30 Salads You’ll Actually Want to Eat for Lunch

updated Jul 7, 2023
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Italian chopped salad sits on tablecloth near blue napkin and spices
Credit: Photo: Shelly Westerhausen

We’ve all been there: You have all the best intentions to eat a wholesome salad filled with lots of vegetables for lunch, but by the time noon rolls around you’re starving and nothing could look more unappealing than what you planned for. So you default to a hefty sandwich, dinner leftovers, or really, just anything but a salad.

Forget those days — here are 30 easy salads to make for lunch that you’ll actually want to eat! Not only are they filled with things like beans, chicken, and whole grains so they fill you up, but they’re also loaded with enough flavor and crunch to hold your attention.

Vegetarian Salads

These meatless salads are a far cry from the plain ol’ green salad you may have been packing. Using a mix of vegetables in some ensures things stay interesting, while adding beans and lentils to others lends a pop of protein.

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Anna Jones' Raw Thai Citrus Crunch Salad
This is a really refreshing, crunchy salad that has a lot going on: sweet zucchini and carrots, mild cabbage, earthy bell peppers, and some sweet-sour zing from grapefruit and lime.
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2 / 13
Marinated Chickpea and Feta Salad with Spring Veggies
This star of this crunchy, veggie-packed salad is a tangy Greek-inspired dressing, which doubles as a marinade for the feta and chickpeas.
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3 / 13
Kale & Quinoa Salad with Dates, Almonds & Citrus Dressing
Sweet dates, crunchy almonds, and a tangy citrus dressing make this kale salad anything but basic. Best of all, you can make it in advance without worrying about wilty greens.
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4 / 13
Vegetarian Kale Taco Salad
In this wholesome take on a Tex-Mex taco salad, shredded kale is tossed with hearty black beans and crisp veggies, and softened by a creamy yogurt and cilantro dressing.
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5 / 13
Tomato Chickpea Salad
This is the kind of salad that can be tossed together at a moment’s notice. Filled with good things like chickpeas and cherry tomatoes, it’s simple yet still incredibly hearty and satisfying.
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Black Bean Salad with Corn and Avocado
This classic black bean salad is packed with bright, refreshing flavors like corn, tomatoes, and cilantro, and has a kick from fresh garlic, jalapeño, and red onion.
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Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette
This vegetarian chopped salad — packed with farro, chickpeas, and plenty of fresh veggies— gets even better as it sits.
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8 / 13
Tomato and Feta White Bean Salad
A light and easy recipe for a no-cook tomato and white bean salad. Make it now before the season's tomatoes disappear!
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Four-Can Pantry Salad
When your crisper drawer is empty turn to the pantry - there’s a world of other ingredients you can utilize to make a quick, refreshing salad.
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Chickpea Waldorf Salad
This lighter take on a classic Waldorf salad swaps mayo for yogurt, while protein-rich chickpeas keep it filling.
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Cold Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives
If a fresh and filling make-ahead salad is what you're after, you'll want to keep this easy plat-based number in your regular lunch rotation.
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Easy Lemon-Marinated Bean and Vegetable Salad
Creamy white beans and crunchy vegetables marinated in a honey-lemon vinaigrette is the ultimate make once, eat all week lunch.
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Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad
This make-ahead friendly salad is packed with crunchy veggies and tossed in a garlicky oregano vinaigrette. Eat as-is or serve alongside pizza.
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Pasta Salads

For those extra-hungry days, let pasta salad help you out. They’re a bit heartier, yes, but still feel nice and wholesome, and are even better when made in advance.

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Easy Pasta Salad
This goes-anywhere, has-everything pasta salad is one we think you should know by heart.
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2 / 9
The Best Pasta Salad (Without Mayo)
This easy-to-make pasta salad has a creamy flavor, but ditches the mayo in favor of a rich vinaigrette and soft cheese.
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Sesame Ginger Pasta Salad
If you’re looking for a fresh and filling meal to eat between Zoom calls all week long, this pasta salad is it.
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4 / 9
Pasta Salad with Roasted Peppers, Tuna, and Oregano Vinaigrette
With silky roasted red peppers, oil-packed tuna, and an herby vinaigrette, this one’s got lots of Mediterranean flavor, and it comes together quickly with just a few ingredients from your pantry.
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5 / 9
Pesto Pasta Salad
Nothing says summer like tendrils of pasta, fresh mozzarella pearls, juicy tomatoes, and crunchy cucumber dressed in a basil pesto sauce.
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6 / 9
Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad
Make this once and you’ll hardly need to refer to the recipe again when making it a second time — and I guarantee there definitely will be a second time.
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7 / 9
Light & Fresh Italian Pasta Salad
Filled with sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, olives, fresh mozzarella, and arugula, this Tuscan-inspired pasta salad is light and bright.
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8 / 9
Greek Pasta Salad
Take all the bright, vibrant flavors of a classic Greek salad, toss it with al dente shells and you’ve got summer’s new favorite pasta salad.
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9 / 9
Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad
For the times you're feeling a little lazy or just want a super simple lunch you can make for the week ahead, this 4-ingredient number has your back.
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Chicken, Tuna, Egg Salads, and more.

While some of these recipes lean a little into sandwich territory, know that these classic protein-based lunches are just as fabulous piled over greens and turned into a true salad.

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Chicken Salad
Grapes shouldn’t work, but they really, really do.
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2 / 11
Egg Salad
It’s classic, creamy, and comforting.
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3 / 11
Classic Cobb Salad
This classic Cobb salad recipe hits that sweet spot of just the right ingredients made in the easiest way possible.
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4 / 11
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 summer meal.
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Tarragon Chicken Salad
This classic chicken salad from The Silver Palate Cookbook is one that's worth learning by heart.
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Yogurt & Dill Chicken Salad
The simplest chicken salad is the best! Start with precooked chicken and you only need dill, shallots, yogurt & mayo for this lighter chicken salad.
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Greek-Style Tuna Salad
This light and wholesome Mediterranean-inspired tuna salad that's packed with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and fresh herbs.
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Tuna & Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
This protein-packed power bowl brings together quinoa, tuna, cucumbers, and a bunch of fresh vegetables for a salad you can count on to keep you full.
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Avocado Tuna Salad Recipe
Creamy avocado replaces mayo in this tasty tuna salad.
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Mediterranean Tuna and White Bean Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
This easy recipe for an Italian-inspired tuna and white bean salad features fennel, radicchio, and arugula.
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Curried Egg Salad on Naan
This version of egg salad is seasoned with warm curry spices. Instead of bread or naan, try serving over a bed of peppery arugula.
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