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11 Satisfying Main Dish Salads That Do Healthy Right

It’s easy to eat healthy when your taste buds are happy with what's on the plate. That's especially challenging when it comes to salads. Because even if you hit the right balance of produce and protein, how do you keep your mouth interested without drowning your good intentions in high-calorie dressing? Here are 11 healthy salad ideas that show you how to keep things tasty when salad is what's for dinner.

11 healthy salads that we crave for dinner!

1. Saigon Noodle Salad

There's a whole lot of crisp veg going on underneath those rice noodles and grilled shrimp. Fresh herbs and a ginger/garlic/Sriracha sauce liven things up, and peanuts add a satisfying crunch.

Saigon Noodle Salad

Photo by lutzflcat

2. Caprese Salad with Grilled Flank Steak

You can fool your mouth into eating less meat when it's presented on a big pile of dark greens, fresh basil, and juicy tomatoes. Cut the mozzarella cheese into small pieces to keep calories in check.

Caprese Salad with Grilled Flank Steak

Photo by Molly

3. Grilled Chicken Taco Salad

Beans add extra protein and fiber, and a spicy rub amps up the flavor of the grilled chicken in this healthy taco salad recipe. Go easy on the sour cream or substitute yogurt for a creamy, tangy finish.

Grilled Chicken Taco Salad

Photo by Stirring up Trouble

4. Chicken Mango Salsa Salad with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette

Here's a healthy chicken salad with crisp greens and crunchy vegetables playing off luscious mango for a textural win-win. Tropical dressing cheers things on from the sidelines where it belongs.

Chicken Mango Salsa Salad with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette

Photo by SugarPlum

More: 11 Ways to Turn Extra Chicken into Healthy Main Dish Salads

5. Tropical Turkey Salad

When dressing on the side doesn't make sense, just make sure it doesn't smother your salad with fat. Low-fat sour cream or yogurt gives this curry dressing just the right creaminess to lightly hug everything together.

Tropical Turkey Salad

Photo by LilSnoo

6. Authentic Lebanese Fattoush

Cucumber, tomato, mint, and arugula meet a surprise guest in lemony purslane. An unusual sumac-laced dressing gives a hit of fruity, astringent flavor for a "wow, what's that?" experience. Top with grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas for protein.

Authentic Lebanese Fattoush

Photo by MissFaharari

7. Blackberry Spinach Salad

Fresh seasonal berries are naturally low-carb and packed with nutrients. Toss them in by the generous handful; they play well with whatever healthy protein you've got going, and their juiciness can take the place of salad dressing.

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Photo by TheBritishBaker

8. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Hello, healthy grain salad. Quinoa's been called one of the best plant-based protein sources out there. And it's gluten-free, easy to digest, and soaks up flavors like a sponge. So, into the salad it goes.

Want a super-quick healthy salad dressing? Simply shake together 1 part lemon juice with 3 parts olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Photo by mickdee

9. Avocado and Tuna Tapas

Avocados fall squarely into the good-for-you column, and they seem to keep you fuller, longer. Instead of serving the avocado on the side, go on and make it the bowl with this healthy tuna salad recipe.

Avocado and Tuna Tapas

Photo by bd.weld

10. Chicken Chow Mein Salad

Here's a healthy salad that's loaded with superfoods -- fresh spinach, red cabbage, pecans, mandarin oranges, leeks, and dried cranberries. It's also a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken. "Hearty, delicious super-easy healthy green salad reminiscent of traditional chicken chow mein," says TheRecycleChef. "Add a splash of your favorite Asian dressing and you have a complete meal."

Chicken Chow Mein Salad

Photo by lutzflcat

11. Za'atar Chicken Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Grilled za'atar-marinated chicken tenders are served over a romaine salad loaded with veggies and drizzled with a lemon-tahini dressing. "Experiment with Middle Eastern flavors in this nutritious dinner salad," says Bibi. "Use purchased za'atar seasoning blend or use your own."

Za'atar Chicken Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Photo by Bibi

Check out our complete collection of Healthy Salad Recipes.

If you're looking to eat healthier, you might like 26 Recipes That Have America Loving The Mediterranean Diet.

About Vanessa Greaves

Good food, friends, and fun are always on the menu. Find me as foodelicious on Allrecipes and vanny.gee on Instagram (but only if you don't mind cat pics and cocktails).