18 Satisfying Dinner Salad Recipes

salad-nicoise
Nicoise Salad. Getty

When there's a bounty of fresh veggies on hand, nothing beats a big salad for dinner. But just because it's called a salad doesn't mean it has to leave you looking for a snack an hour later. These salads are hearty, healthy, and ultra flavorful so will satisfy without weighing you down.

  • 01 of 18

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

    B2-Flickr-CC BY-ND 2.0

     

    Adding rich and creamy roasted sweet potatoes to your salad will make it go the distance. This version comes from New Zealand and also features feta cheese for a sharp bite, pine nuts for crunch, and peppery radishes. Use any kind of nuts you like, if pine nuts don't strike your fancy. An easy balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzle brings it all together.

  • 02 of 18

    Japanese Salmon Skin Salad

    Mixed Baby Greens with Grilled Salmon Skin and Citrus Soy Dressing
    Japanese Salmon Skin Salad. © Photo Credit: Judy Ung

    Salmon is rich in omega-3's and healthy fats, so the addition of crispy salmon skin on top of this fresh salad makes it substantial enough for a meal. You'll find this unique salad on many Japanese restaurant menus, but it's easy to make at home. When purchasing salmon, make sure you get the kind with the skin intact. You can also use packaged spring mix, so it comes together quickly.

  • 03 of 18

    Honey Mustard Salmon Salad

    Honey Mustard Salmon Salad
    Honey Mustard Salmon Salad. Linda Larsen

    Not every salad needs to be greens-based. This dinner-worthy salad is the perfect spring or summer meal, made with creamy honey mustard, chunks of avocado, al dente pasta, and flaky salmon. This is a great make-ahead salad, as the flavors get to know each other over a few hours. Just add the avocados right before serving, so they don't brown.

  • 04 of 18

    Grilled Chicken and Portobello Mushroom Salad

    Grilled Chicken and Portobello Mushroom Salad

    Foodcollection RF/Getty Images

     

    Boneless, skinless chicken breasts top off this satisfying salad which also features meaty portobello mushrooms and a luscious sour cream dressing. Grill the chicken breasts outdoors or on the stovetop for that smoky flavor, or pick up a rotisserie chicken for an even quicker supper.

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  • 05 of 18

    Chopped Salad with Ham

    Michelle Tran / EyeEm

    Chopped salads are popular for good reason. Dicing the ingredients to the same size helps mix them evenly, so you don't end up with all of the good stuff sinking to the bottom of the bowl. This giant salad with ham radish, lettuce, pepper, roasted nuts, chickpeas, and cheese also lends itself well to experimentation. Add other veggies or subtract the ones you don't like, for your perfect meal.

  • 06 of 18

    Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

    spinach salad with warm bacon dressing
    A warm bacon dressing flavors this classic spinach salad. Diana Rattray

    A warm bacon dressing gives this wilted spinach salad a meaty flavor that makes it feel like a complete meal. Extra crumbled bacon, perfectly hardboiled eggs, and peppery radishes bring it all together. Add sliced mushrooms, dried cranberries or raisins, chopped nuts, or a little cheese for extra oomph if you're feeling creative.

  • 07 of 18

    Classic Cobb Salad

    Cobb Salad
    sbrogan / Getty Images

    It doesn't get much more American than a lovely striped Cobb salad. Line up diced bacon, seasoned chicken, avocado, hardboiled egg, and tomatoes all on top of shredded Romaine lettuce in pretty lines for a presentation that's restaurant-worthy. If you're feeling creative, mix up the ingredients to suit your favorites. You may not even be able to finish it all!

  • 08 of 18

    Seven-Layer Salad

    Seven Layer Salad
    Layered Salad. James Baigrie/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    A classic layered salad you might remember from cookouts of yore, this supper is packed full of bacon, cheese, veggies, and a mayonnaise dressing that's creamy and rich enough to coat every leaf of lettuce. If you have one, serve it in a large, glass bowl so you can see all of the layers. It's perfect for a party or as a light and easy meal any time.

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  • 09 of 18

    Ensalada Mixta

    Spanish Salad (Ensalada Mixta)

    Photo by Rick Lew/Photodisc/Getty Images

    A mixed green salad or ensalada mixta almost always makes an appearance on Spanish tables, but you'll recognize the elements from American menus, too. The addition of flaky tuna brings it from an appetizer standard to a full meal that's especially good when the temperatures start to rise.

