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We know: It’s been a long summer of salads. The thought of yet another bowl of leafy greens drizzled in oil and vinegar? Oh, kale no.
But salad has so much more potential than being a boring combination of limp lettuce, grilled chicken and dressing. To prove our point, here are eight scrumptious salad ideas that will have you looking forward to lunchtime.
1. Caprese Salad
Tomato, basil and mozzarella is one of my favorite combinations, and I love it on a sandwich or as an appetizer. But, for the longest time, I equated caprese salads with restaurant menus, when, in fact, these are super-easy to make at home. I don’t follow a recipe per se, but I usually make this salad with a pack of heirloom tomatoes (I love the multi-colored ones that are sold at Trader Joe’s). I halve the tomatoes, and then add in mozzarella balls. You can also cut up your kid’s string cheese if you don’t have any mozzarella on hand. Then I chop up a few stalks of celery to give the salad a crunch and toss the tomatoes, mozzarella and celery in a mix of olive oil and red wine vinegar. I use 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar. Then, I sprinkle it with fresh, chopped basil, and finish it off with sea salt and pepper. To bulk it up with some protein, I’ll add in chicken as well.
2. Purple Potato Salad
Janine from Love and Lemons puts a new (and healthier) spin on potato salad, a picnic classic. Instead of weighing down these pretty purple potatoes with mayonnaise, she uses a combo of olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic capers, lemon, parsley and fresh oregano. The salad gets bulked up with green beans, and you can add in some protein with a boiled egg, bulgur or chickpeas.
3. Mediterranean Salad With Squash
This Mediterranean-inspired salad from Cookie and Kate has all the familiar fixings, like feta cheese, Kalamata olives and grape tomatoes. But added in are some nutrient powerhouses, like vitamin-rich zucchini and yellow squash, as well as toasted pinenuts and couscous. Get the full recipe here.
4. Chickpeas And Avocado Salad
Tired of grilled chicken as the default salad add-on? Well, replace that chicken with chickpeas, which have almost the same amount of protein as chicken? That’s right, a cup of chickpeas has 35 grams of protein, compared to the 38 grams packed in chicken. It’s safe to say this easy salad recipe with chickpeas and avocados, courtesy of Skinnytaste, will help power you through the afternoon, and stave off that 3 p.m. snack attack.
5. Fall Salmon Salad
Salads: They’re not just for summer. Exhibit A: This salmon salad that sits on a bed of greens and roasted butternut squash from The Organic Kitchen blog. The dressing, a basil vinaigrette, is more like a chimichurri, which adds to this salad’s wow factor.
6. Thai Chicken Salad
Your tastebuds will thank you for this Thai salad from Jo Cooks, which is bursting with flavors of peanuts, mint, honey and zesty lime. Adding to its flavor is bok choy, papaya and broccoli slaw, while red pepper flakes and fish sauce lend authentic Thai flavors.
7. Green Bean And Artichoke Salad
The motto of The Healthy Foodie blog is this: “Who says eating healthy has to be boring?” Helping illustrate that motto is this salad that doesn’t have any lettuce, but is still full of nutrients. Chopped artichokes and green beans are the stars of the show, and it’s also loaded with carrots, bell peppers, boiled eggs and cherry tomatoes.
8. Sweet Pear Salad
To be honest, this savory pear and blue cheese salad almost tasted like dessert when I made it. I baked the pear and it was bursting with juicy, sweet flavors that helped me scale down on the dressing. Plus, toasted pecans are a treat. The recipe is an exclusive from the Skinnytaste Fast and Slow cookbook, but you can find a similar recipe here, which and that uses Gorgonzola, which is also delish.