Are you tired of eating the same thing for lunch every day? Whether you’re trying to cut calories or simply eat more fresh food, it’s too easy to fall into a routine and forget about the most important thing about your lunches—flavor!
Just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to endure bland meals. With these seven incredibly delicious salad recipes, you’ll have something new to enjoy every day, and you’ll never get bored with your lunches again.
1. Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
If you’re looking for a healthy, nutrient-dense option for lunch, this recipe might just become your go-to.
Start by toasting cumin seeds over medium heat and then crush them once they become fragrant. Then make your dressing by combining extra-virgin olive oil, fresh minced garlic, lemon (with some lemon zest grated in), and crushed cumin seeds.
You add canned or home-cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed), sweet cherry tomatoes sliced into halves, cucumbers sliced into half-moons, roasted red peppers, roasted almond slices, and crumbly goat cheese of your choice.
Top your salad with fresh herbs such as basil or mint for added fragrance.
Mix your ingredients together for about 30 seconds until everything is coated with your dressing, and enjoy!
2. Easy Greek Wedge Salad
Greek salads combine saltiness with savory and fresh to satisfy any lunchtime appetite. This recipe is fantastic for vegetarians!
Slice a wedge of iceberg or romaine lettuce and set it aside for this easy Greek salad. This will be the base of your salad.
The delicious part comes when you combine cherry tomatoes (halved), sliced cucumber, celery, pitted kalamata olives, thinly sliced shallots, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set this aside to marinate.
For your dressing, combine extra-virgin olive oil, more lemon juice, a few tablespoons of tahini, three cloves of minced garlic, black pepper, and salt to taste. Whisk until combined and adjust ingredients to taste.
Now pour your marinated veggies over your lettuce wedge, drizzle with dressing, and dig in.
3. Southwest Chicken Salad
Try this easy southwest chicken salad for a spicy kick to your weekday lunch.
Begin by seasoning boneless skinless chicken strips with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning, then cook in a hot pan until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Set your chicken strips aside—don’t slice yet because they will dry out if you cut before allowing them to rest.
In a salad bowl, arrange baby spinach or chopped lettuce (or both), black beans (drained and rinsed), cherry tomato halves, chopped red onion, and corn (grilled corn for extra flavor!). Slice your chicken strips and add them to the bowl as well.
To make a creamy dressing, combine avocado, plain yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Garnish your salad with some fresh cilantro, and you’re ready to eat!
4. Cobb Salad
This classic American salad will make any day a little better once lunchtime arrives!
You need shredded or chopped rotisserie chicken, chopped romaine lettuce, boiled and halved eggs, bacon crumbles, avocado, bleu cheese crumbles, and chopped chives.
The dressing is an integral part of this recipe, though. Combine red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and olive oil in a bowl, and stir until combined. Salt and pepper to taste, and you’re ready to assemble!
Start with a bed of lettuce, then layer your eggs, chicken, avocado, bleu cheese crumbles, and bacon crumbles to your heart’s desire. Top with your dressing, and garnish with chopped chives.
This salad is always a crowd-pleaser, so keep it in mind for your next lunchtime gathering!
5. Wild Rice and Arugula Salad
This salad combines seasonal ingredients such as arugula and green onions to make a quick and easy (and nutrient-packed) salad when you’re in a crunch—just keep some wild rice cooked and ready to go in your refrigerator!
If you don’t have any wild rice cooked, begin by rinsing your rice. Always rinse your rice—unless you’re making risotto, but that’s another recipe entirely.
The process to cook wild rice is exactly the same as regular rice other than the water to rice ratio, which is three cups of water per cup of wild rice. However, it takes a little longer to cook wild rice, so patience will pay off!
Once your rice is cooked, the rest is a breeze. In a salad bowl, combine arugula, wild rice, diced cucumber, chopped green onions, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, and salt and pepper to taste.
Toss with an easy lemon vinaigrette (olive oil, lemon juice, and turmeric), and enjoy!
6. Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad
For this easy and delicious lunchtime favorite, all you need to do is combine chopped romaine lettuce, red cabbage, red onion, celery, cherry tomato halves, sliced pepperoncini peppers, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, cooked chickpeas, and cubed provolone or mozzarella cheese in a large salad bowl.
Toss with your favorite Italian-style dressing, and you’re ready to go!
7. Kale Salad for Any Occasion
For this kale salad recipe, you need to combine freshly chopped kale (no ribs), shaved carrot and beet, roasted chickpeas, cubed avocado, sliced radish, toasted pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a salad bowl. Top with a light vinaigrette of your choice, and enjoy!
Many people don’t like kale because of its tough texture and bitter flavor.
Pro tip: massage your kale with sea salt before adding to the bowl to improve its flavor and texture.
How to Modify Any Salad Recipe So It Tastes Delicious
Nutritionists often talk about one of the keys to a healthy diet being color. The more colorful your plate of food looks, the better for you it probably is. So, when you’re making your salads, keep color in mind.
The next essential component to a delicious salad is texture. You will likely get bored just eating leafy green vegetables. Get creative with texture—soft, crisp, juicy, and crunchy textures all mix together to create an exciting salad in every bite.
The most crucial aspect is flavor. You probably don’t want to eat flavorless iceberg lettuce every day, right? So, create layers of flavor—start with a base of veggies such as spinach, broccoli, and peppers. Then complement it with a savory and filling protein such as shredded rotisserie chicken or spicy black beans. Next, garnish with nuts, scallions, sweet corn, or pickled onions, and top with a tasty dressing—now you’ve got a delicious salad!