40 Salads You’ll Actually Want to Eat for Lunch

updated Jun 17, 2024
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Italian chopped salad sits on tablecloth near blue napkin and spices
Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

We’ve all been there: You have all the best intentions to eat a big salad filled with lots of vegetables for lunch, but by the time noon rolls around you default to a hefty sandwich or dinner leftovers. Forget those days – we have delicious and easy salads that you’ll actually want to eat for lunch!

Our collection of hearty vegetable salads, pasta salads, and grain salads are a far cry from the plain ol’ green salad you may have been packing. There are plenty of ideas for protein-based lunches — like classic chicken salad and egg salad — which are are fabulous piled over salad greens or wrapped in lettuce leaves. Plus lots of other ideas for salads loaded with flavor that also fill you up!

Here are 40 of our best lunch salads that you’ll actually want to eat (they’re so good, you’ll want to eat them for dinner, too)!

1 / 40
Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

This vegetarian chopped salad — packed with farro, fresh veggies, and hearty chickpeas — gets even better as it sits.

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2 / 40
Easy Pasta Salad

Is there a more quintessential make-ahead lunch than cold pasta salad? This easy pasta salad is one we think you should know by heart.

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3 / 40
Chicken Salad

Grapes shouldn’t work in a chicken salad, but they really, really do. Serve this easy chicken salad on a flaky croissant or on top of greens for a quick and tasty lunch.

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4 / 40
Tortellini Salad with Marinated Artichokes and Feta

Cheesy tortellini pockets are tossed with marinated artichokes, fresh veggies, feta cheese, olives, and a lemon vinaigrette.

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5 / 40
Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad

This make-ahead-friendly salad is packed with crunchy veggies and hearty chickpeas tossed in a garlicky oregano vinaigrette.

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6 / 40
Pesto Pasta Salad

Pasta, fresh mozzarella pearls, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy cucumber are tossed in a basil pesto sauce for a verdant, vibrant salad that makes great lunches throughout the week.

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7 / 40
Gỏi Gà (Vietnamese Shredded Chicken and Cabbage Salad)

Gỏi gà (translated to “chicken salad”) couldn’t be simpler. Shredded cabbage and chicken are mixed up with julienned veggies, and it's all tossed in a vinegary dressing cut with sugar and fish sauce. The dish can be made with rotisserie chicken for an easy make-ahead lunch.

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8 / 40
Marinated Chickpea and Feta Salad

This star of this crunchy, veggie-packed salad is a tangy Greek-inspired dressing, which doubles as a marinade for the feta cheese and chickpeas.

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9 / 40
Antipasto Grain Salad

This vibrant, no-wilt nutty farro salad, which is packed with buttery olives, peppadew peppers, fresh mozzarella, and more, gets even better as it sits. It's perfect for lunch!

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10 / 40
Chicken Caesar Salad

The homemade dressing and juicy strips of chicken are really what make this a hit. You can always swap in your favorite bottled Caesar dressing in place of homemade. If you have a brand of store-bought croutons you really, really love, go ahead and use those.

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11 / 40
Mediterranean-Style Orzo Salad

An easy orzo pasta salad filled with Mediterranean flavors like roasted red peppers, olives, crunchy cucumbers, and feta cheese.

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12 / 40
Chopped Greek Salad with Grilled Steak

Grilled skirt steak turns a regular Greek salad into a hearty main salad that's full of crunchy veggies and feta cheese in a lemon-oregano vinaigrette.

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13 / 40
Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna salad meets pasta salad in this light and creamy mash-up that's the perfect make-ahead meal for lunch.

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14 / 40
Tuscan Tortellini Salad with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

An easy pasta salad with cheese tortellini, sun-dried tomatoes, and baby spinach tossed in a balsamic dressing.

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15 / 40
Classic Egg Salad

This egg salad is creamy, easy to make, and really lets the flavor of the eggs shine through. If you’re starting with hard-boiled eggs, it takes less than 10 minutes to make! Turn it into a sandwich, eat it with crackers, or wrap it up in lettuce leaves.

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16 / 40
Greek Salad (Horiatiki)

Juicy tomatoes, cooling cucumbers, feta cheese, crunchy onions, and briny olives all work together to create this classic Greek salad that's perfect for lunch.

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17 / 40
Creamy Caesar Pasta Salad with Chicken

If you love chicken Caesar salad, you’re going to fall hard for this recipe. Inspired by the beloved salad, tendrils of spiral pasta are partnered with bite-size pieces of juicy chicken breast, crisp romaine, ruby-red tomatoes, buttery croutons, and shards of salty Parm, all tossed together with creamy Caesar dressing.

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18 / 40
Caprese Couscous Salad

This quick, almost no-cook lunch salad features couscous, pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes, and mini mozzarella balls.

