Having a repertoire of great salad recipes is key. This is a list of many of the best salads I’ve prepared over the years. You’ll see a mix of chopped salads, green salads, plus grain and pasta salads. They all have an emphasis on fresh, whole, seasonal, plant-based ingredients. Enjoy!
Chopped Salad Recipes
One of my favorite genres of salad. Chopped salads tend to be intensely flavored, varied in texture, and packed with ingredients. They often feature a strong dressing, and are a great way to use up odds and ends in your refrigerator.
This feather-light, mayo-free, coleslaw recipe uses blistered peanuts, cherry tomatoes, and lime vinaigrette and is perfect alongside fajitas, or whatever you have coming off the grill.
Green Salad Recipes
The key to great salads is buying fantastic salad greens. Or even better (and less expensive), grow your own if you have the space. For the best salad foundation, look for vibrant leaves that aren’t sad or wilted, and pass on bagged and packaged lettuces.
A base of finely shredded Lacinato kale to which and abundance of toasted pecans, pecorino cheese, and shredded Brussels sprouts are added. A strong lemon-tahini dressing is leveraged to brighten things up and take the raw edge off of the kale.
Summer Salad Recipes
Arguably peak salad season, summer salads feature all the magic coming out of backyard gardens and local markets. These salad recipes help you work through tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, and beautiful stone fruits. Many are meal-worthy, helping to keep your kitchen cool during the hottest weather.
This salad is pluot based, with toasted ginger, garlic, and shallots. It is drizzled with a simple lime soy sauce dressing, and is generously flecked with herbs – in this case, mint, basil, and cilantro.
Pasta Salad Recipes
A handful of favorite salad recipes featuring pasta, noodles, fresh ingredients and super bold flavors.
Great Picnic Salad Recipes
These are the salad recipes to turn to when you need something that can travel. The kinds of salads that can handle a picnic or potluck.
All the things you love about a taco, in salad form. Tempeh taco salad – crushed tortilla chips bring the crunch, black beans and crumbled tempeh coated with taco seasoning brings the substance, and a strong, smoked paprika-apple cider dressing pulls everything together.
A beautiful cauliflower salad from the new Bar Tartine cookbook – a crunchy, hearty mixture of cauliflower, seeds, chiles, radishes, chickpeas, and green onions slathered in an enveloping garlicky yogurt dressing.
Lightly cooked cauliflower is chopped, then tossed, with turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and a touch of ghee. Then you add sliced avocado, hard-boiled eggs, toasted seeds, rainbow chard stems, lettuces. It’s beautiful and delicious.
A perfect one-pot meal. Noodles, tofu, and broccoli boiled in one pot, drained, tossed with splashes of olive oil and ponzu, plus a generous showering of everything bagel seasoning to finish it all off.
Imagine a spring roll without the wrapper and you’ve got this salad. A familiar chorus of flavors – sweet, sour, tangy, hot, and nutty all projected onto a mound of serpentine rice noodles and seasonal vegetables with a peanut dressing and lime splash.
A simple asparagus panzanella – a quick, mustard buttermilk dressing accents good asparagus, alongside crusty shards of toasted bread, and a dusting of sesame seeds. Shred a hard boiled egg over the top for a more substantial meal.
The bean & artichoke salad I made to take to Easter this year – pickled celery, chopped kalamata olives and toasted walnuts, along with tender artichokes, and lots of the white cocagne beans I picked up at my neighborhood farmer’s market.
A quirky, unique bowl of quinoa, with a couple of secrets. And the next time you have leftover quinoa (other other favorite grain) give it a try – coconut, garlic, almonds, kale, topped with salted yogurt and avocado.
A pretty, summer-centric zucchini agrodolce – shredded zucchini doused with a garlic infused agrodolce splash of vinegar, honey, and olive oil, tossed with toasted coconut and walnuts for crunch, red onion for bite and assertiveness, a couple of chopped dates, and tiny greens or herbs threaded about.
Fave Salad Boosters & Dressings
Blender dressings are great, in part, because they’re fast. Everything into one container, puree, and you’re set. This one is great – carrots, turmeric, coconut milk, shallot, and ginger come together into a dressing perfect for everything from green salads to grain salads.
I often carry a small vial of this spiced kale and nori medley in my purse, refilling it every few days. Nutrient-dense and delicious, you use it as a healthful seasoning for salad, vegetables, stir-fries…
Enjoy the salad recipes! I hope there are a few here that make their way to your table through the year. I have a special fondness for the Spicy Rainbow Chop Salad. And this Cilantro Salad shifted how I think of cilantro. And this is the best bean salad with a tangy-sweet lemonade-ish dressing. Don’t miss the favorite salad dressings that are listed at the bottom as well, and give the wedge salad below a go with any of them in place of the spicy ranch!