My favorite weeknight meals are great dinner salads. I’ve recently gone back to work full-time to help pay off the farm renovations. So now that I’m gainfully employed AND still have daily farm chores, I appreciate a healthy meal that’s:
- ready in 30 minutes or less
- not so heavy I feel like collapsing on the couch for the rest of the evening
- makes enough to have leftovers to take for lunch the next day
If those sound like reasons that appeal to you and your lifestyle, here are 8 great dinner salads to work into your menu planning.
I recommended this salad in a previous post on meals to make and take to others who might have a new baby or recovering from surgery. But you also want to make this one for yourself. As Lisa from Tiny Kitchen Capers admits, “It’s the dressing that really makes the salad.” And she’s not wrong. The chipotle lime dressing is a flavor bomb that also makes a great dip for tortilla chips or celery sticks.
If you’ve never been to a Portillo’s in the Chicago area, you need to add it to your bucket list. Since we have family and friends in the area, I always make it a point to lunch at Portillo’s and get this salad. (And their chocolate cake!) This copycat recipe by The Galley Gourmet nails it perfectly.
If there’s one thing we have plenty of, it’s eggs. Our five chickens each produce an egg nearly every day. As you can imagine, Gary and I are swimming in eggs and always looking for new ways to prepare and serve them. So thank you, thank you, Adrianne, at Sweet Carmel Sunday for this unique salad (not a leaf of lettuce in it) that has eggs – and bacon!
When your taste buds want a bright Asian flavor, this Panera-inspired salad from Marzia at Little Spice Jar delivers. The mandarin oranges and chow mein noodles amp up the flavor and texture. And you already know something magical happens whenever you mix garlic, ginger paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil.
My favorite Asian comfort dish is Chicken Pad Thai. I could eat my weight in it. This salad from Samantha at Five Heart Home gives that same comfort flavor – peanut sauce – in a much healthier way. On a bed of cabbage instead of rice noodles. If you like Chicken Pad Thai like I do, you’ll love this salad that’s the next best thing.
Now here’s one you I’ll bet you didn’t see coming – hot salad. This potato-based dinner salad is from Aberdeen at Aberdeen’s Kitchen. I think she’s on to a great idea. It’s meatless (= budget friendly) but hunger-satisfying. And it’s got cumin – which delights me just pulling it from my spice cabinet. To speed up the cooking time and still make this salad in 30 minutes, I’d use the Instant Pot instead of the oven.
This tasty salad from Jen at Carlsbad Cravings will satisfy the hearty appetite of any farmer or city slicker. And it’s great for next-day lunch leftovers – provided, as Jen notes, you reserve the bacon and add it when you have your leftovers so it’s not soggy. As a bonus, when you visit this post at her site, you’ll find another trove of yummy salads she’s concocted.
Lindsay at Cotter Crunch is a nutrition specialist and your arteries will unclog just reading her recipe for this salad packed with all things good for you – even the fats. And really – raspberries and zucchini! Can’t wait to try this one myself. I may not be able to grow corn to save my life, but zucchini pours out of my summer garden.
I hope you’ll find inspiration for an upcoming weeknight meal with these great dinner salads. Enjoy!