Healthy Main Dish Salad Inspiration

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As a dietitian and master personal trainer, my goal is to show you how wonderful a healthy lifestyle can be. Here is one example of how healthy food can (and should) taste great and be satisfying.

I have collected an extensive list of flavorful combinations of healthy ingredients you can turn into a main dish salad. To keep the calories low, use any calorically-dense items such as regular fat dressing, nuts, bacon, cheese, dried fruits, tortilla chips MINIMALLY. Find low-calorie, reduced fat versions of salad dressings.

I hope this inspires you! 

Pear and Fig Salad

Pear, Fig, Candied Walnut and Prosciutto Salad 

Greens, Prosciutto Slices, Fresh Pear, Candied Pecans, Dried Fig, Blue Cheese Crumbles with Champagne Pear Vinaigrette.

Arugula, Beet, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Arugula, Chickpea, Walnut, Fig, Goat Cheese Salad

Beet and Goat Cheese

Beets, goat cheese, toasted pecans walnuts or pistachios, red onion, radish, Sherry vinaigrette.

Spiralized Salad Ideas

Spiralized carrots, green zucchini, yellow squash, chickpeas and avocado

Spiralized Ribbons of zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and beets with roasted pumpkin seeds

Spiralized Thai Salad: spiralized zucchini, spiralized carrot, chopped red pepper, shredded red cabbage, chopped cilantro, slivered almonds with a peanut dressing.

Salmon Quinoa Salad

Cooked salmon fillets, cooked quinoa, romaine or mixed greens, sliced English cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed, halved Kalamata olives, feta cheese and 1 avocado, sliced or diced drizzled with Tzatziki Sauce. (Tzatziki recipes can be found by searching the internet)

Modern Greek Salad with Quinoa

Cooked quinoa, Kale, romaine, feta, toasted almonds, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, oregano dressing.

Kale Caesar Salad

Massage the kale to relax the dense fiberous texture. Top with reduced fat Caesar dressing (I like Girard’s). Top with cornbread croutons, grated or shaved parmesan.

Pear, Chicken, Green Beans, Avocado, Cherry Tomato Salad

Combine mixed greens, ripe pear, blanched string beans, halved cherry tomatoes, minced onion, cooked chicken chunks. Toss with a low cal balsamic dressinig and then top with avocado cubes.

Arugula, Chickpea, Walnut, Fig, Goat Cheese Salad

Arugula, Chickpea, Walnut, Fig, Goat Cheese Salad






Fruit Poppyseed with Chicken

Chicken, romaine, mandarin oranges, strawberry slices,blueberries, pineapple, toasted walnuts, poppyseed dressing.

Lime and Cilantro Chicken or Shrimp Salad Inspired by the Nordstrom Grill

Barley Sour Cherry Salad

Cooked pearl barley, salad dressing, arugula, chopped red onion,  dried sour cherries, chopped toasted walnuts, blue cheese crumbles.

Spinach, Strawberry and Goat Cheese 

Baby spinach, minced shallot, reduced fat raspberry or champagne vinegar, thinly sliced strawberries, toasted almonds and crumbled goat cheese.

Lighter Version of the Classic Broccoli Bacon and Cranberry Salad

Broccoli Bacon Cranberry Salad

Avocado Cobb

Romaine, Kale, Chicken, Tomatoes, Blue Cheese, Hard Boiled Egg, Pickled Onion, Avocado served with a Dijon Vinaigrette.

For a list of lower-calorie salad dressing go to this post.

Italian Chop Salad

Kale, Raddichio, Cabbage, Basil, Chicken, Golden Beets, Tomato, Almond, and Parmesan served with a lemon vinaigrette.

Salmon & Gorgonzola Salad

Romaine, Red Onions, Arugula And Chopped Tomatoes, Tossed With Balsamic Vinaigrette And Topped With Gorgonzola, Crispy Peppered Bacon, Sliced Avocado And A Blackened Wild Coho Salmon Fillet.

Chicken Basil Salad

Chopped Greens, Purple Cabbage, Fresh Basil, Avocado, Mozzarella Cheese, Corn And Black Bean Salsa Topped With A Grilled Chicken Breast And Served With Chipotle Ranch Dressing.

BBQ Chicken Salad

BBQ Chicken Salad

Romaine, Grilled Chicken Breast With Our House Beer BBQ Sauce, Smoked Cheddar, Corn, Black Bean Salsa, Red Bell Peppers And Red Onions Tossed With Ranch Dressing And Topped With Cilantro And Lime.

Dungeness Crab Cake Salad

Dungeness Crab Cake Served On A Bed Of Organic Mixed Greens, Red Bell Peppers, Green Onions, Jalapenos And Cilantro, Drizzled With A Sweet And Spicy Chili Sauce.

Spinach, Fruit and Nut Salad

Spinach, Sliced Apple, Almonds, Dried Cranberries And Feta With Honey Mustard Dressing.

 Mediterranean Gem

Gem Lettuce (a miniature variety of romaine lettuce) or use Romaine, Radicchio, Chicken, Hazelnuts, Dates, Blue Cheese, Grapes served with a red wine vinaigrette.

Spicy Vietnamese Salad

Greens, Whole Grains, Chicken, Chilies, Carrots, Herbs, Cucumbers, Peanuts served with a lemon vinaigrette.

Greek and Grains

Farro, quinoa, lentils, spinach, olives, cucumber, pickled shallots, marinated artichokes, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, feta and oregano vinaigrette.

Cranberry Chicken

Pulled  chicken, almonds, scallions, celery, apples, dried cranberries, parmigiano-reggiano and cranberry-dijon vinaigrette.

Strawberry Beet Salad  

Arugula, strawberries, orange, sunflower seeds, goat cheese served with a strawberry-rhubarb vinaigrette balsamic dressing.

Chicken Chop Salad

Grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, prosciutto, romaine, diced red onion, pepper jack cheese, parmesan with a low cal creamy vinaigrette.

California Citrus Salad

Spring mix, cooked chilled quinoa, avocado, candied pecans, red onion thinly sliced, golden raisins, mandarin oranges in a honey citrus dressing.

Heirloom Tomato

Buratta cheese, basil, watermelon, fennel, heirloom tomato slices served with a vinaigrette.

Fall Salad

Chopped Pecans, Chopped Apple, Feta Cheese Crumbles, Pomegranate Seeds, on a bed of fresh greens served with a low-fat Vinaigrette Salad Dressing.

Watermelon Feta Salad

Fresh watermelon, arugula and mint drizzled with champagne Dijon vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil and topped with feta, grains, toasted almonds and salt and pepper.

Asian Sesame Salad with Chicken

Chicken, romaine, cilantro, toasted almonds, sesame seeds and wonton strips tossed in Asian Sesame Miso Dressing. This is my favorite Asian Dressing! 

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken

Chicken, romaine, mandarin oranges, fresh strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple tossed in poppyseed dressing and topped with toasted pecan pieces.

Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad with Chicken

Smoked, pulled chicken, romaine, arugula, corn, quinoa, tomato, cilantro tossed in chile lime ranch and topped with feta and avocado.

For a list of lower-calorie salad dressing go to this post.

Barbecue Chicken Chopped Salad

Grilled Chicken Breast, Bbq Sauce, Chopped Romaine Lettuce, Black Beans, Fire Roasted Corn, Cubed Jicama, Diced Tomatoes, Tortilla strips and Red Onion. Serve With Lowfat Or Reduced Fat Ranch Dressing or Cilantro Dressing. For some spice, add a bit of Chipotle in Adobo mixed into Reduced Fat Ranch Dressing.

Spinach, Cherry and Quinoa Salad

Baby Spinach, Baby Arugula, Red Cabbage, Cooked Quinoa, Red Onion, Shredded Chicken, Dried Cherries, Chopped Almonds. Serve with a Poppyseed Dressing.

Grilled Avocado and Tomato Salad 

Leaf Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, Corn, Black Beans, Thick Slice of Large Tomato Grilled, Half Avocado Grilled, Queso Fresco, Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette and Fresh Lime Wedge.

Wild Salmon Salad

Greens Mix, Red Cabbage, Grilled Pineapple, Shredded Carrot, Red Bell Pepper, Cilantro, Green Onion, Grilled Wild Salmon served with a Ginger Vinaigrette.

Taco Salad

Grilled Chicken, Shrimp or Flank Steak, Chopped Romaine Lettuce, Sliced Black Olives, Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, Chopped Fresh Cilantro, Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Cubed Jicama, Corn, Diced Tomatoes and Red or Green Onion and Tortilla Chip Strips. Serve With Lowfat Or Reduced Fat Ranch Dressing mixed with  some Chipotle in Adobe or Cilantro Dressing.

