It’s about time for salads to shake their wilted reputation. For too long, these vibrant and versatile meals have been thought of as boring or insufficient, and these unfair adjectives have let imposters step in to fill the void: Think of dull leaves and thick dressings that have been haphazardly tossed together in a bowl as an afterthought. No wonder salads are so hard to eat regularly—they’re often done so incorrectly.
That’s why these 12 green salad recipes are so refreshing. They take the common image of a sad desk lunch and spin it into something that this diet staple should be: textured, flavorful, and tough to put down. Thanks to the likes of spring peas, avocado slices, and grilled corn, these recipes prove how much personality can be packed into a green salad. Trust us: It’s only a matter of time until the reputation of salads is restored.
The Simple Cobb Salad
Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest likes to make “loaded salads,” and this version of a cobb salad fits that description. Aside from fresh mixed greens, she piles on chicken breasts, thick slices of bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced avocados, and hard-boiled eggs.
The Cucumber Salad
All it takes to make this green salad recipe from The Modern Proper is some standard knife skills. Slice one large cucumber and red onion, and then chop parsley, dill, and mint. Then toss in a can of chickpeas and whip together a tangy Greek yogurt dressing—done.
The Kale Watermelon Salad
Watermelon is a surprisingly tasty salad addition, and this kale salad recipe from Hello Glow proves it. Cubes of the fruit are tossed in with curly kale, avocado, onion, mint, and roasted seeds, lending a cool and juicy texture to the bowl. A pinch of sea salt, pepper, and olive oil round out those flavors.
The Broccoli Cashew Salad
When you’re looking to make a salad with an easy twist, turn to this broccoli cashew dish from Food Faith Fitness. Instead of standard green leaves for a base, Taylor Kaiser uses broccoli florets as the main ingredient and mixes them in with dried cranberries, bacon, sunflower seeds, and roasted cashews. It’s a hearty meal that doesn’t shy away from a crunch.
The Spring Pea and Carrot Salad
Once again, Half Baked Harvest makes the case for loaded green salads, and this one is all about balancing ribbons of carrots and fresh snap peas with ciabatta, feta cheese, and garlic. The carrot top pesto dressing adds a richness to those ingredients, and it’s made with fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, and grated parmesan.
The Asian Chopped Salad
Consider making this chopped Asian salad from Le Creme de la Crumb when you need a light but filling dinner. It’s made with either chopped romaine or mixed leaves, carrots, cranberries, snap peas, and cucumbers that are mixed with a teriyaki dressing.
The Citrus Kale Salad
If you remember one thing from this recipe from Root and Revel, it’s that salads can benefit from maple-flavored granola. This citrus salad is tossed with baby kale, diced pancetta, and sliced grapefruit, and then dressed with a vinaigrette featuring pancetta grease.
The Avocado Mango Chicken Salad
The namesake ingredients of this avocado mango chicken salad recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats make for an ideal alfresco meal, and they’re mixed with baby spinach, almonds, and blueberries too. Don’t forget the crumbled goat cheese, either, since it pairs perfectly with the grilled chicken.
The Grilled Corn Salad Jalapeno Dressing
Joyful Healthy Eats also uses a grill to whip up this salad, and in this case, it’s needed to char the corn on all sides before removing the kernels and mixing them into greens, roasted red peppers, and goat cheese. The jalapeno dressing adds a hint of spiciness at the end.
The Spring Cobb Salad
Who says a green salad can’t be a showstopper on the buffet line? Make this Spring cobb salad from The Modern Proper for a party, and everyone will love that it features crispy pancetta, salted sunflower seeds, fresh asparagus, and crumbled goat cheese. You won’t mind having the leftovers either.
See more yummy salads:
These 5 Vibrant Spring Salads Are a Feast for the Senses
13 Spring Salad Recipes That Don’t Taste Like You’re on a Detox
The Purple Power Salad We’re Making for Lunch (and Why You Should Too)