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19 / 40
20-Minute Steak Salad with Chile, Garlic, and Herbs

This easy 20-minute steak salad gets an umami hit from fish sauce, sherry vinegar, and lime juice tossed through a mix of crunchy veg, and is finished with fresh herbs.

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20 / 40
Roasted Cauliflower Salad

This roasted cauliflower salad is the perfect make-ahead lunch, as the kale and cucumbers, tossed with a roasted lemon vinaigrette, only get better with time. And the extra-special touch? A sprinkle of crunchy seed topping of salty-sweet toasted sesame and sunflower seeds.

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21 / 40
Easy Chicken Shawarma Salad

It’s fast, flavorful, and easy to make — the trifecta of a staple recipe! What sets this apart from all other salads? A trick for shredding rotisserie chicken that delivers the fastest shawarma.

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22 / 40
French Onion Dip Pasta Salad

This version of pasta salad utilizes one of our favorite pantry shortcuts: onion soup mix.

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23 / 40
Classic Cobb Salad

This classic Cobb salad recipe hits that sweet spot of just the right ingredients made in the easiest way possible. Cooked chicken breast, blue cheese, hard-boiled eggs, tomato, avocado, and crisp bacon are cut into bite-size pieces and dressed with a classic red wine vinaigrette.

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24 / 40
Lemon Herb Pasta Salad with Green Beans

This light and fresh make-ahead lunch salad is packed with fresh herbs, snappy green beans, and a sunny lemon vinaigrette.

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25 / 40
Antipasto Tortellini Salad

A make-ahead friendly lunch recipe for cheese tortellini pasta salad filled with marinated vegetables, salami, cheese, and herbs.

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26 / 40
Shrimp Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is laced with tiny succulent shrimp, crunchy celery, colorful red onion, bell pepper, juicy cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese. A short pasta with lots of nooks and crannies like fusilli is perfect for pasta salads because it will hold onto the dressing better.

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27 / 40
Chicken Club Chopped Salad

This club sandwich-turned-salad is incredibly fun to make. Stack all of your ingredients on a cutting board and just chop, chop, chop until everything is bite-size. Then, toss it in a creamy vinaigrette with mayo and Dijon mustard (classic sandwich spreads) and you have an easy lunch in 10 minutes.

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28 / 40
Tomato Orzo Salad with Tahini Dressing

This salad is equal parts nourishing and nutty, thanks to juicy tomatoes, orzo pasta, fresh veggies, feta cheese, and tahini.

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29 / 40
Curried Chicken Salad

A few hints of sweetness turn this classic curried chicken salad into a winner that you can stuff into bread or eat as lettuce wraps.

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30 / 40
Antipasto Salad

This satisfying lunch salad is packed with all the good things from an Italian antipasto spread like salami, marinated vegetables, fresh mozzarella, and olives.

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31 / 40
Fregola Salad with Verde Sauce

Craving pasta salad? Make this any-season fregola recipe with kale and fresh herb pesto.

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32 / 40
Chickpea Salad

Combine hearty chickpeas with a colorful mix of vegetables and tangy vinaigrette for a simple and satisfying make-ahead salad for lunch.

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33 / 40
Farro and Broccoli Salad

This hearty make-ahead lunch salad has nutty farro, broccoli, smoked almonds, aged cheddar, golden raisins, and dried cranberries, and is served with a quick pickled shallot viniagrette.

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34 / 40
Shrimp Salad

A delicious mayonnaise-based shrimp salad that you can serve over toast, on a bed of salad greens, or on a buttered roll for a quick, satisfying lunch.

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35 / 40
Brown Butter Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Whether you eat it cold or at room temperature, this pasta salad with roasted butternut squash is perfect for lunch.

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36 / 40
Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta, Chickpeas, and Herbs

A vegetarian recipe for Israeli couscous salad filled with hearty chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs, and feta cheese.

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37 / 40
Dak Naengchae (Korean Cold Chicken Salad)

Say what you will about boiled chicken breast, but this cold chicken salad with crisp cucumber, ripe mango, and a toasty sweet mustard dressing is greater than the sum of its parts.

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38 / 40
Avocado Tuna Salad

Not a fan of mayonnaise? This is the perfect tuna salad for you. It skips the mayo in favor of creamy avocado. Turn it into a sandwich, eat it with crackers, or wrap it up in lettuce leaves.

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39 / 40
Gado Gado (Indonesian Salad with Peanut Dressing)

This hearty, easy-to-make Indonesian salad features different blanched vegetables like bean sprouts, spinach, and chayote squash, plus tofu and tempeh for heft. It’s served alongside a savory, spicy peanut sauce, fried shallots, and crispy shrimp chips.

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40 / 40
Grain Salad with Use-It-All-Up Pesto

This hearty, satisfying lunch salad can be made with rice or whatever grain you have in the pantry: nutty farro, millet, quinoa, etc. Orzo or pearl couscous are also great options.

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