25 Main Dish Salad Recipes Perfect for Fresh Weeknight Meals

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Mexican Chopped Salad with Jalapeño Dressing
Photo: Jason Donnelly

Say so long to side dish salads and hello to hearty main dish salad recipes! Made with good-for-you ingredients plus fun toss-ins such as avocado and roasted squash, these main dish salads are anything but a side note. Best of all, they each have 10 or more grams of protein—so you know they're dinner-worthy.

01 of 25

Grilled Flank Steak Salad

Grilled Flank Steak Salad
Jason Donnelly

That's right, you can have grilled steak for dinner in less than an hour! While the steak is cooking, you'll also throw some corn, bell peppers, and green onions over the fire. All that smoky flavor makes a delicious main dish salad that looks like it came from a fancy restaurant.

02 of 25

Barley and Edamame Salad with Red Pepper Drizzle

Barley and Edamame Salad
Andy Lyons

For a new twist on spinach salad, try this main course salad packed with whole-grain barley and edamame. The creamy avocado and crunchy almonds add texture while getting the plant-based protein count to 18 grams per serving. With a unique roasted red pepper dressing, this salad is anything but boring.

03 of 25

Mexican Chopped Chicken Salad with Jalapeño Dressing

Mexican Chopped Salad with Jalapeño Dressing
Jason Donnelly

When they say eat the rainbow, this main dish salad recipe definitely fits the ticket. With all of the ingredients lined up in rows, it's almost too pretty to eat. Not only does it look gorgeous, but serving on a platter lets each diner at the table build their own special salad.

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04 of 25

Grilled Pork and Peach Salad

Grilled Pork and Peach Salad
Jason Donnelly

This main dish salad recipe screams summer. Fresh peaches and quick-cooking pork tenderloin get a quick run on the grill. The zippy homemade marinade features honey, orange juice, soy sauce, curry powder, and pepper that's sure to tantalize those taste buds.

05 of 25

Picadillo-Style Chicken Taco Salad

Picadillo-Style Chicken Taco Salad
Andy Lyons

Taco salad is a surefire summer main meal star, and the fact that this loaded salad only takes 30 minutes to make is just an added bonus. Top plenty of shredded lettuce with ground chicken, tomatoes, and crushed tostado shells, and this Mexican-inspired dinner just might win out over your usual taco night.

06 of 25

White Bean Tuna Salad

White Bean Tuna Salad
Andy Lyons

We're not sure what we love most about this main course salad: the yummy combination of cannellini beans, tuna, and arugula, or the fact that it only takes 20 minutes to prepare. Either way, it's our go-to choice for an easy and well-balanced dinner.

07 of 25

Chickpea and Freekah Salad

Chickpea and Freekah Salad
Andy Lyons

Don't stress about dinner tonight—you can make this main dish salad up to 4 hours ahead of time. With chickpeas, whole-grain freekah, and avocado, this salad is sure to hold off hunger for hours. It's the tangy feta and fresh herbs that really drive the Mediterranean flavors home.

08 of 25

Beef and Blue Cheese Salad with Honey-Horseradish Dressing

Beef and Blue Cheese Salad with Honey-Horseradish Dressing
Jason Donnelly

Beef, quinoa, cheese, fruit, and veggies in one bowl make the ultimate main course salad. The longest part of making this 25-minute meal is waiting for the quinoa to cook. So if you like to plan ahead, make a batch of the whole grain to keep in the fridge so supper salads like these come together even faster.

09 of 25

Quick Scallop and Noodle Salad

Quick Scallop and Noodle Salad with radishes
Jacob Fox

Craving noodles for dinner? Skip the extra carbs and dig into these fresh zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) instead. Fresh spinach, cucumber, and radishes help make this main dish salad a veggie-packed wonder. Use our Test Kitchen's tips for cooking scallops to non-rubbery perfection.

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10 of 25

Salmon Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Salmon Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
Jason Donnelly

This easy main dish salad requires no cooking and is ready in 20 minutes thanks to your trusty pantry staple: canned salmon. You'll love the fresh flavor coming from the seasonal strawberries in the light dressing that's got some tang from white balsamic vinegar.

11 of 25

Grilled Corn and Halloumi Salad

Grilled Corn & Halloumi Salad
Andy Lyons

If you haven't had the pleasure of indulging in halloumi cheese yet, allow us to introduce you. The thick Middle Eastern cheese has a high melting point, so it's perfect for the grill. This main dish salad packs 20 grams of protein per serving, so you can definitely work this one into your meatless Monday rotation.

12 of 25

Papaya and Coconut Chicken Salad

Papaya Coconut Chicken Salad
Andy Lyons

This is no ordinary dinner salad. Coconut-crusted chicken breast, blueberries, and papaya give this salad more than a touch of sweetness. But it's not all sweet in this salad—cayenne pepper adds a hint of heat.

