35 Healthy Salad Recipes for Weeknight Dinners

Christine Johnson

By Christine Johnson


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Salads are an endlessly customizable, versatile meal option suitable for any occasion. They serve as perfect weeknight dinners, quick snacks, and holiday side dishes.

With bases ranging from classic greens to grated carrot to creamy avocado, the best salads incorporate a bit of everything: crunchy, savory, chewy, fresh, and juicy components come together to create the perfect dish.

Plus, salads are incredibly healthy. Leafy greens and raw vegetables are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. 

These 35 healthy salad recipes make the perfect additions to any recipe collection.

1. Apple Spinach Salad

Sweet and savory ingredients mingle to form the perfect blend of flavors in this apple-spinach salad. 

Toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, and goat cheese make this the perfect salad recipe for fall, but it’s just as delicious all year round!

The dressing is flavorful and easy, made with apple cider vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard.

2. Simple Italian Salad

Perfect as a side salad or main dish, this versatile Italian salad recipe is inspired by the famous side salad from Olive Garden–but tastes even better!

Olive Garden’s salad dressing uses dozens of ingredients, including artificial ones, but this version is stripped down to the basics and is made with only 6 wholesome, natural ingredients which you probably already have in your kitchen.

3. Greek Salad

Refreshing, cooling, and nutritious, this Greek salad will be your new summer obsession.

Unlike many other salads, this recipe doesn’t use a base of greens. Instead, it uses a satisfying but light combination of cucumbers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. 

Top the salad with feta, Kalamata olives, and mint leaves for a classic Greek flavor.

4. Quinoa Salad

The nutrition-packed super-grain quinoa serves as the base for this hearty, delicious salad.

It’s allergy-friendly, too: the salad is naturally vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and more.

This recipe will soon become your go-to healthy packed lunch. It keeps well and tastes just as delicious hours after you first make it.

5. Easy Pasta Salad

Taking under 30 minutes from start to finish, this healthy pasta salad is perfect for picnics, potlucks, weeknight dinners, or if you need to use up some extra cooked pasta.

The best thing about this recipe? It’s perfect for preparing in advance.

Just make the pasta salad and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

6. Mediterranean Salmon Salad

This is no basic lettuce-and-tomatoes salad: with salmon, avocado, feta cheese, and Kalamata olives, this Mediterranean-inspired salad bursts with protein, healthy fats, and flavor.

The zesty lemon-herb marinade for the salmon also serves as a refreshing dressing for the finished salad, cutting down on prep time and doubling down on the salad’s fresh, tangy flavor.

7. Arugula Salad

The base for this salad is baby arugula: a light, airy green that goes perfectly with the blend of almonds, cranberries, and parmesan topping the dish.

Toasted almonds give this recipe a sophisticated touch. Simply bake them in the oven for 6-8 minutes for the perfect smoky, nutty flavor.

Toasted pecans or walnuts would also work perfectly in place of the almonds in this healthy arugula salad.

8. Kale Salad with Apple, Cranberries and Pecans

This kale salad positively bursts to the seams with flavor. 

Tossed in a zesty honey mustard dressing, the salad incorporates apple, radish, and pecans for the perfect crunchy texture. Cranberries and goat cheese add depth and tang.

The ingredients come together in a symphony of flavors, each component playing a unique role to create a balanced whole.

9. Easy Tomato Salad

While tomatoes often play a secondary role in other salads, this healthy tomato salad brings them to the forefront. 

The entire recipe takes only 20 minutes to make and brings out the flavor of fresh tomatoes with a simple mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil. 

Diced cucumber, mozzarella, and fresh herbs make perfect additions to this recipe.

10. Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit Salad

This easy, colorful fruit salad is perfect for kids and adults alike.

To bring out the flavors of the fruit, simply toss the salad in a simple dressing of honey, lime juice, and lime zest.

To prepare the salad in advance, chop up all the fruits and mix the dressing the day before, then combine when you’re ready to eat!

11. Classic Carrot Salad

This mildly sweet, grated carrot salad is perfect as a snack, side, or even dessert.

Better yet, the salad is made with just four components: carrots, raisins, apple, and mayonnaise.

Not a fan of mayo? Just swap in Greek yogurt, orange juice, vinaigrette, or lemon juice with honey. The salad tastes just as good with whichever option you use.

12. Everyday Cabbage Salad

A healthier version of coleslaw, this cabbage salad tastes fresh and light. 

From stews to pasta to meat, it pairs beautifully with a wide variety of main dishes.

The secret to a juicy, tender texture is letting the cabbage wilt slightly instead of using it right away. It absorbs the flavors better and is less abrasive on the mouth.

