Salads don’t need to be exhausting and they unquestionably have more potential than just heaps of lettuce and mixed greens. There are a lot of ways to approach a salad and include nearly anything (significantly lobster).
These 10 recipes will change the way you think about salads. You’re not going to want to skip the first course when these salads are on the menu.
Roasted cauliflower with cashew, tahini, and honey-garlic dressing
The honey-garlic dressing balances perfectly with the nuttiness of the cashews and tahini — Photo courtesy of The Food Channel
Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable. You can rice it, use it as a gluten replacement and even batter and fry it to make a “buffalo” bite. But the classic way to enjoy cauliflower is to roast it. This salad puts the cauliflower center stage, with complementary ingredients that make this antioxidant-rich vegetable sweet and nutty.
Get the recipe: Roasted cauliflower with cashew, tahini and honey-garlic dressing »
Kale, quinoa and golden beet salad with maple mustard dressing
Golden beets add more than just color – they add the sweetness that makes this salad shine — Photo courtesy of The Food Channel
Kale has been all the rage in the produce section for the past few years, and it’s no surprise why. This leafy green is packed with Vitamins A, C and K. Pair it with quinoa, a protein and fiber-rich grain, and you’ve got a balanced and nutritious meal. The golden beets and maple mustard salad dressing add some vibrant color, but they also add a sweet and tangy flavor to this salad.
Get the recipe: Kale, quinoa and golden beet salad with maple mustard dressing »
Prosciutto and fruit salad
Do like the Italians do and add a little prosciutto to your fruit — Photo courtesy of The Food Channel
Fruit salads are a summer classic, bringing together all of the sweet delights that nature’s bounty has to offer. It may seem out of left field to add prosciutto, a salty cured meat, to a melody of sweets, but there’s a reason why Italians traditionally pair prosciutto with apples and pears. The saltiness of the delicate meat brings out the bold flavors of fruits and greens.
Get the recipe: Prosciutto and fruit salad »
Lobster Cobb salad
This salad is sure to fill you up! — Photo courtesy of The Food Channel
This may not be the healthiest salad, but it’s a hearty one! This recipe kicks the Cobb salad up a notch with a heaping helping of lobster. It also calls for bacon, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, avocados and blue cheese all served on crisp lettuce. You won’t walk away from this dish hungry!
Get the recipe: Lobster Cobb salad »
Italian pasta salad
This pasta salad is so much more than a side — Photo courtesy of The Food Channel
Pasta salad can really be hit or miss. It’s either too bland or it’s too wet with dressing or mayonnaise. But this recipe is done right making it an exciting side to any meal. Fresh grape tomatoes and spinach bring crispness to the salad while the mozzarella and parmesan cheese add flavor and richness. It’s a cold pasta dish that will have you coming back for seconds!
Get the recipe: Italian pasta salad »
Strawberry-watermelon pesto chicken salad
The sweetness of the fruit is an unlikely pairing with the pesto — Photo courtesy of Reluctant Entertainer
Chicken is one of salad’s favorite toppings, but in this dish, the poultry is competing for your taste buds’ attention. The acidity of the strawberries and the pieces of watermelon bring out the herbaceous flavor of the pesto in this salad. And the lettuce adds a much-needed crunch to this flavorful combo.
Get the recipe: Strawberry-watermelon pesto chicken salad »
Kale and quinoa salad
Kale and quinoa, two trendy ingredients, come together to make a delicious and nutritious salad — Photo courtesy of The Food Channel
Aside from being a hearty green, there’s a reason that kale is the preferred lettuce of a lot of salad recipes. It’s nutrient-rich, and when combined with quinoa, you’ve got a high-powered, protein-rich salad. This meal is packed with fiber, iron calcium and a lot of antioxidants.
Get the recipe: Kale and quinoa salad »
Avocado citrus salad
You’ll never want to eat avocados without citrus again — Photo courtesy of The Food Channel
Avocado is one of the trendiest ingredients at the moment. This humble fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) has an entire restaurant and even museum dedicated to it. Avocados have a buttery texture and subtle flavor, but add a little citrus and the avocado begins to pop. This salad is the meeting between two unlikely worlds, but it works so well when combined on the plate.
Get the recipe: Avocado citrus salad »
Japanese superfood salad
This detox salad will save you from bloating and hangovers — Photo courtesy of The Food Channel
Need to recover from a day of eating and drinking decadently? This detox salad might be what you need. This recipe is loaded with five varieties of leafy greens, herbs, cucumbers, grains and nuts. The citrus honey dressing gives all of these healthy ingredients an extra dose of flavor. You’ll feel lighter after eating this salad.
Get the recipe: Japanese superfood salad »
Beet and goat cheese salad
The textures and flavors in this salad are on point — Photo courtesy of The Food Channel
The addition of goat cheese brings in a level of sweetness that you never knew salad needed. Paired with the mild tartness of the beets and the nutty crunch of the walnuts, you’ve got a flavorful and satiating meal of a salad. Once you’ve tried it, it’s hard to go back to eating salads without this trio of texture and flavor!
Get the recipe: beet and goat cheese salad »