11 Essential Salad Recipes Any Man Can Learn How to Make

In 2021, there’s no such thing as a boring salad. With so many topping options there’s no reason to feel underwhelmed when looking at leafy greens. The heartier the better and these big, bountiful bowls are filled to the brim with proteins and veggies and added levels to give the salad flavors and textures. Be it for your next weekday lunch or a fast and fresh dinner, these are 11 stunning salad recipes.

Mediterranean Bean Salad

(From The View From Great Island)

This salad is the perfect colorful and crunchy mixed bean salad. It’s packed with protein and perfect as a quick bite or a side.

Ingredients

  • 15 oz can of cannellini beans drained and well rinsed
  • 15 oz can of garbanzo beans chickpeas drained and well rinsed
  • 1 cup cherry tomato halves
  • 2 small Persian cucumbers halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (do not peel)
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup peppadew peppers rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup black olives halved
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives halved
  • 1 cup assorted colorful bell peppers diced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichokes
  • about 10 large basil leaves shredded

For Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar or more to taste
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs. I used thyme, oregano, and rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and taste to adjust. Add more vinegar if you want a tangier flavor. Set aside.
  2. Put the beans in a large salad bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss with a generous amount of the dressing.
  3. The salad will keep, well covered, for several days in the refrigerator.

The Best Greek Salad

(From All The Healthy Things)

Filled with fresh veggies, salty feta cheese, and just the right amount of herbs and spices, this easy Greek salad is the perfect weeknight dinner side dish that will take just a few minutes to make.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • 1 cup marinated artichokes, halved
  • 1/2 cup quartered English cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

For the Optional Greek Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Method

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
  2. If you are making the Greek dressing, add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse or blend until well combined.
  3. If you are using the Greek dressing, drizzle a little of the dressing over all of the salad ingredients. Use a large mixing spoon or salad tongs to toss the salad until well combined. Add more dressing to the salad if needed or if you are not using a dressing, add more salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.
  4. Serve the salad and enjoy!

Read more: Best Salad Spinners

Balsamic Steak Salad

(From Aberdeen’s Kitchen)

A 20-minute, delicious steak and salad dinner recipe with tomatoes, red onion, home grilled corn, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, gremolata, and balsamic vinaigrette. Perfect for all-season grilling!

Ingredients

For Marinade

  • 1 lb sirloin steak
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

For Salad

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ozs Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 2 heads endive lettuce, outer leaves removed, halved, and roughly chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 cups mixed spring greens
  • 1 corn on the cob, husk removed
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling corn

For Gremolata 

  • 2 tbsp basil leaves, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

For Balsamic Vinegarette

  • 3 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • Dash of salt and fresh ground black pepper

Method

  1. Marinate the steak: In a medium-size bowl, stir together ingredients for the marinade. Place steaks in a large ziplock bag. Pour marinade over the steaks, seal the bag, and shake to coat. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Make the gremolata: Combine the basil, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Preheat a cast-iron grill pan at medium-high heat or an outdoor charcoal grill. Drizzle corn on the cob with 1 tbsp olive oil and liberally sprinkle salt and pepper. Using tongs, place on the heated grill. Cook each side until grill marks form on the corn kernels and they are somewhat softened about 10 minutes total. Remove from heat when done and let cool. Slice corn kernels off the cob.
  4. Remove the steak from the fridge. Place on the grill or grill pan. Grill both sides 4-5 minutes for rare to medium-rare. Remove steak to a plate and let rest for five minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the vinaigrette.
  6. Toss together half of the vinaigrette, half of the gremolata, mixed greens, endives, tomatoes, gorgonzola, sliced corn, and red onion in a large bowl.
  7. Lay sliced steak on top of the salad. Drizzle steak and salad with gremolata and remaining vinaigrette as desired.

Big Salmon Salad

(From RecipeTin Eats)

A mighty Salmon Salad that’s as good for you as it is delicious! The combination of avocado, edamame, tomato, cucumber, and golden seared salmon drizzled with a fabulous Asian Ginger Sesame Dressing give this salad layers of flavors.

Ingredients

  • 3 – 4 salmon fillets, skinless
  • 3/4 tsp salt and pepper, each
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cucumber, sliced (or 1 English/telegraph long cucumber)
  • 1 large avocado, cut into 2/3″ pieces
  • 6 red radish, sliced
  • 5 oz leafy crisp lettuce of choice (6 big handfuls)
  • 1 cup edamame, cooked per packet 
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced on diagonal
  • 1/4 cup crispy fried shallots 

Asian Ginger Sesame Dressing

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (light or all-purpose)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar (aka rice wine vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (toasted)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
  • 1.5 tsp sugar, any type
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Method

  1. Place dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of salmon with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place salmon upside down (i.e., skin side up), cook for 3 minutes or until deep golden. Turn and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes, or until cooked to your taste. Remove onto a plate and cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Place lettuce in a large bowl. Drizzle with a bit of dressing and toss. Place lettuce in a large serving bowl (or individual plates). Top with salmon, then place tomato, cucumber, avocado, edamame, and radish in piles around it.
  5. Sprinkle with green onion and crispy shallots. Just before serving, drizzle all over with remaining dressing.

