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9 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 9 recipes that show you how to keep things tasty—and healthy—when salad's what's 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. 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

Crisp greens and crunchy vegetables play 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

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 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

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.


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 them on the side, go on and make them the salad bowls.


Avocado and Tuna Tapas

Photo by bd.weld

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.

Vanessa Greaves

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).