17 Healthy Salad Recipes Under $3 Per Serving

Wild Rice and Roasted Corn Salad
Photo: Andy Lyons

Eating a healthy diet doesn't have to eat away at your savings. These, our best cheap salads—including taco salads, tuna salads, lentil salads, and more—are as easy on your waistline as they are on your wallet. All of the nutritious entrées clock in at less than $3 and 500 calories per serving.

01 of 17

Buffalo Cauliflower Salad

Buffalo Cauliflower Salad
Blaine Moats

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.

02 of 17

Deviled Egg Salad

Deviled Egg Salad
Karla Conrad

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.

03 of 17

Salsa Verde Beef Taco Salad

Salsa Verde Beef Taco Salad
Jacob Fox

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.

04 of 17

Chicken-Egg Salad

Chicken-Egg Salad
Blaine Moats

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.

05 of 17

Wheat Berry, Sugar Snap Pea, Radish, and Goat Cheese Salad

Sugar Snap Pea, Radish, and Goat Cheese Salad
Jason Donnelly

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.

06 of 17

White Bean Tuna Salad

White Bean Tuna Salad
Andy Lyons

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.

07 of 17

Turkey-Quinoa Salad

Turkey-Quinoa Salad
Blaine Moats

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.

08 of 17

Barley and Edamame Salad with Red Pepper Drizzle

Barley and Edamame Salad
Andy Lyons

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.

09 of 17

Warm Eggplant and Kale Panzanella

Warm Eggplant Kale Panzanella
Blaine Moats

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.

10 of 17

Farro, Chickpeas, and Greens

Farro, Chickpeas, and Greens
Andy Lyons

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.

11 of 17

Gluten Free Mediterranean Lentils

Gluten Free Mediterranean Lentils
Andy Lyons

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.

12 of 17

Chopped Salad Taco

Chopped Salad Taco
Andy Lyons

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.

13 of 17

Panzanella (Bread Salad)

Panzanella (Bread Salad)
Con Poulos/Moving Waters Inc

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.

14 of 17

Lemony Tuna Salad

Lemony Tuna Salad
Blaine Moats

Cheap salad price: $2.24 per serving

Canned tuna can be part of an elegant entrée. Consider this 20-minute cheap, easy salad idea. With fennel, mixed spring greens, tomatoes, and onions, it's as beautiful and tasty as anything you'd find at a restaurant.

15 of 17

Roasted Acorn Squash and Beet Salad

Roasted Acorn Squash Beet Salad
Con Poulos

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.

16 of 17

Breakfast Salad

Breakfast Salad
Hannah Bigot

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.

17 of 17

Indian Garbanzo Bean Salad with Pitas

Indian Garbanzo Bean Salad with Pitas
Jason Donnelly

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.

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