Yes, that’s right—breakfast salads! They’re a thing, and they’re fantastic. If this concept is new to you, just hear me out, please. A salad in the morning is a great way to work in a serving or two of veggies (or whole grains, or fruit) right off the bat. They’re light, fresh, and balanced, preventing that all-too-familiar carb/sugar overload that’ll have you crashing an hour or two later.

For me, the breakfast salad is ideal because I’ve never been too fond of traditional breakfast foods. I just have a few guidelines for how to build a great one:

 In general, avoid really strong flavors. A mouthful of raw garlic isn’t exactly what most folks take to first thing in the morning.

 Be sure to include protein and fat for satiety. That protein can come in the form of an egg, a little cheese, some leftover bacon, a sprinkle of nuts, a pile of canned beans, or a bed of whole grains. Unsaturated fats (think olive and nut oils, avocado, or nuts) are ideal and go a long way to keeping you satisfied longer.

 Keep it fast and simple. This is breakfast, after all, and on weekdays you don’t have time to fuss with a lot of prep. I’ve strived to keep things nice and easy.

 Pay attention to texture. Ideally your salad will include something crispy-crunchy, creamy-silky, juicy-fresh, and/or meaty-chewy.

 Vary the base. Sometimes, go with greens. Other days, opt for beans, whole grains, or shredded or chopped fresh veggies.

Fig, Farro, and Blue Cheese Breakfast SaladWhat a lovely combo—and a perfect use for leftover farro (or quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries, barley, or whatever whole grain leftovers you have hanging out). When fresh figs aren't in season, you can chop dried figs to use in the salad. If you don't have white balsamic vinegar, you can use classic balsamic; it'll just add more color to the plate. And if blue cheese is too strong a notion for you in the morning, try a milder feta or goat cheese.

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar1 teaspoon walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil1/8 teaspoon kosher salt1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach1/3 cup cooked farro2 large fresh figs, quartered1 1/2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese1 tablespoon coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add spinach and farro; toss to coat. Arrange spinach and farro on a plate. Top with figs, blue cheese, and walnuts.

SERVES 1CALORIES 309; FAT 14.1g (sat 3.5g, mono 5g, poly 4.3g); PROTEIN 9g; CARB 46g; FIBER 8g; CHOL 9mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 455mg; CALC 165mg

More Breakfast Salads: