Greek Quinoa Chopped Salad with Lemon-Feta Dressing
Cheap salad price: $2.74 per serving
This vegetarian salad includes the power grain quinoa and chickpeas to pack in 15 grams of filling protein. Crispy pita chip “croutons,” salty olives, and tangy feta cheese amp up the satisfaction of this cheap, easy salad recipe.
Buffalo Cauliflower Salad
Cheap salad price: $2.57 per serving
Add this chicken wing-inspired dinner to your list of must-taste cheap salads. Tender roasted cauliflower makes a brilliant meat-free “wing.” A citrusy hot pepper sauce spices up the whole recipe and is the perfect partner for the creamy avocado dressing.
Deviled Egg Salad
Cheap salad price: $2.28 per serving
This is one of the best cheap salad recipes to add to your dinner rotation. In place of pricier protein options like steak or salmon, this springy salad features crispy bacon and deviled eggs. Piles of fresh veggies crank up nutrition with vitamins and fiber.
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Salsa Verde Beef Taco Salad
Cheap salad price: $2.00 per serving
A salad that preps itself in the slow cooker? It’s possible with this cheap, easy salad idea. Simmer lean ground beef, beans, salsa, and corn all day for a low-fuss, high-protein lettuce-topper that’s way more affordable than any taco salad you’d order at a restaurant.
Grilled Pork and Veggie Salad
Cheap salad price: $2.64 per serving
Sounds crazy; tastes crazy-amazing. This summery salad is built on a bed of grilled romaine lettuce. Lean yet juicy pork loin, tender grilled green beans, and salty feta cheese complete this warm-weather dinner winner.
Related: 9 Must-Have Grilling Tools
Cheap salad price: $2.97 per serving
In this portable Mason jar meal, grilled chicken and hard-boiled eggs get mixed for flavor harmony and ample protein (23 grams). Although it inches close to the budget price limit, this pint-size meal is a real deal because it comes with a baguette slice on the side.
Wheat Berry, Sugar Snap Pea, Radish, and Goat Cheese Salad
Cheap salad price: $1.87 per serving
Got grains? For a vegetarian salad that satisfies, toss in a fiber-rich starch source like wheat berries, barley, quinoa, or bulgur. (And speed cook time by prepping ’em in the Instant Pot!) In addition to being nutrition powerhouses, these grains are among the best deals you'll find at the supermarket. Each serving of wheat berries in this goat cheese-sprinkled salad costs only 29 cents.
White Bean Tuna Salad
Cheap salad price: $1.48 per serving
Top this low-cost, no-cook tuna and bean salad with fresh-cut parsley for a final punch of fresh flavor. It’s an excellent brown bag lunch idea or sophisticated lunch at home on the quick.
Related: Our Best Healthy No-Cook Recipes
Cheap salad price: $2.93 per serving
Never pay $10 for a takeout lunch salad again. This well-balanced blend of red quinoa, dried fruit, fresh veggies, and leftover turkey breast is easy to prep the night before. Then pack the cheap salad recipe in a meal prep container to tote in an insulated lunch bag to school or work.
Barley and Edamame Salad with Red Pepper Drizzle
Cheap salad price: $2.87 per serving
With 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, one bowl of this hearty whole grain salad is all the evidence you need that meatless meals can keep you full for hours. Contrast textures (like crunchy almonds with creamy avocado) and colors (via fiery red pepper dressing and stark-white goat cheese crumbles) to pump up the pleasure factor of any salad.
Test Kitchen Tip: If you don’t have any barley handy—or can’t find it—try this same cheap easy salad idea with wheat berries, quinoa, or kamut.
Warm Eggplant and Kale Panzanella
Cheap salad price: $2.41 per serving
Braise handfuls of fresh and canned veggies in your slow cooker, then toss with bites of multigrain bread (the staler, the better). The result: A rainbow-color Mediterranean meal—and one of our best cheap salad recipes. Each hefty 1⅔-cup serving contains a nice balance of fiber, protein, and healthy fats that will keep your body and budget happy.
Farro, Chickpeas, and Greens
Cheap salad price: $1.69 per serving
Celebrate fresh summer produce in this recipe of beans, greens, farro, and fresh tomatoes. Each 461-calorie salad is filling as is, but the price tag of this vegetarian recipe allows for enough budget wiggle room to splurge on some protein. Try chicken, shrimp, or steak.
Gluten Free Mediterranean Lentils
Cheap salad price: $2.86 per serving
Stock up on staples like jarred artichoke hearts and refrigerated cooked lentils, then all that's left to do for this stir-and-serve salad is grab some fresh parsley, tomatoes, and cucumber at the farmers market or supermarket. For a hint of tangy, salty goodness, shower each vegetarian entree with a couple tablespoons of feta.
Test Kitchen Tip: To cut the cost even more, cook dry lentils instead of purchasing precooked. Here's how to make them yourself.
Chopped Salad Taco
Cheap salad price: $2.50 per two-taco serving
Tired of the run-of-the-mill taco salad? Try serving a chopped bean and vegetable salad inside a $1.25 taco! A schmear of guac is the glue that holds the salad ingredients on each flour tortilla.
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Panzanella (Bread Salad)
Cheap salad price: $1.58 per serving
Step aside, stuffing. This might be the most delicious way to put day-old bread to good use. The juicy tomatoes and red wine vinaigrette soak into every crusty corner of baguette.
Test Kitchen Tip: This is one of the best cheap salad recipes to clean out your fridge. Fold in cubes of any leftover grilled protein for a lot more protein at a low price.
Lemony Tuna Salad
Roasted Acorn Squash and Beet Salad
Cheap salad price: $2.00 per serving
Introducing: The quintessential cold-weather salad. Loaded with naturally sweet roasted squash and beets and dressed in maple vinaigrette, this affordable salad proves that eating fresh vegetables is within reach any day of the year.
Test Kitchen Tip: If acorn squash isn’t around, try another winter squash, such as butternut or kabocha.
Avocado Egg Salad
Cheap salad price: $1.36 per serving
No need to choose between egg salad and a Mexican-inspired meal. This 20-minute vegetarian lunch combines both in one healthy-fat-packed package. Thicken the dressing by mashing a hard-cooked egg into the citrus-mayo dressing, then spoon it over the avocado, onion, and tomato stacks.
Test Kitchen Tip: For a gluten-free recipe, finish the salad with chopped, toasted walnuts instead of toasted bread cubes.
Cheap salad price: $2.72 per serving
Start your day on a nutritious note. (Or enjoy breakfast for dinner.) This fruit and veggie salad gets a brilliant upgrade via a sprinkle of bagel croutons. Break open the poached eggs on top to blend the rich, runny egg yolks in with the creamy everything bagel-seasoned yogurt dressing.
Indian Garbanzo Bean Salad with Pitas
Cheap salad price: $1.82 per serving
Indian takeout can sometimes err on the oily, carb-heavy side (we see you, deep-fried samosas!), but this no-cook chickpea salad will convince you that Indian recipes can be full of vibrant colors, fresh flavors, and lots of nutrition. A simple lemon-curry dressing coats every bite of the salad with citrusy goodness. Plus, a side of yogurt and pita make this light meal eat like it has many more calories than its 295-per-bowl.
Wild Rice and Roasted Corn Salad
Budget salad price: $2.53 per serving
Not a fan of lettuce? This dish proves a recipe doesn't need to include one leaf of greens to be a "salad." This perfect-for-summer creation contains grilled corn, wild rice, and chickpea. You get plenty of green goodness from avocado and basil, but serving it on a bed of lettuce ups your quotient.