Ready to Shake Up Your Salad Routine? With These 13 Recipes, the Plant-Powered Options Are Endless (2024)

Ask two chefs what actually counts as a salad, and prepare yourself for a heated debate. It’s a question as old as time, and one that draws out a surprising range of answers. By definition, salads bring to mind a medley of leafy greens, raw and cooked veggies, perhaps a protein, and a dressing to finish things off. Of course, there was a dark period in our food history when ambrosia salads (key components being mini marshmallows and canned mandarin oranges) were considered a delicacy. It also wasn’t too long ago that jello was thought to be a sought-after salad ingredient. Oh, how far we’ve come. Nowadays, we’ve reined in our creativity when it comes to salads, and the result is recipes I’m craving every hour of the day. And when it comes to the midday meal, there’s no better way to get all the nutrients your body needs than with a salad. So if you’re looking for salad ideas for shaking up your lunch, you’ve come to the right place. These 13 recipes are full of flavor, brimming with color, and completely redefine what it means to be a lunch salad stan.

Feature image by Ashleigh Amoroso.

Ready to Shake Up Your Salad Routine? With These 13 Recipes, the Plant-Powered Options Are Endless (1)

Abundance Kale Salad With Savory Tahini Dressing from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: As someone who uses recipes as a jumping-off point for endless inspiration, I’m always thankful for one that lets me mix and match ingredients and customize as I please. This salad is a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure affair. While the recipe calls for zucchini, sweet potato, and red cabbage as your roasted veggies, feel free to swap in your faves (though, if I’m being honest, that’s a combo that’s hard to beat). With grains, greens, and a nutty tahini dressing to seal things off, expect to be surprised by the deliciousness you can make in only 30 minutes.

Hero Ingredient: I’m a passionate proponent of simple and streamlined roasted veggies that call for nothing more than a little salt, pepper, and olive oil. But when you add curry powder to the mix, the trifecta of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors defines game-changing.

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Roasted Beet Salad With Goat Cheese and Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette from The Roasted Root

Why We Love It: Beets, arugula, and goat cheese is a classic triple threat. But when I order the salad out, I’m surprised to see how often my plate comes back with steamed beets. Don’t get me wrong, this method of prep isn’t terrible, but it’s definitely not ideal. Here, the sweet, hardy veggie gets roasted in foil packets, giving you a wonderfully soft, sweet, and caramelized result.

Hero Ingredient: I’m passionate about my beets, and while I’m tempted to call them out as the component responsible for making this salad so good, it’s that subtle, half-teaspoon of cinnamon in the dressing that gives this recipe comfort food vibes.

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Ready to Shake Up Your Salad Routine? With These 13 Recipes, the Plant-Powered Options Are Endless (3)

Crispy Tofu Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad With Honey Mustard Dressing

Why We Love It: As a writer, it isn’t often that I find myself at a loss for words. But when I took the first bite of this salad, I threw all eloquence out the window and could only think of one word: yum. I’m honestly shocked that shaved brussels sprouts still aren’t yet considered a salad staple. So if you’re on the hunt for a reason to make the little guys your go-to green, here you go. They hold up to the honey mustard dressing and are a crunchy but light contrast to the oh-so-crispy and chewy tofu.

Hero Ingredient: Adding sliced avocado to the mix proves that this salad doesn’t hold anything back.

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Buffalo Cauliflower Salad With Tahini Ranch from The First Mess

Why We Love It: Some may think of buffalo-style cauliflower as a passing trend. I’m of the (popular) opinion that it’ll forever be the darling of the plant-powered meal prep world. Its smoky sweetness beautifully plays up this salad’s lighter components. Simple, satiating, and bound to satisfy plant-based folks and carnivores alike.

Hero Ingredient: If I’m eating buffalo-style anything, you can bet I’ll have a side of ranch nearby. This salad’s dairy-free tahini ranch dressing is liquefied gold. Without any dairy in sight, the dressing is refreshingly light, but still full of herby zest.

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Thai Chicken Salad

Why We Love It: If it’s tropical vibes you’re craving, let me introduce you to the salad that’ll make all your laid-back island dreams come true. I’m all for a recipe that leans on rotisserie chicken for heft, and it’s the perfect protein for tying together the recipe’s rainbow of veggies, herbs, and mango.

Hero Ingredient: Spicy peanut sauce? Sign me up. Sriracha brings a kick of nuanced heat to this salad’s creamy dressing.

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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad With Hummus from Killing Thyme

Why We Love It: Mediterranean flavors have a way of transporting me immediately to the easygoing days of summer. This twist on the classic Greek salad fills your fork with an impressive range of flavors and textures. You have juicy grape tomatoes, the bright brininess of Kalamata olives, and the smoothest, most heavenly hummus. Just in case you needed a reminder that salads can be both delicious and unbelievably nutrient-dense.

Hero Ingredient: The secret to making this salad light but cozy and all-around refreshing? Toasted, roughly chopped walnuts.

