9 Fresh Salads You Can Make Without Romaine
It's no secret—I am a salad fiend. Salad is such a staple in my diet that I've even worked it into breakfast. I'll admit that I often reach for a fresh bowl of greens before a plate of hot veggies. Why? I love nothing more than the cool, crisp, and hydrating profile of a nutrient-packed salad.
I think it's safe to say that every self-proclaimed salad guru relies heavily on one of the most versatile greens in the supermarket—romaine. After all, it's easy to prep in big batches, and the moisture-packed green holds up well when you need to take lunch to go. But sometimes you either can't get romaine (like when an E. coli outbreak causes the FDA to recommend a blanket ban) or you're just feeling in a rut.
But the truth is that a lot of greens can be just as refreshing.
When I'm feeling like I need to take a break from my favorite green, I whip up the following lush and vibrant salad blends instead:
1) Cabbage Salad With Miso Vinaigrette
Cabbage isn't only for slaws! This cruciferous green can be a great substitute for romaine as it lends itself to flavor profiles that you don't often pair with the leafy green—like this Asian-inspired umami vinaigrette.
Get Recipe: Cabbage Salad With Miso Vinaigrette
2) Avocado Chicken Salad With Kale
Yes, kale is definitely more intensive to work with and might not be as simple to use as romaine. But the effort pays off when you pair this nutrient-rich green with the creamy, smooth flavor of fresh avocado and a punch of protein with pulled chicken.
Get Recipe: Avocado Chicken Salad With Kale
3) Chicken BLT Salad
I can't get too far into this list without proclaiming my love for a fresh head of iceberg lettuce, which is probably the closest you'll ever get to romaine. There's the classic crunch in each hydrating bite, and like romaine, you can easily pair iceberg lettuce with many of your favorite salad toppings to truly make the bowl feel like a meal of its own.
Get Recipe: Chicken BLT Salad
4) Steak Salad With Salsa Verde Vinaigrette
The peppery profile of fresh arugula might be overwhelming for some home cooks, but it lends itself perfectly to a freshly grilled sirloin steak, and this dish comes together with a punch of flavor from a three-ingredient dressing of your dreams.
Get Recipe: Steak Salad With Salsa Verde Vinaigrette
5) Tahini Chicken With Bok Choy and Mango Salad
Tahini is another vehicle for getting yourself out of a salad rut. But when it's paired with the zesty, citrus-packed punch of mango in this salad, it takes a bed of bok choy to new heights.
Get Recipe: Tahini Chicken With Bok Choy and Mango Salad
6) Spring Salad With Herbed Goat Cheese
Especially in the warmer months, there are a slew of fresh herbs that we can add to seasonal salad bowls—like how this outrageously flavorful blend calls on fresh mint to complement the richness of goat cheese.
Get Recipe: Spring Salad With Herbed Goat Cheese
7) Chickpea Spinach Salad
A classic spinach salad is a simple staple that every home cook can appreciate—but when you're looking for a new take on this dinner go-to, try adding the crunch of roasted chickpeas. If you toss leftovers like chicken to the mix, a full meal can be ready in just 10 minutes.
Get Recipe: Chickpea Spinach Salad
8) Celery Salad With Celery Seed Vinaigrette
You can create an outstanding salad by thinking outside of the box—peel away the outermost layer of a celery stalk and enjoy their most nutritious fibers. Add parsley, a generous dash of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a splash of lemon juice to finish.
Get Recipe: Celery Salad With Celery Seed Vinaigrette
9) Radish, White Bean, and Olive Salad
Maybe you're in a salad rut because, well, you're in a lettuce rut?! If that's the case, you can make a whole slew of salads that don't rely on any greens at all—like this 120-calorie blend of fresh veggies, beans, and citrusy acids to tie it all together.
Get Recipe: Radish, White Bean, and Olive Salad