13 of 25

Smoked Chicken Salad with Broken Raspberry Vinaigrette

Smoked Chicken Salad with Broken Raspberry Vinaigrette
Jason Donnelly

Think raspberries and greens are an odd couple? Think again! Fresh raspberries help make a mouthwatering vinaigrette for dressing this smoked chicken salad, and sprinkling a few on top at the end adds a delicious burst of freshness.

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14 of 25

Grilled Watermelon-Shrimp Salad

Grilled-Watermelon-Shrimp-Salad
Andy Lyons

With just a handful of ingredients, it doesn't get much easier than this yummy shrimp salad. Skewers of grilled shrimp pair beautifully with grilled watermelon over a bed of salad greens. A zesty lemon-honey dressing completes this hearty salad for dinner.

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15 of 25

Grilled Pork and Veggie Salad

Grilled Pork & Veggie Salad
Andy Lyons

Hearts of romaine get steamy, thanks to a quick flip on the grill (trust us, it's delicious!). Pair the charred greens with pork and onions for one of the hottest main dish salads to ever grace your plate. Don't want to fire-up the grill? Use our directions for broiling the meat and veggies in the oven instead.

16 of 25

Summer Spaghetti Salad

Summer Spaghetti Salad
Andy Lyons

Spaghetti isn't the only noodle in this summer main meal salad. We incorporated strands of string cheese and squash spirals to make this seasonal salad as fun to make as it is to eat. For the crunchy walnut topping, try toasting them in the oven with a bit of oil and salt to really amplify the nutty flavor.

17 of 25

Chicken, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

Chicken Tomato Cucumber Salad
Andy Lyons

No iceberg lettuce here. This sophisticated main dish salad recipe sautés chicken breasts on the stove before adding to a salad bowl exploding with Italian flavor. The quick herb-infused vinaigrette, briny olives, and feta cheese add depth and tang to the Keto-friendly chicken dinner.

18 of 25

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, and Mint

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, and Mint
Andy Lyons

The next time you grab a rotisserie chicken (our favorite shortcut ingredient!) from the store, use it to make this main dish salad. It's got plenty of added fiber and protein thanks to the addition of bulgur and chickpeas. Fresh mint and parsley give your salad a bright finish.

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19 of 25

Zesty Salmon Pasta Salad

Zesty Salmon Pasta Salad
Andy Lyons

Salmon never tasted so good! Our speedy marinade featuring soy and Asian sweet chili sauce really amps up the flavor in this main dish salad. Lasagna noodles and veggies round out the dish for the perfect one-bowl meal.

20 of 25

Pan-Seared Pork and Fried Green Tomato Salad

Fried Green Tomato Salad
Jason Donnelly

The classic crunch-coated Southern appetizer takes center stage in this vibrant vegetarian salad. A can of black-eyed peas offers a strong protein boost, while pan-frying (rather than deep-frying) keeps the calorie count in check.

21 of 25

Pear and Brussels Sprouts Slaw

Pear and Brussels Sprout Slaw
Andy Lyons

Pears and sprouts are an unlikely duo we can't help but love. Combine with dates, walnuts, and a sprinkling of Parm for sweetness, crunch, and salty tang. The addition of cannellini beans bring us to 12 grams of plant-based protein in this main dish salad.

22 of 25

New Potato, Avocado, and Egg Salad

New Potato Avocado Egg Salad
Andy Lyons

Ever had a salad for breakfast? This one might make you a believer in starting the day with a main dish salad. Mix red potatoes, avocado slices, and tomatoes in a creamy mayonnaise dressing, then serve over lettuce with hard-cooked eggs for a hearty and delicious meal.

23 of 25

Barley-Vegetable Salad

Greens and Barley Salad
Jason Donnelly

This good-for-you main course salad is about the veggies, but it also has plenty of barley to keep your stomach from growling later. If you want this salad to look even more enticing, slice the carrots into ribbons instead of the usual sticks or cubes.

24 of 25

Maple Mahi Mahi Salad

Maple Mahi Mahi Salad
Blaine Moats

Make your fish dinner even healthier by serving your seafood with a bright green salad. For your next catch of the day, pair mouthwatering mahi mahi with edamame, napa cabbage, and pea pods. This main dish salad serves two, making it the perfect dinner for date night.

25 of 25

Power Kale Salad

Power Kale Salad
Andy Lyons

Packed with baked chicken breast, orange slices, kale, and pears, this salad is sure to be a satisfying meal. With 35 grams of protein, a serving will definitely make you feel powerful. Use our tips for sectioning citrus fruit to make sure the oranges don't add any bitter flavor to your salad.

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