Main Course Salads
Contrary to what you may think, salads can be a hearty and filling dinner option, especially when you're in a rush or want to stay healthy. By adding some protein and plenty of vegetables, you can enjoy a delicious salad and still be satisfied.
Making your salad hearty
Protein, protein, protein
Packing your salad with protein will instantly make it more filling and keep your stomach satisfied. If you're adding animal protein, keep it lean (chicken or turkey breast, canned tuna, salmon, etc.) to keep the fat and calories down. But, instead of using animal protein, you can add vegetable protein, like tofu, black beans, kidney beans, lentils or garbanzo beans. Hard-boiled eggs and some cheeses also are good sources of protein (but cheese can quickly add fat and calories, so go with a low-fat version or use it sparingly).
Load up on fruits & veggies
Instead of just using lettuce in your salad, add lots of fresh fruit and vegetables to add bulk and flavor (so you won't want as much dressing). Strawberry, apple and pear slices, or a sprinkling of blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate seeds or raisins add a hint of sweetness. Spinach is a good addition to your salad, as is grilled eggplant, carrots, beets, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, avocadoes or even roasted potatoes.
Giving your salad a lot of texture will help you feel more satisfied because you will feel like you ate a variety of courses. Add some nuts for crunchiness (and bonus: nuts are healthy and full of protein), apples for that fresh, crisp taste or avocado for the smoothness. Also, a small amount of whole wheat pasta or brown rice will add another layer of texture and flavor and fill you up even more.
Add what you have
One of our favorite salad recipes is just adding whatever we have leftover in the refrigerator or pantry. It could be steak from last night's dinner, olives from that martini or sunflower seeds from a hiking trip. By using what you have on hand, you don't have to worry about food shopping for ingredients or feeling tied to a specific recipe (also you get to clean out your refrigerator and use what may be getting old).
Salmon & citrus salad recipe
Up next: Two more hearty, healthy dinner salads >>