13. Easy Cucumber Salad

This cucumber salad is a refreshing side dish packed with tangy, sweet flavors.

The recipe was inspired by a German dish called Gurkensalat and works well with any main dish—or by itself as a snack.

The salad’s primary flavor comes from the generous amount of dill coating the cucumber. 

With the refreshing, herbal taste of the dill and the hydrating texture of the cucumber, the final product is light, healthy, and mouthwatering.

14. Tossed Green Salad

With crunchy sunflower seeds and chewy bacon, this salad is simple to make with a perfectly balanced texture.

The simple green salad works well as a side dish, but also as a quick, healthy lunch. 

It’s also infinitely customizable: add carrots, peppers, nuts, goat cheese, garbanzo beans, or anything else you’d like! It’s the perfect way to use up leftover ingredients in the fridge.

15. Vegan Cobb Salad

This vegan version of the classic Cobb Salad is healthier but just as delicious as the original.

The trick to a vegan substitute for eggs? Tofu. Cooking it with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and turmeric mimics an eggy texture and taste.

To substitute the bacon, use coconut bacon. This baked coconut product tastes remarkably like real bacon, making it the perfect vegan Cobb salad topping.

16. Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

This unique salad balances the strong, slightly pungent flavor of gorgonzola with mild, sweet pear.

A three-ingredient dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup accentuates the natural flavors of the cheese, fruit, and greens.

Pistachios stud the dish, adding a bit of crunch and dimension.

17. Avocado Salad

With a creamier, richer texture than most salads, this recipe uses avocados as a hearty base for this crave-worthy dish.

A zesty, sour dressing balances out the mild creaminess of the avocados.

This salad is the perfect light summer meal. To make it even more refreshing, chill the ingredients before mixing them together, and serve immediately.

18. Summer Farro Salad

This sweet-and-savory summer salad checks all the boxes: it’s vegan, nutritious, and most importantly, delicious.

The chewiness of the farro base lends a substantial, filling quality to the salad without making it too heavy.

The best part of this recipe? The blueberries tossed into the salad give it a pleasantly sweet flavor.

19. Keto Cobb Salad

This keto version of the classic Cobb salad is hearty, filling, and nutritious.

It’s substantial enough to fuel your body for hours but low in carbohydrates.

Instead of using store-bought ranch dressing, why not make a homemade keto version? It tastes better and uses only natural ingredients.

20. Cauliflower Salad

Made with raw cauliflower, romaine lettuce, red onion, and crispy bacon, this cauliflower salad is a unique dish you’ll find yourself making again and again.

Livening up the salad is an herby dressing of sweet basil and lemon.

This cauliflower salad is perfect for meal prepping: keep the ingredients and dressing in the fridge, then toss together.

21. Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad is, dare I say, the perfect side dish.

It’s easy to make, healthy, and comes together within minutes.

Delicious savory flavors like bacon and cheddar are balanced with a pop of sweetness from dried cranberries, creating the perfect mouthful.

22. Simple Lettuce Salad

This lettuce salad is basic in the best way: it’s simple, traditional, and never fails to please.

With only 6 ingredients, this recipe is quick and easy but the final product is mouthwatering.

For best results, use lettuce from the farmer’s market or, better yet, straight from the garden. Supermarket lettuce works too, but freshness is key.

23. Classic Pea Salad

This one-bowl, 15-minute recipe is a staple side dish throughout the American South and the Midwest, and for good reason.

The secret to this recipe’s tender texture and unique flavor is using frozen petite peas.

Canned peas also work, but frozen petite peas lend the salad a bit of sweetness and the perfect amount of crunch.

24. Cowboy Rice Salad

This brown rice salad is packed to the brim with nutrients and flavor.

Based on Cowboy Caviar (bean salad), this recipe coats the rice and veggies with a zesty-sweet lime vinaigrette, adding the perfect amount of sweetness.

Depending on what’s in season, customize this recipe with herbs and vegetables, or add your favorite spices to the dressing for an additional kick.

25. Corn Salad

This easy, healthy corn salad is the perfect summer recipe.

The recipe’s hack for cooling off the corn quickly before mixing it into this refreshing salad is an ice bath.

After boiling the corn, transfer it to a bowl filled with ice and water and wait a few minutes. It’ll be easier to handle and immediately delicious.

26. Mango Cucumber Salad

Tangy, sweet, crunchy, and refreshing, this mango-cucumber salad is the ultimate summer dish.

The most important step is chilling the salad. It’s delicious at room temperature too, but putting it in the refrigerator for a few hours makes it a refreshing treat.

Pro tip: scoop this salad up with crispy tortilla chips.

