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—more to come in this series!) 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 chicken, 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.

Greek Cucumber and Chickpea Breakfast SaladFor me, fresh dill makes this salad, offering a fresh, herbaceous boost that livens up the canned chickpeas. It's a satisfying bowl of crunchy, creamy, chewy textures.

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperDash of kosher salt1/2 cup drained canned unsalted chickpeas2 tablespoons slivered roasted red bell peppers2 pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a fork or whisk. Add chickpeas, bell peppers, and olives; toss to combine. Arrange cucumber slices and chickpea mixture in a bowl; top with cheese and dill.

SERVES 1CALORIES 255; FAT 11.6g (sat 3.1g, mono 5.6g, poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 9g; CARB 28g; FIBER 6g; CHOL 13mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 467mg; CALC 160mg

More Breakfast Salads: