When someone tells me they are “just gonna have a salad” the look on my face is one of pity and confusion. I feel bad that something obligates to make such an unsatisfying choice, and I don’t understand why they would punish themselves like that.
This is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but really, when it comes to eating salad for dinner, it has to have substance.
Today I am sharing six tasty salad recipes that are filling, well balanced, and truly a meal. I’ve made all of these and love them. Any modifications I make to the recipes are noted.
This Asian Salad makes a huge batch, so I make a half recipe. I also added grilled chicken. It was really tasty and made wonderful leftovers. P.S. Do you follow Ali on Instagram? She is just the cutest.
The homemade Caesar dressing in this is to die for. I use romaine lettuce.
The Chimichurri just wants to be poured on everything in sight. I grill my steak on an indoor cast iron grill.
This has such a unique flavor because of the cumin vinaigrette. I’ve adapted it to my taste by swapping in zucchini for the eggplant, and using farro or pearled barley instead of quinoa. Depending on my mood, I also add grilled chicken, but it’s filling without it. I double the vinaigrette and since I’m roasting vegetables anyways, I throw 4 whole, unpeeled cloves of garlic on the baking sheet too. I add those roasted garlic cloves to the vinaigrette and give it a quick spin in the food-processor to smooth it out.
This homemade Catalina dressing is finger-lickin’ good and so much like the original, except…better. I reduced the brown sugar to 3 Tablespoons and use only 1 lb of ground beef. I make my taco salad like my mom, so it differs slightly from this one. No bell peppers or green onions. I add avocado and one can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed. I take care to slice the red onion very thin, and rinse it under cold water. The rinse keeps the whole salad from smelling and tasting like onions.
This one has such a wonderful blend of big flavors. Very Autumnal. Unfortunately Jessie Monds doesn’t seem to have a blog anymore, but luckily I still have the recipe!
Fall Harvest Salad
- 1/2 cup whole pecans
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and sliced into bite-sized half moon shapes
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 4 tablespoons dried cherries or cranberries
- 2-4 ripe pears (comice or anjou)
- 1 pomegranate, seeds removed (optional)
- 1/4-1/3 cup mild blue cheese (Amish Blue or Stella) or goat cheese
- 1 5 ounce box heirloom lettuces or other delicate leaf lettuce (delicate mixed greens better than romaine or iceberg here)
- Turn oven to 400. Place butternut squash on rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil, spices, salt, and pepper. Roast 10 minutes, or until squash pieces are mostly tender. Stir the squash around and add the pecans to the sheet. Roast another 5 minutes, until pecans are fragrant and squash is cooked through.
- Meanwhile make the dressing, recipe below, and prepare the other ingredients by slicing the pears, crumbling the cheese, and removing the seeds from the pomegranate fruit.
- Toss lettuce with 3/4 of dressing and a sprinkle of salt. Divide among plates. Place a pear in the center of the salad and slightly fan out the layers. Drizzle a small amount of dressing over the top of the pear. Nestle warm butternut squash, toasty whole pecans, large chunks of cheese, pomegranate seeds, and dried berries decoratively around the pear and over the lettuce. Serve immediately.
Ingredients for the Vinaigrette
- 1 teaspoon grainy dijon mustard
- 1-2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup (1 tablespoon tastes good if you are watching sugar but 2 gives more maple flavor)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (I used vegetable or canola oil, olive oil would be fine too)
- pinch of salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- Place all ingredients in a small glass jar (I like jam jars) with a tight fitting lid and shake to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.