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Healthy Taco Salad from Love & Lemons

Why We Love It: If there was ever a recipe to be classified as “genius,” here it is. Taco salads as we’ve come to know them in the past are often heavier on the fried tortilla strips than greens. But this fresh take turns that trend on its head. It packs more textures and flavors onto a single plate than I thought was possible. And while it does give you a taste of the quintessential crispy corn flavor with a sprinkle of tortilla strips, this recipe makes sure toround things out with all the vibrant veggies.

Hero Ingredient: Plant-based eaters, rejoice! This recipe uses mushrooms and walnuts to make a taco “meat” substitute that’s nothing short of addicting.

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Powerhouse Quinoa Salad from One Lovely Life

Why We Love It: Salads used to get a bad rap. In the early aughts, they were lauded for being low on the calorie count scale, and beyond that, there wasn’t much else to celebrate. I love that we’ve shifted more to a mindset focused on abundance rather than restriction. When I think about making a salad for lunch, I get giddy knowing that I’ll be filling my plate with colorful and nutrient-dense ingredients. And if there’s a salad that balances taste and nutritional benefits to perfection, it’s this one. The array of sweet fruits, hearty greens, nutty grains, and crunchy toasted pecans is bound to beat out anything Sweetgreen could ever dream up.

Hero Ingredient: Quinoa is full of fiber, easy to prep, and packs a whole lot of plant-based protein for a satisfying meal.

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Kale Italian Chopped Salad

Why We Love It: Kale has finally stepped into its role as a household, go-to green. Gone are the days of the hardy leaf being associated with crunchy granola types—kale for all! This recipe showcases the leafy cabbage cultivar at its finest. With two types of kale, Russian and Dino, leading the charge, and plenty of other hearty and filling ingredients mixed in (garbanzo beans, black olives, and salami if you eat meat), this is kale salad transformed.

Hero Ingredient: I have two words for you: Sourdough croutons. While I’ll take bread in any form I can get it, nothing can compete with pan-fried cubes of the crusty deliciousness (tossed in a healthy serving of olive oil and garlic, of course).

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Greek Chicken Salad Lunch Bowls from Fed + Fit

Why We Love It: If you’re the kind of person who can eat the same lunch Monday through Friday, welcome to the club. While variety is the spice of life, I’m all for reducing decision fatigue in my life as much as possible. This recipe is one of the things I turn to to make it happen. On Sunday afternoons, I make my tzatziki and hummus, slice up some veggies, shred the rotisserie chicken meat, and file it all away in my fridge. With all of that done in advance (it takes less than an hour!) the only thing standing between me and my salad is a little low-effort assembly. A lazy luncher’s dream.

Hero Ingredient: It merits a second mention: The homemade tzatziki makes the bowl.

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Ready to Shake Up Your Salad Routine? With These 13 Recipes, the Plant-Powered Options Are Endless (11)

Falafel Salad Hummus Bowls from Spoon Fork Bacon

Why We Love It: As far as sandwiches go, nothing compares to pillowy balls of falafel pocketed in a pita with hummus, tomatoes, and the sauce of your choosing. But sometimes, I just need my falafel in salad form. This bowl pulls together all the flavors of the Middle Eastern staple. Oh, and if you’re ever worried about your falafel falling apart, know that this recipe is totally foolproof.

Hero Ingredient: There’s a time and a place for store-bought hummus, and this is not it. I highly recommend putting in the little extra effort it takes to make the garlic hummus. Your taste buds will be forever grateful.

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Ready to Shake Up Your Salad Routine? With These 13 Recipes, the Plant-Powered Options Are Endless (12)

Everyday Mediterranean Salad from Gimme Some Oven

Why We Love It: When it comes to just about anything, I’m all for versatility. I love dinners that pack up for amazing lunch leftovers the next day and breakfasts that can do double duty for a crave-worthy nighttime meal. This easy, everyday salad can be made in advance, is composed of easy-to-find ingredients, and if you double the recipe, it’s good enough to enjoy as a side salad for dinner. My favorite way to make it part of a larger meal? Serve it alongside these juicy and light Thai Chicken Burgers.

Hero Ingredient: You know you’ve found a good recipe when every component could be a hero ingredient. The true standout though? Nothing beats feta’s salty punch.

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Sunshine Salad

Why We Love It: Possibly the most aptly-named salad out there. This recipe is truly sunshine in a bowl. Brighten up your clean-eating routine with all the superfoods your heart could ever desire. No color gets left out of this recipe: purple cabbage, orange-hued carrots, ruby red tomatoes, and a cup of mixed herbs make this salad a greens-lover’s dream. Detox without deprivation.

Hero Ingredient: I’m always craving the crunch of sunflower seeds, and this salad satisfies.

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Ready to Shake Up Your Salad Routine? With These 13 Recipes, the Plant-Powered Options Are Endless (2024)


What salad dressing does Jennifer Garner use? ›

I use straight olive oil and red wine/balsamic vinegar. The key for me is to pick a variety of the above and CHOP it up so that you aren't battling a dinner plate sized honk of lettuce every other bite. "I add lots of goodies to my salad, but first: veggies," Garner shared in her Instagram video.

