If your perfect meal includes a juicy burger, fries, and a coke, then you may scoff at the idea of a heart-healthy salad for dinner. While salads are often full of fresh veggies, delicious dressings, nuts, and even fruits, they’re not nearly as craveable. If you’ve ever turned down a salad option for a dinner and went with the meat and potatoes instead, there’s good news for you — you can have a salad that’s just as satisfying as your favorite comfort foods. Try out these five salad recipes for a yummy meal that you’ll forget is even a salad in the first place.
1. Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad
If you love the flavors in tacos, nachos, and burritos, then you’ll love this Mexican twist on a salad. There’s no lettuce to be found in this grilled corn and black bean salad recipe from Every Day with Rachael Ray, so it’s far from wimpy. Instead there’s plenty of fresh corn, beans, and cheese to deliver tons of flavor and keep you satisfied.
- 4 ears fresh shucked corn
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 (15-ounce) cans of rinsed and drained black beans
- 1 bunch of trimmed and sliced radishes
- 3 thinly sliced scallions
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
- 4 ounces crumbled queso fresco
- 1 sliced avocado
Directions: Start by preheating your grill to medium. Add corn to the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, or until it’s charred in some areas. Take the corn off the heat and let cool completely.
In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, and ½ teaspoon salt for your dressing. Cut the corn kernels from the cob using a large, sharp knife, and put the kernels into the bowl. Add beans, radishes, scallions, and cilantro, and toss all of the ingredients together.
Plate your salads and top with queso fresco and sliced avocado. For added crunch, add corn chips on top instead of croutons — not only are they less expensive, but their flavor blends better with the Mexican flavors.
2. Grilled Steak and Onion Salad
If you love steak for dinner, then here’s a unique way to get all of the flavors of your favorite meal in a tasty salad. The cooked onions combined with the flavorful steak in Martha Stewart’s salad are reminiscent of a classic steak sandwich. With the homemade croutons, you won’t even be missing out on bread.
- 2 thick slices of crusty bread torn into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 1 (1-pound) pound skirt steak cut into 4 pieces
- 1 red onion cut crosswise into ½-inch thick rounds
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 5 ounces arugula, baby or wild
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
Directions: Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a baking sheet, toss bread pieces in 2 teaspoons olive oil and Parmesan cheese, and then season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown and crunchy for about 7 minutes.
Heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Season flank steak pieces with salt and pepper. Drizzle cut onion with 1 teaspoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper as well. Grill steak and onions together until the onions are tender and the steak is medium-rare, flipping once. The grilling should take between 5 and 7 minutes to complete, and then allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing.
For the dressing, you’ll whisk together mustard, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add arugula and season with salt and pepper. Add onions, steak, and croutons, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
3. Fried Caprese Salad
If the crunch of fried food is what you’re after in a meal, then we have a recipe for you. This fried caprese salad from Bell’alimento puts a tasty, crunchy twist on a Mediterranean classic, and you’ll still be getting all of the fresh flavor from the tomatoes, mozzarella, and herbs. Save it for the next time you’re entertaining — this one’s a real crowd-pleaser.
- 1 large tomato sliced into 3 rounds that are a ½-inch thick
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 large mozzarella ball sliced into 3 rounds that are a ½-inch thick
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- Balsamic vinegar or balsamic cream
- Salt and pepper
Directions: To begin, season the tomato slices with salt and pepper and place onto a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside
Place flour, egg, and panko into 3 separate shallow bowls. These will be used for dredging. Dip a tomato slice into the flour, and lightly tap to remove the excess. Continue to dip into the egg and then into the panko. Place on the plate and continue until all three slices are coated.
In a medium-sized skillet, add oil and heat over medium. When the oil is hot (drop a few bread crumbs in to see if they sizzle), add tomato slices and cook for about 30 seconds on each side. When golden brown, transfer the tomatoes out of the oil and place on a new plate lined with paper towels. Season the tomatoes with salt.
To assemble the salad, place a tomato on the bottom, place a piece of mozzarella on top, and add three basil leaves. Repeat this process with additional layers and garnish with balsamic vinegar or cream over the top.
4. Shrimp BLT Salad
If you love the taste of the ocean in your meals, you no longer have to order expensive seafood dishes at your favorite restaurant to enjoy the flavors. This shrimp BLT salad from Delish is a winner, featuring sweet shrimp and salty, smoky bacon. You won’t feel hungry after devouring this tasty dish.
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon plus a pinch cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 head chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Directions: To start, preheat broiler. In a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Toss shrimp with paprika mixture and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Broil shrimp for about 5 minutes or until pink, flipping once during the cooking.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and chop into small pieces.
For the dressing, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cayenne, and a pinch of sugar until combined in a small bowl. To plate, add shrimp, bacon, and tomatoes on top of romaine and drizzle with dressing.
5. Pastrami and Rye Panzanella
This twist on an Italian classic will have you forgetting you’re not eating a pastrami sandwich straight out of a deli. Country Living’s pastrami and rye panzanella includes the traditional bread and tomato component of panzanella, but adds pastrami to make it even more substantial. If you’ve been craving meat and bread in your dinner, then try this delicious salad variation.
- ½ cup very thinly sliced red onion
- 3 cups cubed light rye bread
- 1 clove garlic
- Fine sea salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 lb. tomatoes
- 2 medium pickling cucumbers
- 2 stalks celery
- ¾ cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
- ¼ lb. sliced pastrami, roughly chopped
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center. In a small bowl, soak onion slices in 1-2 cups cold water for about 10 minutes, swishing the water around and rubbing the slices with your hands. This will mellow the harsh onion flavor so it does not overpower the dish. Strain and repeat this process two or three times. Drain onion slices and pat dry.
Spread bread cubes on a baking pan and bake for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the edges are crispy and the cubes are golden. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes.
For the dressing, place garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Mash the mixture together with a pestle or back of a spoon. Add oil and vinegar and whisk together the mixture until well combined.
Cut cucumbers into very thin half-moon shapes. According to your preference, you can use a vegetable peeler to shave off ribbons and create a zebra pattern in the cucumber before cutting. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, tomatoes, and a ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss to combine and gently press the tomatoes to release some of their juices. Add the chopped pastrami, cucumbers, celery, basil, onions, and parsley.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Garnish each serving with caraway seeds.