27. Beet Salad with Arugula and Balsamic Vinaigrette

The central pairing of beet and arugula in this easy salad recipe works perfectly and goes well with the homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Topped with toasted pecans, crumbled feta, and dried cranberries, this salad is elegant but still hearty enough to work as a main course or side dish.

28. Brown Rice Salad with Chard, Grapes, and Hazelnuts

Brown rice is the perfect salad base.

Nutty, chewy, and healthy, the grain holds enough flavor on its own while serving as the perfect base to add onto.

This recipe combines a brown-rice base with rainbow chard, toasted hazelnuts, feta cheese, and red grapes for a flavor-packed, filling salad.

29. Zucchini Salad

Paper-thin raw zucchini ribbons combined with pine nuts, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese in this easy but elegant salad.

As a final touch, the zucchini is drenched with a fresh lemon vinaigrette.

This recipe results in a visually stunning plate of food, but it tastes even better than it looks.

30. Lemon Herb Couscous Salad

This healthy salad is made with Israeli couscous, a wheat-based, pearl-shaped ingredient similar to small grains of pasta.

The trick to a deeply absorbed flavor is to add couscous to the salad while it’s still hot. The ingredients will incorporate better and the salad will be more cohesive.

For a bit of crunch, top this salad with toasted walnuts or almonds.

31. Easy Bean Salad

This incredibly easy 10-minute 3-bean salad uses chickpeas, pinto beans, and black beans, but substitute whichever bean varieties you like.

It’s important to add a little crunch to balance the beans’ creamier texture with ingredients like cucumber, bell peppers, or fennel.

This recipe keeps well, too. For up to 4 days, the ingredients marinate together and the flavors continue to develop.

32. Taco Salad

This healthy version of taco salad uses ground turkey, Greek yogurt dressing, and black beans to create a Mexican-inspired salad brimming with flavor.

Even though it’s far healthier than restaurant versions, it tastes just as good.

You can easily make this recipe gluten-free: just substitute the flour tortillas for corn tortillas.

33. Lentil Salad

Lentils are a nutritious, filling salad base. The legumes soak up flavor easily and are super affordable.

This recipe combines them with cucumber, bell pepper, onion, fresh herbs, and feta for a light, refreshing salad.

A simple dressing of olive oil and lemon is perfect drizzled over the top or tossed into the salad.

34. Light and Fluffy Grape Salad

Made with only 3 ingredients, this light grape salad is a perfect snack or dessert in times of warmer weather.

It’s incredibly simple and turns out delicious every time!

Kids and adults alike will love this creamy, airy recipe.

35. Healthy Apple Salad with Raisins and Walnuts

The ultimate sweet-and-savory salad, this balanced dish takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

Mild baby spinach combines beautifully with the apples’ sweet flavor. Add some walnuts and cheddar, and you’re left with the ideal salad for any season and any occasion.

This salad is a perfect packed lunch, holiday side dish, or main course. It’s packed with nutrition and a rainbow of colors and flavors.

Healthy salad plate with quinoa, tomatoes, chicken, avocado, lime and mixed greens (lettuce, parsley) on wooden background.
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Healthy Salad Bowl with Chicken

This healthy salad recipe features tricolor quinoa, avocado, tomato, lettuce and lean baked chicken breast. Keep it simple with salt, pepper, and a generous squeeze of lime juice, or add your favorite vinaigrette dressing for a simple, healthful, and hearty salad option for weekday dinners.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy salad, quinoa chicken salad
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 656kcal


For the Baked Chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano dried
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper ground
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

For the Salad

  • 2 cups quinoa tricolor, rinsed and well-drained
  • 2 avocados sliced
  • 3 cups lettuce chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes cut into quarters or halves
  • lime for garnish optional


For the Chicken Breast

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil.
  • Combine all the dry spices in a bowl. Coat both sides of each chicken breast with olive oil and then sprinkle with the spices.
  • Place the chicken breasts on the foil-lined baking dish and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes. Juices should run clear when poked with a fork and the center of each chicken breast should be white and opaque.
  • Remove the chicken breasts from oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days to serve as a cold salad later.

For the Salad

  • Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add quinoa and boil, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes (this can be done while the chicken is baking). When quinoa is done, drain well. Serve warm or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days to serve as a cold salad later.
  • To serve, lay the lettuce on the bottom of each serving dish. Add chicken, avocado, tomatoes, quinoa, and a slice of lime (optional) to form an attractive deconstructed salad bowl. This dish can be served warm or cold with a few splashes of your favorite vinaigrette dressing (optional)


Calories: 656kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 447mg | Potassium: 1632mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 842IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 6mg