grill marks will look amazing on those juicy peaches… and the smoky note will taste even better in your salad. We found this recipe here.
If we can learn anything from Greek cuisine, it’s that a few simple ingredients and attentive preparation can make for some of the best dishes. This crunchy, zesty salad only has seven ingredients (plus dressing), but after one bite you’ll see just how scrumptious simplicity can be. This is our favorite recipe.
Still on the acidic side but looking more at German cuisine brings us to our next choice, a classic cucumber salad. All you’ve got to do to make this age-old delicacy is to thinly slice some English cucumbers, make a sauce with vinegar, sugar, and water, and let the cucumbers marinate until flavorful. Just toss with some fresh dill and sliced red onions and you’ve got yourself a fresh, crisp creation. You can find this recipe here.
This colorful recipe combines tons of veggies that on their own could be hit or miss (such as kale, broccoli, purple cabbage, and Brussels sprouts) and makes them into something so delicious you’ll hardly believe it’s healthy. To make this nutritious masterpiece for yourself, you only need 10 minutes and your appetite (one recipe makes 6-8 servings). With its dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and gingery dressing, each bite is bursting with texture and flavor. Here‘s exactly how you can make this salad for yourself.
Got a bunch of mozzarellas, cherry tomatoes, and basil in your fridge just begging to be used (or are you otherwise just really craving them)? This cypress salad recipe is light, fresh, and perfect for any occasion. Pro tip: go for baby mozzarella (the kind that comes in little balls) to perfectly complement your sliced cherry tomatoes. We recommend putting a big scoop of this salad on freshly toasted sourdough.
A good Caesar salad is one of those foods that, when done right, is heavenly. This particular recipe has instructions included for homemade croutons and dressing. Just chop up 1-2 heads of fresh romaine, toss with croutons and dressing, and top with freshly grated aged parmesan. Buon Appetite! Find the recipe here.
How do you make a though, bitter vegetable like broccoli more palatable? With walnuts, dried cranberries, apples, and a creamy dressing, of course! We love this recipe because it makes a ton and only gets better with age. The longer the salad “marinades”, the better it tastes! With this salad, you’ll be fighting off hunger and the common cold in style.
Apple Pomegranate Salad
This beautiful salad showcases the season’s best produce and is perfect to make for Thanksgiving (or Christmas, as the colors go beautifully with any decor). While you can use any greens you like for the base, we recommend arugula (we just can’t get enough) as a nice contrast to the sweetness of the honey crisp apples and the tanginess of the goat cheese. What’s more, is that this salad is so pretty that it’s perfect for practicing any food photography skills (your Instagram’s about to reach a whole new level)!
Apple Gorgonzola Salad
If you’ve ever been with your family to Bucca Di Beppo, your visit probably wasn’t complete without a generous bowl of one of these scrumptious salads. Now, you can make your own! This recipe is a starter, entree, and dessert all in one, featuring tart green apples, gorgonzola cheese, and candied pecans. This dish is best served fresh, but we almost guarantee there won’t be any leftovers, anyway!
Lemony Prosciutto Salad
We must have a thing for Italian-style salads. But with this recipe for a unique salad with prosciutto, white beans, and lemon dressing, could you blame us? You only need five ingredients including dressing (which can be made ahead of time). Mix your dressing, parmesan, and beans before adding your greens and salty cuts of prosciutto (and add lemon slices for a pop of color). Delicious!
Which salad are you going to try ASAP? Tell us in the comments below!
featured image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/PY_dHgdrcno
Anna Livia is a Junior Communications student at John Paul The Great Catholic University. Her hobbies include reading how-to guides on being an adult, exploring the many pockets around North Country (San Diego) and attempting whatever new pasta recipes appear on Pinterest. She hails form Los Angeles but aspires to live in Houston one day for a career in Magazine Editing (not to mention the low housing prices). Her perfect afternoon would include cats of any kind, hot cider, and Malcolm In The Middle.