  • 10 of 18

    Classic Greek Salad

    Greek salad
    Image Source / Getty Images

    Get a salty, high-quality feta cheese for this simple, classic Greek salad that's tasty as a starter but filling enough to make into a meal. Spring for kalamata olives for the meatiest flavor, and slice up beefsteak tomatoes if they are in season or toss in some cherry or grape tomatoes. The salad lends itself well to adding other veggies that look good at the market, but it's also perfect as written.

  • 11 of 18

    Strawberry Chicken Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

    Strawberry Chicken Salad With Champagne Vinaigrette

    Samantha Merritt

    Showcase sweet, ripe strawberries with this awesome salad that contrasts the berries with zesty red onion, creamy feta cheese, smoky grilled chicken breast, and a delicate champagne vinaigrette dressing. Toss that all together with iron-rich spinach and you've got a salad that's as pretty as it is filling.

  • 12 of 18

    Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Pomegranate

    Roasted Cauliflower Salad With Pomegranate

    Laurel Randolph

     

    When you roast cauliflower, it takes on a rich, nutty sweetness that will tempt even those who claim to hate the vegetable. This warm salad is a great way to show it off, with pomegranate seeds adding a snappy tartness, pistachios for nutty crunch, and a bright lemon and parsley dressing that keeps it all fresh and light. If you want even more protein, put some shredded chicken or sliced steak on top.

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  • 13 of 18

    Taco Salad with Sour Cream Dressing

    Taco Salad
    Taco Salad with Chips. Diana Rattray

    Switch up taco Tuesday with this fun taco salad that's like a decontructed hard-shelled taco. Garnish ground seasoned beef, refried beans, and chunky salsa with cool tomatoes and green onions for a dish that will have you feeling like dinnertime is a party. Serve it with a sour cream dressing or just basic ranch.

  • 14 of 18

    California Grilled Chicken Salad

    California Grilled Chicken Salad
    California Grilled Chicken Salad. Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    In this simple and delicious grilled chicken salad, the dressing is also the marinade. That ensures the flavors meld beautifully, and it cuts down on the ingredients you need, too. Marinate the chicken for a couple of hours before it hits the grill, to give it a delicious flavor and tender texture. Creamy avocados, salty olives, bacon, and crumbled blue cheese complete the package.

  • 15 of 18

    Soy-Glazed Tofu Salad

    Soy Glazed Tofu Salad
    Soy Glazed Tofu Salad. Katie Workman / themom100.com

    Enjoy this Thai-accented tofu salad for a protein-packed supper that vegetarians can also enjoy. Pressing the tofu first helps it brown up when pan-fried, and using firm or extra-firm tofu gives it a toothsome texture. The flavorful glaze, warm tofu, and toasted sesame seeds come together in a dinner salad that's even better than one from a fancy salad place.

  • 16 of 18

    Traditional Nicoise Salad

    salad-nicoise
    Nicoise Salad. Getty

    This elegant French nicoise salad is fancy enough for a dinner party, but easy enough for a weekday dinner. With tuna, potatoes, hard-boiled egg, and green beans, it's got a wealth of textures and flavors all tied together with an anchovy dressing. Give tasty anchovies a try, even if you think you don't care for them; they're a really flavorful element that brings an extra dimension to the dish.

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  • 17 of 18

    Mexican Chicken Salad

    Mexican chicken salad


    LauriPatterson / Getty Images

     

    Feed a crowd by putting out the ingredients for this fun, DIY Mexican chicken salad on a buffet, letting everyone assemble their own before eating. A wealth of Tex-Mex ingredients, fresh veggies, and a delicious chicken salad mixture make for a fun supper that's a little different than your usual fare. Prepare the chicken ahead of time, so the flavors can meld in the fridge for at least an hour, for best results.

  • 18 of 18

    Lobster Macaroni Salad

    Lobster and Macaroni Salad
    Lobster and Macaroni Salad. Diana Rattray

    When you get sick of lettuce, pull out all the stops and mix up this creamy, fresh, party-worthy seafood salad. With chunks of lobster instead of the traditional shrimp or tuna, this macaroni salad will impress your guests. Feel free to add extra ingredients you enjoy, but avoid strong flavors like onion or bell pepper, which could upstage the delicate richness of the lobster.