5 Dinner Salad Recipes Better than Your Restaurant Favorites

5 Dinner Salad Recipes Better than Your Restaurant Favorites

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Kelli Foster
Apr 7, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Slotting salad night into my family's weekly meal plan did not come easy in my house. It was a slow-won battle, and the key was showing my husband the world of possibilities that are dinner salads, starting with the fact that really good ones are more than a big bowl of chopped raw vegetables.

Take some inspiration from these hearty, creative, and totally delicious recipes, and you'll have a lineup of dinner salads that you look forward to eating — and that will actually fill you up.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

1. Vietnamese-Style Chicken Salad Bowl

My favorite trick for making super-satisfying dinner salads is taking cues from some of my favorite takeout dishes, like Vietnamese noodle salad. This version starts with lemongrass and ginger marinated chicken, a tangle of rice noodles, a mess of crunchy vegetables and herbs, and an umami-rich dressing.

Serve it warm right after making it, or make all the components during your weekend meal prep and assemble it straight from the fridge. It's a salad that fits your schedule.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

2. Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Salad

This salad turns a bag of humble carrots from vegetable workhorse into the shining star of this vegan dinner salad. Dusted with a blanket of coriander and roasted, they're partnered with my favorite herb-packed tahini dressing, warm chickpeas, and crunchy almonds. It takes a little more effort than simply chopping vegetables, but once you try it you'll see it's worth it.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

3. Baja Shrimp Taco Salad

Change up your next Taco Tuesday by serving this salad instead and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. At its core, this big bowl is simply a deconstructed shrimp taco. The base and toppings flip-flop, with crispy red cabbage dressed with a tangy cumin-spiked crema at the bottom of the bowl, loaded with smoky shrimp, and topped with plenty of crumbled tortilla chips.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4. BBQ Tofu Bowls

It's really hard not to get excited about salad for dinner when the bowl is topped off with chunks of crispy, BBQ-slicked baked tofu. This salad is wholesome comfort at its finest, and my favorite way to get salad in my meal plan and still have a warm dinner. A duo of roasted broccoli and sweet potato wedges replace a bowl of raw vegetables, and the whole thing is finished off with a generous drizzle of yogurt ranch.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

5. Crispy Chicken Caesar Orzo Salad

Want a guarantee your dinner salad is going to be filling? Make your salad a hybrid! In other words, a meal that's part salad and part something else. And this version is just as much for pasta-lovers as it is for anyone who wants a generous dose of greens.

You toss orzo with a few spoonfuls of Caesar dressing when it's still warm so soaks it up all the flavor, just like a pasta salad. Then you top every bowl with bite-sized pieces of lemon-kissed crispy chicken right before serving.

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