Steak Salad

Mix of Greens, Tomato, Red Onion, Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola, Grilled Spicy Tenderloin, Sautéed Mushrooms.

Shrimp, Berry and Goat Cheese Salad

Warm Sautéed Shrimp on a Mound Of Crisp Mixed Greens, Sliced Strawberries, Raspberries And Blueberry With A Crumble Of Goat Cheese.

saladnordstrom Chicken Fajita Salad

Sautéed Chicken Breast, Sautéed Onions, Garlic And Red Pepper Strips Served Atop A Generous Mound Of Crisp Mixed Greens, Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar, Black Olives, Salsa, Reduced Fat Or Fat Free Sour Cream And Avocado Cubes.

Garden Salad

Crisp Mixed Greens (Your Choice Of Spinach, Romaine, Red Leaf) Carrots, Red Cabbage, Tomato, Cucumber And Thinly Sliced Red Onions. Add Cooked Shrimp, Chicken Or Salmon. Serve With A Reduced Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Caesar Salad

Fresh Crisp Chopped Romaine Lettuce Tossed With Reduced Fat Caesar Dressing And Shredded Parmesan Cheese. Top with Grilled Chicken, Shrimp Or Salmon.

Harvest Salad

Grilled Chicken Breast, Berries (Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry Or Strawberry), Low Fat Feta Crumbles, Toasted Chopped Walnuts Served Atop A Generous Mound Of Mixed Greens. Serve With A Reduced Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette Or Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Cobb Salad

Crisp Mixed Greens, Small Cooked Shrimp Or Chopped Cooked Chicken, Chopped Hard Cooked Egg, Avocado, Tomatoes, Black Olive Slices And Chopped Red Onion, Chives Or Green Onion, A Smidge Of Crumbled Roquefort Or Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola With A Dijon Red Wine Vinaigrette.

Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges
Spinach, Sliced Mushrooms, Mandarin Oranges, Toasted slivered almond, red onion rings tossed with a sweet vinaigrette.

Roasted Beet Quinoa & Oranges

Arugula, romaine, kale and radicchio blend and pickled red onions tossed in apple cider vinaigrette and topped with quinoa, Gorgonzola, roasted beets, mandarin oranges and toasted pecan pieces.

Chinese Citrus Cashew with Chicken

Chicken, romaine, napa cabbage, diced cucumbers, fresh pineapple and fresh cilantro tossed in soy-miso lime dressing and topped with mandarin oranges, roasted cashew pieces and hoisin sauce.

Green Goddess Cobb with Chicken

Chicken, arugula, romaine, kale and radicchio blend, vine-ripened tomatoes and pickled red onions tossed in Green Goddess dressing and topped with avocado, bacon and hard-boiled egg.

Spicy Thai with Chicken

Chicken, romaine, edamame, red pepper, shredded carrots, fresh cilantro, cashews, and sesame sticks (these are a fabulous salad topper or party snack), tossed in low-fat Thai chili vinaigrette and drizzled with peanut sauce.

Greek Quinoa

Quinoa, tomato, romaine, kale, diced cucumbers and kalamata olives tossed in Greek dressing and topped with feta and toasted almonds or Spiced Walnuts.

Gorgonzola Pear with Chicken or Shrimp

Chicken or Shrimp, arugula, romaine, kale and radicchio blend, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, toasted pecan pieces, Gorgonzola and diced pear tossed in sweet white balsamic vinaigrette.

Salad in a Jar Perfect to pack for your work or school lunch

Kale, Artichoke, Olive

Chopped baby kale, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, diced red onion, diced red pepper, tofu or feta cheese. Serve with a balsamic vinaigrette with oregano.

Quinoa, Edamame and Cranberry

Chopped Spinach, cooked quinoa, edamame, dried cranberries, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. Serve with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Asian Chicken Cranberry Salad

Coleslaw mix vegetables, cooked chicken, toasted sliced almonds, dried cranberries, tiny diced red onion or green onion, sesame sticks (are a fabulous salad topper or party snack), chopped cilantro in a ginger, soy, garlic, sesame oil dressing. Recipe here.

Asian Cabbage Salad

Savoy cabbage, green cabbage, shredded carrots, diced celery, chopped cilantro,  cashews, sesame seeds, almonds and wonton strips with an Asian Dressing.


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