Superfast Salads

Eat healthy in 20 minutes or less with these superfast, easy main-dish salad recipes.

Bistro Dinner Salad

Lee Harrelson

Bistro Dinner Salad

This has all the elegant elements of a restaurant salad―fresh-toasted walnuts, soft-cooked eggs, crumbled bacon, tangy blue cheese, and crunchy pear―but it takes just 10 minutes or so to make. A teaspoon of bacon drippings in the tarragon-Dijon vinaigrette makes it extra rich-tasting and flavorful.

View Recipe: Bistro Dinner Salad

Stir-Fried Chicken Salad

Lee Harrelson

Stir-Fried Chicken Salad

A tasty mixture of rice vinegar, fish sauce, and soy sauce does triple duty here as marinade, pan sauce, and dressing for this Asian-tinged salad. You can easily swap out the chicken for pork, beef, shrimp, or tofu. Serve with a starch like rice or noodles with peanut sauce.

View Recipe: Stir-Fried Chicken Salad

Soba Noodle Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Randy Mayor

Soba Noodle Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Made from buckwheat, soba noodles have a totally different flavor from Italian pastas. They form a nice substantial base for this salad's mix of sweet carrot, herbal cilantro, hot chile, tart citrus, and salty soy sauce. It's versatile enough that the shrimp can easily swap out for any other protein―beef, chicken, pork, or tofu are all good.

View Recipe: Soba Noodle Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Randy Mayor

Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

This is a classic restaurant dish, served the classic way, and it's so popular for a reason. The creamy-tangy dressing with lots of fresh herbs (don't leave out the anchovy paste; it adds a great savory element) complements each of the salad ingredients―chicken, hard-boiled egg, avocado, romaine―in its own way. Not bad for 273 calories a serving.

View Recipe: Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Chicken and Prosciutto Salad with Arugula and Asiago Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Chicken and Prosciutto Salad with Arugula and Asiago

A weekday dinner gets very easy and very tasty with this standout salad.

View Recipe: Chicken and Prosciutto Salad with Arugula and Asiago

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

This salad dressing mimics the flavor of a typical Caesar but in a vinaigrette form.

View Recipe: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Shrimp and Arugula Salad Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Shrimp and Arugula Salad

The white balsamic won’t discolor the shrimp or bright veggies. For something a little sharper, substitute white wine vinegar.

View Recipe: Shrimp and Arugula Salad

Shrimp Cobb Salad Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Shrimp Cobb Salad

"This simple salad was full of flavors that worked very well together, none overpowered the other. It was light but, filling." —ASHLEYAUTUMN

Typical Cobb salads include chicken and hard-cooked eggs; this riff uses shrimp and corn.

View Recipe: Shrimp Cobb Salad

Romaine Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipes

Photo: John Autry

Romaine Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Customize this basic salad by using other fruit, such as dried cranberries, apricots, or raisins, or different cheeses, like blue or goat.

View Recipe: Romaine Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Thai Beef Salad

Beau Gustafson

Thai Beef Salad

Thick slices of steak might overpower some salads, but not here. Plenty of crunchy cabbage makes a nice counterpoint to the tender beef, while a dressing of lime and pungent fish sauce adds Asian flavors. For an interesting twist, roll the salad up in spring roll wrappers and use the dressing as a dipping sauce.

View Recipe: Thai Beef Salad

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Randy Mayor

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Main-dish salads with just greens can feel insubstantial at times, so this dish adds a base of orzo to fresh arugula, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and basil. Tangy goat cheese gives a luscious creaminess to each bite, and chopped chicken makes for a filling meal. Leave out the chicken and double the other ingredients for a picnic pasta salad that'll drive guests wild.

View Recipe: Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

Opposites do attract: Smoky, salty bacon and crisp, fresh spinach are paired in salads all the time. What makes this recipe unique is its maple syrup-based dressing, which adds richness in addition to maple flavor, and tart apple pieces, which add another layer of taste. Add a baked potato for an easy dinner meal.

View Recipe: Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

Tuna-Garbanzo Salad

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Tuna-Garbanzo Salad

With fresh green beans, hearty garbanzos, and a smoky-creamy dressing, this Spanish tapas-style dish is unlike any other tuna salad you've tried. But it still takes less than 10 minutes to make and contains fewer than 400 calories per serving. High-quality tuna is a must; check European or Mediterranean markets for imported oil-packed tuna.