What to put in a salad for weight loss? ›

Salad Ingredients With Fiber
  1. Spinach (also a great source of protein)
  2. Mixed greens or slaw mix.
  3. Red or yellow peppers.
  4. Broccoli.
  5. Cauliflower.
  6. Carrots.
  7. Avocado (keep your serving small)
  8. Lima beans.
Mar 18, 2021

What to add to salad to make it better? ›

Here are the top 20 healthy salad toppings.
  1. Chopped Raw Vegetables. A typical salad starts with raw greens, such as lettuce, spinach, kale, mixed greens or arugula. ...
  2. Nuts and Seeds. ...
  3. Dried Fruit. ...
  4. Whole Grains. ...
  5. Beans and Legumes. ...
  6. Fresh Fruit. ...
  7. Baked Tortilla or Pita Chips. ...
  8. Shredded Hard Cheeses.
Dec 17, 2018

How to jazz up a salad? ›

Here are some ideas to super-boost your salad!
  1. Add texture with roasted seeds or nuts. Seeds and nuts are a great salad topper. ...
  2. Make it more filling with whole grains. ...
  3. Beans and other legumes add plant-based protein. ...
  4. Fresh herbs add lots of flavour. ...
  5. Sweeten your salad with fruit. ...
  6. Make sure your salad is properly seasoned.

What is the Jennifer Aniston salad? ›

She spent the day sharing pieces of her life, including a few of her favorite meals. For lunch, she had what is now known as the Jennifer Aniston salad: bulgur wheat, cucumber, herbs, chickpeas, feta, red onion, and pistachios.

Will I lose belly fat if I eat salad everyday? ›

Salads are loaded with fibres, and when you add a good amount of fibre in your daily meal plan, it can definitely target your belly fat and help it move away faster.

Can I lose weight if I eat 3 salads a day? ›

You might lose weight as a result of eating fewer unhealthy foods. One of the reasons why salad is considered a healthy choice when you're aiming to maintain your weight or shed pounds is that they are usually chock-full of fiber—which is considered to be helpful in aiding with weight loss.

Is it OK to eat salad every day for weight loss? ›

Eating salad can help with weight loss

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. Fruits and vegetables typically contain more fiber and water than more processed, high-calorie foods. This means that you can eat more fruits and vegetables while staying on a low-calorie diet.

What is the healthiest thing to put in a salad? ›

Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds are all high in healthy fats and protein. Fruits: Fresh or dried fruits like berries, mango, pineapple, or pomegranate seeds can add natural sweetness and nutrition to your salad.

What is the healthiest salad dressing to eat? ›

Oil and vinegar.

“This is a great option, because it won't have any added sugar or salt,” says Allers. “But the type of oil is important. Opt for olive or avocado oil over an alternative like canola or soybean oil.” These healthy oils are packed with antioxidants, and can even help lower cholesterol.

What is the healthiest salad? ›

10 Nutrient-Dense Salad Recipes
  • Low-Carb Asian Chopped Salad.
  • Spicy Shrimp, Avocado, and Arugula Salad.
  • Tofu and Kale Salad.
  • Pear, Grape, and Feta Salad.
  • Mediterranean Chicken Salad.
  • Blood Orange and Quinoa Kale Salad.
  • Golden Beet and Pomegranate Salad.
  • Roasted Chickpea and Kale Salad.
Jul 20, 2021

How to pimp up a salad? ›

One of the easiest ways to get some flavour in your salad is to mix up your leaves with bright herbs that pack a punch. Plants like parsley, dill, mint and coriander can really kick your salads up a notch and give them some (much needed) depth and can give a great dose of flavour in every bite.

How do you eat salad and feel full? ›

Why Adding Chicken to Salad Will Keep You Full Longer
  1. Choose Dark Leafy Greens. Dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale and romaine are packed with fiber. ...
  2. Add a Lean Protein. Chicken is an excellent way to add protein to your salad and keep you feeling full longer. ...
  3. Avoid Fat-Free Dressings. ...
  4. Drink Water with Your Meal.

What is the most popular salad dressing in the world? ›

Most Famous Dressings in the World
  1. Ranch Dressing. The ranch is a salad dressing or dip made with buttermilk, salt, garlic, onions, herbs (dill, parsley, chives, etc.), and spices (mustard seeds, black pepper, paprika, etc.) ...
  2. Fry Sauce. ...
  3. Chermoula. ...
  4. Blue Cheese Dressing. ...
  5. Thousand Island Dressing. ...
  6. Italian Dressing.

What does Jennifer Garner eat for lunch every day? ›

By 12:00 p.m., she's eating lunch, which is the same every day: a “big, fat salad like Elaine in Seinfeld,” she says. The salad consists of arugula, hearty veggies like green beans and broccoli, and these days, she's not topping it off with a protein.

What is the most popular salad dressing in the United States? ›

Ranch Dressing

The ranch is hands down America's most beloved salad dressings. It is made from a number of ingredients such as buttermilk, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, onion, chives, salt, and pepper.


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