I can’t tell you how many times people say to me, “I am so bored with salad, I can’t eat it for lunch anymore!” If your idea of a salad is lettuce, tomatoes and grilled chicken, read on for six simple and nutritious ways to upgrade your lunchtime salad.
Switch out your greens
Yes, kale is good for you, but so are other leafy greens. Switch up your lettuce for a subtle change in flavor. Try peppery arugula, sweet pea shoots, microgreens, hearty collard greens, or shredded brussel sprouts.
Mix up the textures
Satisfying salads come from combining a variety of flavors, textures and colors. Try using multiple kinds of lettuce or toss in a half-cup of hearty whole grains. Crunchy nuts and seeds can add a nice texture, as can fresh or dried fruit, hummus and creamy avocado.
Change your base
Just because it is a salad doesn’t mean you have to use lettuce. Use a different base, like spiralized zucchini or carrots, whole grains like farro or barley, or chunks of roasted sweet potatoes. Try these lettuce-less salad recipes.
Use fresh herbs and spices
One thing most people overlook when it comes to salads: herbs and spices. Fresh herbs like dill, mint, parsley or tarragon can add a delicious burst of flavor and aroma to your salad. Or try tossing cooked veggies with dried spices like turmeric or paprika to add a smoky kick to your salad.
Add a different type of crunch
Make your salad more interesting by swapping out those boring old croutons for a different crunch food. Dehydrated fruit like banana chips are a fun addition, or try a variety of nuts and seeds – sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts and more. Pomegranate arils also add a sweet crunch, along with a serving of fruit.
Toss in some fruit
Salads aren’t just a good way to get in veggies – fruit can be featured as well. Not only will it add a natural sweetness, but it will provide a different texture and color, along with some added fiber. Try using diced apples, sliced peaches or plums, clementine or orange sections, and berries like strawberries or blueberries.
Get creative with your protein
Grilled chicken is great and all, but it can be a recipe for lunchtime boredom. Try alternative protein sources like canned salmon, meatballs (microwave a frozen version), falafel, hummus, canned beans or cooked lentils. You can even add a dollop of cottage cheese or Greek yogurt to the top of your salad for an extra boost of protein.
Get inspired by these creative salad recipes:
- Hearty Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad by Kathryne Taylor from Cookie & Kate
- Mexican Caesar Salad with Pan Seared Flank Steak, Avocado, and Pumpkin Seeds by E.A. Stewart from Spicy RD Nutrition
- Citrus Arugula Salad with Maple Vinaigrette by Lauren Blake from Whole Living Lauren
- Summer Power Salad with Chia Dressing by Kara Lydon from The Foodie Dietitian
- French Lentil Salad with Spinach and Feta Cheese by Sara Haas from Sara Haas RDN
- Green Goddess Salad with Chili Infused Olive Oil by Elizabeth Shaw from Shaw’s Simple Swaps
- Beet, Apple and Walnut Salad by Emily Kyle from Emily Kyle Nutrition
- Massaged Kale Salad with Sesame Lime Dressing by Cara Harbstreet from Street Smart Nutrition
- Winter Bean Salad with Herb Lemon Dressing by Carlene Thomas from Healthfully Ever After
- Sumac, Coconut, and Tomato Watermelon Salad by Jess G. from Luvo
Share your best salad recipes and tips in the comments section! We’d love to know.
Did you enjoy this post? Stay in the know with more nutrition tips, and exclusive promo offers — join our newsletter.