I enjoy a salad for lunch every weekday. Yes, I truly look forward to and enjoy a salad for lunch most days of the week!
My secret is finding lots of ingredients I really love and, happily, don’t seem to tire of eating routinely. I mix and match, so I am not eating the same thing every day and every day.
My salads are quick and easy to put together and can be prepped the night before. They are nutritious and delicious.
My Salad Basics
If my salad is a side to soup or some other leftover main dish; I stick with these basic ingredients.
Greens: It’s a salad, we have to have some greens. Spinach is my ride-or-die salad base. I go through a big tub every week. Romaine is another popular choice if you like a milder flavor.
Nuts/Seeds: Pepitas for a relatively new favorite salad ingredient for me. I like the roasted, unsalted variety. Pepitas add texture, crunch, and great flavor. Sunflower seeds are also great in salads. Candied walnuts or pecans are a bit more indulgent but really amazing.
Veggies: I put tomatoes and mushrooms in pretty much every salad. I also love the crunch of broccoli or cauliflower. Ripe bell pepper is another great choice. A few slivers of thinly sliced red onions is wonderful. While this might sound a little unorthodox, I think cubed, baked sweet potato is incredible in a salad! I am seeing sweet potatoes in salads on social media, so I am apparently not alone.
Dressing: I typically lean toward a ranch or vinaigrette dressing. I am a big fan of the Bolthouse brand, particularly raspberry vinaigrette and cucumber ranch.
If salad is my main lunch, I will add several of these ingredients to make it a filling, satisfying meal.
Protein: I typically have chicken, turkey, shrimp, or tuna. Whatever your choice, protein is definitely important to assure your salad is satisfying enough to keep you full.
Eggs: A hard-boiled egg adds great flavor and nutrition. Eggs have fat and protein, which is so important to make a meal filling and satisfying.
Cheese: Feta and goat cheese are my favorites. Feta adds a salty bite and goat cheese is creamy and wonderful. A little cheese makes everything better. 🙂
Avocado: Creamy, dreamy, and full of healthy fat, avocado is excellent in salads. When we have tacos or enchiladas for dinner, I like to preserve part of it for my lunch the next day. So good!
Beans: Full of fiber and protein, beans are a great addition. Black beans are my favorite. It sounds a little odd, but a warm, crumbled-up black bean burger is excellent in a salad.
Edamame: Edamame, or immature soybeans, are another new-ish favorite. I buy bags of frozen edamame and steam them in the microwave.
Olives: I love any and all olives. Their unique, salty flavor is a wonderful contrast to the other ingredients.
Grains: Grains are less common in my salad, but I find a bit of couscous or lentils adds terrific texture.
Prepping My Lunch Salad
Lunch prep takes place the night before. I have been bringing a salad to work every day for years now, and I love this container system. Over the years, I have bought at least four of these salad containers, so I always have one available. Added bonus, they do very well in the dishwasher!
The salad and dressing are kept separate to avoid soggy ingredients. The cover has an ice pack to keep everything super fresh.
When lunchtime comes around, the top containing the dressing is twisted. The dressing and salad are then combined by shaking the container.
Salads are a healthy, easy, make-ahead lunch. By using a variety of delicious ingredients, you can be assured you wouldn’t be bored by a boring mid-day meal.