View Recipe: Tuna-Garbanzo Salad

Arugula, Grape, and Sunflower Seed Salad

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Arugula, Grape, and Sunflower Seed Salad

By including a variety of ingredients, salads are often a nutritional powerhouse: This recipe provides lots of antioxidants from the grapes, healthy fats and vitamin E from the sunflower seeds and grapeseed oil, and folate and vitamin A from the arugula. A sweet mustard vinaigrette dressing matches both the peppery bitterness of the greens and the sweet juiciness of the grapes. Try this salad topped with salmon or tuna for a healthful dinner.

View Recipe: Arugula, Grape, and Sunflower Seed Salad

Chicken Cobb Salad

Lee Harrelson

Chicken Cobb Salad

With plenty of chicken, creamy avocado, bacon, and blue cheese, this is the classic entrée salad. Bottled Italian dressing cuts down on time (the whole recipe, including cooking the chicken, takes less than 15 minutes). But if you like, you can whip a quick low-fat vinaigrette for that homemade touch.

View Recipe: Chicken Cobb Salad

Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Melon and prosciutto are a classic pairing; Parmigiano-Reggiano (don't skimp―use the real stuff) pumps up their flavor with its deep savoriness. Make this salad the centerpiece of an antipasto meal by serving with bruschetta and an assortment of olives, cheeses, and slices of salami or ham.

View Recipe: Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Sauteed Escarole, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Lee Harrelson

Sautéed Escarole, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Greens are a low-calorie, nutrient-packed food that are really versatile. This recipe backs up escarole with a hearty base of beans with sweet corn, lightly cooked zucchini, and meaty pancetta. Greens with a slight bitterness are best here, as the cooking softens their flavor―try dandelion, mustard, or turnip greens, broccoli rabe, or radicchio in place of escarole.

View Recipe: Sautéed Escarole, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Asian Chicken Salad

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Asian Chicken Salad

Starting with pre-cooked chicken (use leftovers or a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket), this recipe comes together as quickly as you can cut the veggies and whisk the dressing. The simple soy-ginger-honey vinaigrette makes this a lovely light dish for lunch or dinner, and it's completely guilt-free, with 172 calories and six grams of fat per serving.

View Recipe: Asian Chicken Salad

Thai Shrimp Salad with Spicy-Sour Dressing

Lee Harrelson

Thai Shrimp Salad with Spicy-Sour Dressing

In Thai cooking, strong flavors stand up to one another to create balance. This salad's pungent raw onion and fish sauce are matched by fiery Sriracha, with cooling mint and cilantro in the background. We save time by boiling the shrimp with the noodles; make the dressing while they cook and the whole dish takes 10 minutes or so.

View Recipe: Thai Shrimp Salad with Spicy-Sour Dressing

Chickpea Salad with Provencal Herbs and Olives

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Chickpea Salad with Provençal Herbs and Olives

With their creamy texture and subtle taste, chickpeas are a nice blank canvas to showcase stronger flavors. Here, raw red onion, tiny but piquant niçoise olives, and a red wine vinaigrette with lots of fresh herbs paint a picture of the south of France. Almost five grams of fiber per serving makes this a filling salad, but it only has 163 calories.

View Recipe: Chickpea Salad with Provençal Herbs and Olives

Steaks with Tuscan-Style Cannellini Salad

Steaks with Tuscan-Style Cannellini Salad

An easy-as-can-be preparation lets the ingredients speak for themselves here, so splurge on high-quality steaks and tomatoes. Beans and fresh tomato explode with flavor in a simple balsamic vinaigrette flavored with fresh herbs, while the steaks get a brief searing with only salt and pepper.

View Recipe: Steaks with Tuscan-Style Cannellini Salad

Pan-Grilled Snapper with Orzo Pasta Salad

Beau Gustafson

Pan-Grilled Snapper with Orzo Pasta Salad

Thick, meaty, and filling red snapper is a good fish to feed a hungry family, but grouper and striped bass make excellent substitutes as well. The small size of the orzo lets it soak up the tart mustard vinaigrette easily―or you could try couscous or rice instead. Be sure to make extra dressing to pour over the fish.