Read more: Healthiest Fish to Eat

Jerk Chicken Cobb Salad

(From The Seasoned Skillet)

This Jerk Chicken Cobb Salad is a delightfully filling, super tasty, easy-to-make salad recipe with a Jamaican twist. It’s loaded with green leaf lettuce and topped with perfectly marinated jerk chicken, sliced avocados, cherry red tomatoes, bacon, feta or blue cheese, red onions, and herbs. Add a generous drizzle of the homemade honey mustard dressing for the perfect filling lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Jerk Chicken Breast

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
  • 4 tbsp jerk seasoning marinade, see notes section
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter

Cobb Salad

  • 2 heads green leafy lettuce, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, seed removed, halved, and sliced
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese or feta, crumbled
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 5 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped

Method

  1. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, honey, red wine vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste. Continue to whisk until the dressing has emulsified.
  2. Place skinless, boneless chicken breasts that have been pounded to an even thickness in a flat dish with a cover. Add jerk chicken marinade and allow to marinate for at least an hour to preferably overnight.
  3. When ready to cook, heat olive oil in a grill pan skillet, or flat skillet. Add both chicken breasts to the hot skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes without moving them. Flip both chicken breasts over, adding another tbsp of butter to the skillet, if needed. Continue to cook the chicken for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (73°C). Time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Remove chicken breasts from skillet; set aside and keep covered.
  4. In a large salad bowl make a bed (base) with the leafy green lettuce. Arrange the chicken, avocado, cherry tomatoes, feta, eggs, bacon, and red onions over the greens and
    garnish the salad with the chopped parsley and chives. Serve with dressing separately or toss in with the salad

Shrimp Caesar Salad

(From For The Love Of Gourmet)

Take the regular Caesar to the next level by adding some char-grilled lemon garlic shrimp topped with creamy avocado slices, crunchy croutons, shaved parmesan cheese, and a soft boiled egg.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices cubed sourdough bread
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • ½ tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • 1 head romaine or green leaf lettuce, washed and chopped
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping

Dressing

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, finely chopped (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the sourdough on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt and toss with your hands to combine. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the shrimp. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan. Add shrimp, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cook until pink and no longer translucent, flipping over to cook on both sides evenly.
  3. To make the dressing, whisk together mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and chopped jalapeno (if using).
  4. To assemble the salad, place lettuce in a large bowl and toss with about half the dressing. Add more dressing as needed. Add shrimp and croutons and give a toss to combine. Serve immediately topped with Parmesan cheese.

Southwest Tofu Salad

(From Hell Yes It’s Vegan)

This Southwest salad with tofu and chipotle ranch dressing is super filling and is packed with delicious ingredients like crispy seasoned tofu, black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, for a healthy but hearty meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 package super firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ packet taco seasoning
  • 1 lb spring mix
  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 4 scallions (chopped)
  • 2 ears corn (kernels shaved off)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 avocado (sliced)
  • ½ cup cilantro (chopped)
  • ½ cup chipotle ranch dressing (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice tofu into ½ inch cubes. Add to a bowl and gently toss with olive oil, taco seasoning, and corn starch.
  2. Spread tofu out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 40 minutes (or until golden brown) flipping halfway through.
  3. Assemble your southwest salad with tofu. In a large bowl add the greens, tomatoes, scallions, avocado, black beans, corn, and cilantro.
  4. Top with spiced tofu nuggets and dress with chipotle ranch dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Kale Apple Goat Cheese Salad

(From The Modern Proper)

This colorful, healthy kale salad recipe is loaded with crisp apples, goat cheese, and pumpkin seeds, then tossed with creamy apple cider vinegar dressing for a light and refreshing take on the regular kale salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 Bunches of Italian kale, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Creamy apple cider dressing (or more to taste)
  • 2 Sweetango apples, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 oz Goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin seed clusters

Creamy Apple Cider Dressing

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Method

  1. In a small bowl toss all ingredients for the pumpkin seed clusters together. Set a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the mixture. Heat, tossing constantly until the sugar starts to melt, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to medium or medium-low (depending on your stovetop). Continue to toss the mixture until all the sugar is melted and the pumpkin seeds are lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes longer. Turn over onto a piece of parchment or wax paper. Let cool completely and break into large chunks.
  3. In a small bowl add all ingredients for the dressing and blend until smooth. Set aside or make ahead. Dressing will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  4. To assemble the salad, toss the kale in the dressing. Use more dressing if the salad seems too dry. Using your hands, squeeze or “massage” the kale while dressing it. This will make the kale more tender. Top with apple matchsticks, crumbled goat cheese, and sweet pumpkin seed clusters.

