21 Lunch and Dinner Salads That Are Seriously Filling
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.
Tortellini, Chicken, and Arugula Salad
Quality meets convenience in this speedy springtime main. This salad fits right into your weekday lineup with minimal effort and maximum flavor. Prewashed greens let you grab a handful and go. Build a salad, wilt into sautés, or blend into a pesto. Look to Buitoni pasta packs for quick meals on their own or to help you elevate salads and soups. Rotisserie chicken is one of your best supermarket allies for fast and fresh weeknight meals.
Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad
Simple and bright, this is the kind of main that puts us in the mood for spring. If you’ve never thrown fresh lemons on the grill, try it: The slight edge of char intensifies their tartness, and they look gorgeous. The marinade is more of a wet rub since the chicken goes straight to the grill, though you could refrigerate up to a day ahead. This salad is endlessly adaptable for spring and summer vegetables: Try shaved carrot and summer squash ribbons, haricots verts, or even just a shower of fresh herbs.
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.
Caesar-Crusted Chicken Salad
Deconstructing a familiar classic is always fun. Here, the anchovy and Parmesan dressing becomes a rub for grilled chicken and the crunch comes from a crisp panko crust instead of croutons. The anchovy adds a briny, savory depth to the chicken that isn’t fishy, but you can omit for a version that’s more kid-friendly. Instead of shredded lettuce, we grill romaine hearts whole for more of a centerpiece, knife-and-fork feel. Most grill pans are made of cast-iron and are oven-safe. If yours is not, or your pan is missing a handle, use a cast-iron skillet instead.
Shrimp With Grilled Citrus and Leek Relish
Drew Curren, chef-partner of Elm Restaurant Group in Austin, cooks both the shrimp and the relish on a grill at his Texas restaurant. If the weather is mild enough for you to grill, live-fire cooking makes this dish even more delicious, adding a hint of smoky flavor. Roll the citrus between your palm and the cutting board before slicing and juicing—it crushes the pulp a little and makes it easier to extract juice. The 16-20 count for shrimp refers to how many shrimp make a pound, which is helpful since the designations “medium,” “large,” and “extra-large” can vary from market to market. A quality, fruity, and grassy olive oil is best here to bring a touch of velvety richness to the dressing.
Winter Salad with Easy Herbed Pork Tenderloin
Kale and spinach provide a hearty salad base for herb-seasoned pork tenderloin, tangy feta, sweet grapes, and a bright olive oil dressing. If packing your lunch for the office, assemble greens, cheese, and grapes in a large plastic container. When ready to heat, add warmed pork and dressing, and shake salad with top on to evenly distribute dressing and ingredients. Dairy-free option: Use 2 teaspoons toasted chopped walnuts instead of feta cheese.
Black and Blue Steak Salad
The black and blue salad, a combination of spice-rubbed, blackened chicken or steak and crumbled blue cheese, is a staple of the American gastropub menu. Unfortunately, the “salad” interpretation is a bit loose—the lettuce merely a bed for a Flinstone-sized protein serving, the butter-yellow croutons, tons of cheese, and creamy dressing blanketing all. We kept the chargrilled steak, blue cheese, and crisp croutons you love, then topped off with good-for-you avocado and a vinaigrette that complements the vegetables rather than disguise them. A little meat goes a long way: just 12 ounces is plenty to serve 4.
Sweet Potato Medallions with Almond Sauce and Chickpea Salad
It may seem too good to be true, but it's not: This impressive plate requires only 5 ingredients (water, oil, salt, and pepper are freebies). Microwaved sweet potatoes are sliced into medallions, brushed with oil, and lightly seared so they become satisfyingly steak-like. The creamy, nutty sauce adds richness, and the lemon-dressed arugula-chickpea salad bulks up the plate beautifully. In place of almond butter, you can use any nut butter you like—try peanut, cashew, or sunflower butter. And if canned chickpeas aren't in your pantry, try cannellini or navy beans.
Baby Kale, Butternut, and Chicken Salad
Precut vegetables, rotisserie chicken, and chopped pecans save time when throwing together a quick lunch before school or work. A homemade dressing of molasses, olive oil, cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard keeps added sugar and calories in check. One of the healthiest and nutritious vegetables, butternut squash is full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Bake butternut squash in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Keep a batch on hand for a side, soup, or hash stir-in. Our Top-Rated Butternut Squash recipes give you plenty of dishes where this fall vegetable shines.
Greek Farro and Chickpea Salad
Farro is a quick-cooking, rich, and nutty grain, often found in Italian and Mediterranean dishes as an alternative to rice, barley, couscous, and quinoa. Packed with fiber, protein, and nutrients like Vitamin B3, farro’s satisfying chewy texture will have you falling head-over-heels in no time. Chickpeas are a delicious low-fat, plant-based protein option that's filled with fiber. Be sure to opt for the unsalted canned chickpeas to lower sodium. For Sunday prep, omit the arugula and make enough farro mixture for the week. Stir in the greens just before you head out the door. Try our Whole-Grain Salads for more make-ahead, quick-to-serve lunches and dinners.
Kale, Apple, and Almond Chicken Salad
Let kale become you all-purpose green. It’s tender enough for salad and sturdy enough for wilting and blending, with zero prep. Crisp, sweet-tart apple varieties (Fuji, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady) add freshness and crunch—or a juicy, sweet contrast to seared or roasted meats. Vastly underrated skinless, boneless thighs are rich and moist, perfect for stewing, grilling, or searing. Herb, lemon, and garlic vinaigrette doubles as the marinade for the chicken. This is the salad you are going to want to be packing for your lunch everyday.
California Steak Salad
This salad is ideal for cold grilled steak, as reheating may overcook the meat or cause the basil and arugula to wilt. Grilling the red onion adds another layer of char and a bit of sweetness to counter the tartness of the vinaigrette.
Grilled Vegetable and Flank Steak Salad With Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
If you don't love blue cheese, try crumbled feta or grated Parmesan instead.
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.
Grilled Balsamic Chicken Salad With Spiced Pecans
You'll want to double the sweet and spicy sautéed pecans for snacking during the week. Sub fresh summer fruit like blueberries or nectarines for the raspberries. Grill the chicken and make the spiced pecans in advance. Change up the greens, fruit, and dressing for fast lunches.
Packable Power Salads
Veggie Salad in a Jar
Layer a colorful salad in portable glass jars. Kids will give it a thumbs-up. Make these salads up to a day ahead; pack them tightly with the dressing on the bottom, followed by denser ingredients that won't get soggy while they marinate. Customize with your favorite seasonal veggies, fresh cheeses, and whole grains. These make great additions to lunch bags, picnic baskets, or road trip coolers and can easily double if you need lunch for 4 people.
Flank Steak Panzanella Salad
This salad is even better at room temperature once the bread has absorbed some of the dressing. Swap the steak for chicken or shrimp, or omit for a side salad.
Vietnamese Pork Salad
Think of this impressive salad as a deconstructed version of a spring roll. Rice noodles cook in just 2 minutes; be sure to drain and rinse promptly with cold water so they don't overcook.
Strawberry-Chicken Salad With Pecans
This main-dish salad features juicy strawberries at their seasonal peak.