View Recipe: Pan-Grilled Snapper with Orzo Pasta Salad

Coriander Chicken with Tomato Corn Salad

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Coriander Chicken with Tomato Corn Salad

Tomatoes, basil, and olive oil are the holy trinity of summer flavor. Add to them a generous helping of sweet corn and sautéed chicken with a unique warm-but-mellow spice rub and you've got a near-perfect simple meal. With a fresh fruit salad on the side, this is an excellent light dinner to eat alfresco.

View Recipe: Coriander Chicken with Tomato Corn Salad

Seared Tuna and Radish Salad with Wasabi Dressing

Randy Mayor

Seared Tuna and Radish Salad with Wasabi Dressing

The slightly sweet tenderness of barely-seared tuna matches the sweet-and-peppery crunch of radishes in this elegant salad. The unique dressing uses silken tofu for creamy texture without fat and has a pungent horseradish heat. If wild salmon is in season, it's great in this dish as well.

View Recipe: Seared Tuna and Radish Salad with Wasabi Dressing

Grilled Chicken and Tomato Salad Recipes

Grilled Chicken and Tomato Salad

Cherry tomatoes round out a late summer-inspired salad that is the perfect one-dish meal.

View Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Tomato Salad

Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad with Spicy Pineapple Dressing Recipes

Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad with Spicy Pineapple Dressing

Chicken with kick, paired with a spicy pineapple dressing, makes this Cooking Light main-dish salad recipe one to add to your repetoire.

View Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad with Spicy Pineapple Dressing

Thai Seafood Salad Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Thai Seafood Salad

This recipe features a combination of scallops, crabmeat, and shrimp tossed in a blend of Thai-inspired flavors. You don't have to eat it with chopsticks, but we think you might just have more fun if you do.

View Recipe: Thai Seafood Salad

Seashell Salad with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing Recipes

Seashell Salad with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing

Prosciutto, peas, and buttermilk-chive dressing make this Cooking Light recipe the perfect quick-meal contender.

View Recipe: Seashell Salad with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing

Sautéed Arctic Char and Arugula Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette Recipes

Sautéed Arctic Char and Arugula Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

If you can't find arctic char for this recipe, substitute another sustainable option like Alaskan salmon.

View Recipe: Sautéed Arctic Char and Arugula Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken Recipes

Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken

For a light and refreshing salad, try this recipe for Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken.

View Recipe: Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken

Southwestern Cobb Salad Recipes

Southwestern Cobb Salad

Our favorite southwestern flavors about in this Cooking Light Southwestern Cobb Salad recipe.

View Recipe: Southwestern Cobb Salad

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas Recipes

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas

Our Mediterannean-inspired Couscous Salad with Chickpeas is sure to be a crowd pleaser. You'll love what the flavor of the fresh mint does for this dish.

View Recipe: Couscous Salad with Chickpeas

Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

With a full pound of crabmeat, this is a luxurious dish that captures the fresh flavors of summer. It's a great way to highlight heirloom tomatoes from your local farmer's market or, even better, your own garden. A cold soup like vichyssoise or cucumber soup (or gazpacho, if you're a real tomato lover) makes a perfect pairing.

View Recipe: Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

Thai Steak Salad Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Thai Steak Salad

A combination of fresh herbs—mint, cilantro, and basil—impart delicious fresh flavor. This salad would also be delicious with grilled chicken or lamb.

View Recipe: Thai Steak Salad

Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad Recipe

Photo: Johnny Autry

Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad

To keep this meal sustainable, buy American shrimp farmed in fully recirculating systems or ponds.

View Recipe: Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad

Wilted Kale with Bacon and Vinegar

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Wilted Kale with Bacon and Vinegar

Lacinato kale is also called Tuscan, dinosaur, or black kale. You can also use regular curly kale.

View Recipe: Wilted Kale with Bacon and Vinegar

Steak, Pear, and Watercress Salad

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Steak, Pear, and Watercress Salad

This gorgeous salad makes for a fresh, light spring dinner; serve with crusty bread. You can substitute arugula for the watercress; it has a similar peppery flavor.

View Recipe: Steak, Pear, and Watercress Salad

Radish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Radish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Fresh radishes add peppery heat and crunch to spring salads. Also try this radish salad with one of these dressing variations: Avocado Dressing, Buttermilk-Herb Dressing, and Sesame-Honey Vinaigrette.

View Recipe: Radish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

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