When it comes to side dishes, tossing a quick salad is a great go-to. Bowl after bowl of greens can seem sort of uninspired after a while, though. Give your cooking routine a shake-up with one of these 6 recipes that takes lettuce out of the equation. They’re hearty, healthy, and completely delicious. And just like greens, these dishes can easily morph into complete meals with a little bit of grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu. You’ll never look at salads the same way again.
1. Spring Pea Farro Salad
When you’re craving something fresh that’s still satisfying, a grain salad with plenty of spring veggies might be exactly what you need. Gaby Dalkin says this asparagus- and pea-filled dish “is an easy weeknight meal or lunch that’s celebrating a few of the best parts of spring.” We couldn’t agree more. The veggies make it refreshing for a spring day, but the farro and cheese add just enough heft to make it main dish-worthy.
Pea tendrils aren’t strictly necessary, but they add a nice touch. Dalkin’s also a huge fan of the springtime garnish, saying, “I’ll be consuming them in mass quantities until somebody makes me stop.” Even without the topping, this is a winning dish that you’ll want to add to the regular rotation.
Visit What’s Gaby Cooking for the recipe.
2. Cucumber Radish Salad With Creamy Yogurt Dill Dressing
Baby greens might have plenty of fresh flavor, but they’re definitely lacking in the crunch department. This veggie combo has great snap that manages to be both satisfying and light. It’s also a great way to showcase radishes, which tend to get overlooked in the produce department. “They’re crunchy and refreshing with a surprise ‘bite,'” Laurenda Bennett says.
While this recipe makes a great everyday side or lunch, it’s also a chance to bring something a little bit unexpected to a party or potluck. And don’t worry about being “that person” who brings something healthy, because the combination of crunchy vegetables and creamy dressing is a winning duo everyone will love. Bennett says she made this for a gathering and “there wasn’t a drop left in the bowl.”
Visit Laurenda Marie for the recipe.
3. Grilled Asparagus and Feta Salad
Shaved, raw asparagus is a beautiful salad, but even a huge bowl will leave your stomach growling in about 30 minutes. Show off this spring veggie’s hearty side by getting some nice char on the grill and then adding in some cheesy goodness. “This salad is the kind of wholly satisfying dish that makes you wonder if you might possibly be a a very happy vegetarian,” Jennifer Segal says.
While this salad makes a perfect accompaniment to any suppertime spread, it can also serve as a pretty stellar main course. “All you need to complete the meal is a hunk of warm, crusty bread to sop up all the lemon-scented olive oil and feta,” Segal says. It’s also a great lunch-box option because it’s just as delicious cold as it is warm.
Visit Once Upon a Chef for the recipe.
4. Shaved Golden Beet, Carrot, and Radish Salad with Coriander Mustard Vinaigrette
Introduce beets to the warmer months with this elegant dish of shaved veggies. Though she’s not much of a beet fan, Sylvie Shirazi thought she should give them another shot. While easing herself into the world of beets, she found color really does matter. She says it’s wise to choose golden beets, because they have a flavor that is “typically milder than the more common red ones.”
She also discovered that the type of preparation is equally important. Instead of going the typical roasted route, Shirazi tried something a little bit different. “Shaved paper thin and paired with equally thin slices of sweet, young carrots and peppery radishes, the ‘earthy’ taste took a backseat to the symphony of crunch and freshness,” she says. Though it’s possible to slice the veggies with a sharp knife, we suggest you follow Shirazi’s lead and use a mandolin for the most consistent results.
Visit Gourmande in the Kitchen for the recipe.
5. Mushroom, Artichoke, and Red Pepper Salad
Apart from a cheesy dip with spinach, artichokes don’t get much attention. And it’s not too hard to understand why when you get a load of how much preparation is involved with these finicky veggies. To speed things up without sacrificing any flavor, Vicky Berman uses jarred artichoke hearts. With just 6 ingredients, each of the veggies gets a chance to shine in this delicious dish.
Berman was inspired to create the recipe when she saw something similar in the prepared-foods section at the grocery store. She isn’t too keen on buying ready-made products, though. After the initial light-bulb moment, she thought, “I would make my own version of this dish at home.” She loves what she created. While Berman likes this salad as a stand-alone appetizer, it’s equally as wonderful on top of some crostini.
Visit Avocado Pesto for the recipe.
6. Greek Broccoli Salad
Take everything you thought you knew about broccoli salad and throw it out the window. Kate Taylor gives the picnic classic a total makeover by getting rid of the mayo and raisin combo, then swapping in lemon dressing, feta cheese, garlic, and some sun-dried tomatoes. She was looking to eat a little healthier after a taco-filled trip to Austin, and this bright side was the result.
While many Greek salads call for a combination of feta and olives, Taylor says to choose one or the other because “they overpowered the other flavors once combined.” This side dish is good to go once it’s mixed, but you might want to make it ahead of time. “For best flavor, let the salad rest for 30 minutes before serving so the broccoli really has a chance to marinate in the bold, lemony dressing,” Taylor says. A salad that gets better as it sits? Sounds like a winner.
Visit Cookie and Kate for the recipe.