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.
Arugula, Egg, and Charred Asparagus Salad
Just a hint of char on the asparagus adds fantastic complexity to this simple 5-ingredient spring salad. Look for medium stalks rather than pencil-thin ones—those would char and dry out too quickly. A soft-boiled egg adds protein and richness; let the slightly runny yolks mingle with the rest of the salad before enjoying. Whole-milk Greek yogurt has a lusciousness and milder tang than lower-fat yogurt. It's the perfect binder for the lemony dressing. Serve with a slice of multigrain bread spread with goat cheese and a dash of cracked black pepper.
Salmon and Spinach Salad
Tarragon and fresh fennel both have the same faint licorice flavor, but they don’t overwhelm this simple spring salad. Salmon is the perfect protein for this dish: It cooks quickly, separates into large, pretty flakes, and stands up to the mint, tarragon, and garlic. This dish would also be a great use for leftover salmon. Refrigerate the cooked fillets whole, and then separate into flakes just before serving. If you don’t care for fennel, swap in another crunchy element like sliced cucumber or celery. Serve with toasted whole-grain baguette slices spread with softened goat cheese or salted butter.
Burger Patty Salad
We love the richness that a little ground lamb offers, but you can use all beef or even ground turkey instead.
Steak and Tomato Panzanella
We use the broiler to keep this vibrant summer salad speedy, but if you already have the grill cranked up, this dish easily transitions to an outdoor entrée.
Chicken and Arugula Pasta Salad
In this dish, just a bit of a rich and pungent cheese can go quite a long way. Tossing hot pasta with a few ounces of creamy Brie makes for a light, luscious, and flavorful sauce to coat this abundant bowl of chicken, fresh veggies, and whole-grain noodles.
Fennel and Clementine Salad with Chicken, Almonds, and Feta
Fennel's licorice-y sweetness is a great match for juicy citrus and salty feta. But if it's not your favorite, swap the fennel out in favor of thinly sliced red onion.
Quinoa, Smoked Trout, and Beet Salad
Layering the elements of this flavor-bomb salad guarantees even distribution in every bite and makes for a lovely platter.
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.
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.
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.
Chicken and Prosciutto Salad with Arugula and Asiago
A weekday dinner gets very easy and very tasty with this standout salad.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
This salad dressing mimics the flavor of a typical Caesar but in a vinaigrette form.
Shrimp and Arugula Salad
The white balsamic won’t discolor the shrimp or bright veggies. For something a little sharper, substitute white wine vinegar.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grilled Chicken and Tomato Salad
Cherry tomatoes round out a late summer-inspired salad that is the perfect one-dish meal.
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.
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.
Seashell Salad with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing
Prosciutto, peas, and buttermilk-chive dressing make this Cooking Light recipe the perfect quick-meal contender.