Filling low carb salads

Mar 21, 2010 at 7:51 p.m. ET

A bowl of iceberg lettuce, a few cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of oil may be low in carbs, but it is hardly satisfying and it is certainly not a side dish you get excited to eat. With all the flavorful spring greens arriving at your local farmers' market and grocer's produce aisle as well as the scrumptious selection of salad-ready low carb ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen or on your shopping list, you can have a near endless array of appetizing entrée salads and side salads that will get your mouth watering well before you take a bite. Here are just a few filling low carb salads to dig your fork into this spring and summer.

Sesame Chicken Salad

Satisfying low carb salad recipes

Warm Kale, Bacon and Walnut Salad

Serves 6

A warm, flavorful salad delivers belly-filling satisfaction on a rainy, cold spring day. Enjoy as a light lunch or serve it as a low carb side for dinner. For variety, substitute quick-cooking escarole or hardy chard.

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 thick-cut bacon slices
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large bunch of kale, stalks trimmed, leaves torn or coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, toast walnuts, stirring often, just until fragrant. Remove walnuts and set them aside to cool.

2. Add bacon to the Dutch oven and cook, turning occasionally, until bacon is crisp. Use tongs to transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. When cool enough to handle, crumble bacon.

3. Drain all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the Dutch oven and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until softened. Add kale and cook, stirring often, until kale is wilted and tender.

4. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes then transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with walnuts and bacon. Serve warm.

Sesame Chicken Salad

Serves 4

If chicken salads have you yawning, this low carb rendition will be a refreshing change. Toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds and a crisp medley of spring greens give convenient rotisserie chicken a delectable contrast of tastes and textures.

Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon very finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon very finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons sugar-free orange marmalade
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 cups mesclun or baby greens
2 cups finely shredded napa cabbage
1 large carrot, grated
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
3 to 4 cups diced rotisserie chicken (without skin)
3 to 4 tablespoons black sesame seeds

1. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice and zest, garlic sauce, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, marmalade and sesame oil.

2. Add greens, cabbage, carrot and mint to the bowl and toss to coat. Divide greens among 4 salad bowls or plates. Evenly drizzle with any dressing in the bottom of the bowl.

3. Top salads with chicken and garnish with sesame seeds.

Grilled Salmon Salad

Serves 4

4 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless salmon fillets
Olive oil for rubbing fish and for salad dressing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Juice of 1 small orange
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
6 cups arugula
Handful of red grapes, halved
4 tablespoons shelled sunflower seeds

1. Preheat grill to medium high. Generously rub both sides of salmon fillets with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Grill salmon for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until just cooked through and fish flakes when pressed with the back of a fork.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together mustard, agave, orange juice and zest. While whisking, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add arugula to the bowl and toss to coat.

4. Divide arugula among 4 salad plates. Top each salad with a salmon fillet. Garnish with grapes and sunflower seeds. Drizzle with any additional dressing in the bottom of the bowl.

More low carb recipes for spring and summer