Salad Nicoise

(From Lpfedme)

A classic French salad, that is made with tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies or tuna, dressed with and lemon vinaigrette to add a bright, briny flavor.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 anchovy fillets
  • 1lb fresh salmon or tuna filet, pan-seared
  • 1/2 pound Mona Lisa potatoes, cooked + quartered
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • 4 cups of mâche or 1 head of butter lettuce
  • 2 tbsps olive oil

For Dressing:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the dressing, chill until serving.
  2. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add salmon/tuna filet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  3. On a large serving plate, place lettuce leaves and top with onion, tomatoes, potatoes, radishes, olives, salmon/tuna, and anchovies.
  4. Drizzle dressing and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Moroccan Quinoa Salad

(From Cotter Crunch)

Layers of quinoa, spiced chickpea, dried fruit, pistachios, feta cheese, and vegetables make this salad a spectacular vegetarian main meal or side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup to 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup chickpeas (canned/drained chickpeas or pre-roasted if you can find them)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (red onion or green work best)
  • 4–6 cups leafy greens
  • 2/3 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled or cubed feta cheese (about 1 oz)
  • 4 figs (dried or fresh) or pitted dated (sliced or diced)
  • 1 cup diced carrot or zucchini
  • 1/2 to 1 oz pistachios

Dressing and garnishes

  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Lemon and splash of juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp each ground paprika and cumin,
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c chopped parsley leaves (fresh)
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint (or 3 mint leaves)

Method

  1. First, prepare your quinoa according to the package. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. Rinse your chickpeas (if using canned) and then toss them with a pinch of turmeric, ginger, and pepper. Mix with cooked quinoa.
  3. Next, layer your salad. Greens, grains, vegetables, figs, feta, chickpeas, onion, pistachio, and so on.
  4. Whisk together honey, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, and remaining dressing spices. Pour over salad and toss. Mix in your chopped parsley. Add a splash of lemon and lemon slices to garnish. Fresh mint on top to garnish (chopped or whole)
  5. Serve immediately or cover and place in the fridge for up to 2 days. For longer storage or meal prep, keep the dressing separate until ready to serve.

Spicy Thai Pork Tenderloin Salad

(From New York Times)

This bright and bold-tasting pork salad is made of lean pork tenderloin marinated with chiles, ginger root, and cilantro, grilled or broiled, then combined with cabbage, fresh herbs and nuts, and coconut for a vibrant dish that is perfect for a spice-loving crowd. 

Ingredients

For Marinade and Dressing

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin (usually 2 tenderloins)
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 4 shallots)
  • 2/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 5 tbsps light brown sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated
  • 5 tbsps soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp peanut or grapeseed oil
  • Juice and zest of 4 limes
  • 3-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated
  • 2 tbsp Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 to 2 Thai bird, serrano or jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and minced

For Salad

  • 8 cups Napa or regular cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 5 whole scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 small Kirby or Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups mint leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups roasted cashews or peanuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut chips or large flakes, toasted

Method

  1. Pat pork dry with a paper towel. In a bowl, combine shallot, cilantro, 2 tbsps of sugar, garlic, soy sauce, peanut or grapeseed oil, lime zest and juice, ginger, fish sauce, salt, and chile. Pour a quarter of the mixture into a blender, add remaining sugar, and purée until smooth, loose paste forms. (Save the unblended mixture to use as dressing.)
  2. Place tenderloin in a large bowl and spread the paste all over the pork. Marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours; turn the tenderloin occasionally.
  3. Light the grill or heat the broiler and arrange a rack at least 4 inches from the heat. Grill or broil pork, turning occasionally, until well browned and meat reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees, 4 to 10 minutes per side depending upon the heat of your broiler or grill. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook. Let meat rest while you prepare the salad. (Or, cook the pork 1 or 2 hours ahead and serve it at room temperature.)
  4. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients, reserving the herbs, cashews, and coconut. Whisk the dressing and use just enough to dress the salad, tossing to combine. Let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to meld, then right before serving, add herbs and toss again.
  5. To serve, slice the pork. Arrange salad on a platter and top with sliced pork. Scatter cashews and coconut on top, drizzle with a little more of the remaining dressing, to taste.

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