Think a lunchtime salad can't be delicious, healthy, and satisfying? Think again! The key to a winning bowl of greens is a combination of delicious ingredients—with different flavors and textures—that will fill you up and provide you with the nutrition to keep you energized for the afternoon without weighing you down.
With just a little prep over the weekend (wash your greens, chop some fruits and veggies, boil a few potatoes, cook some soba noodles), making energizing and filling lunches for the week is relatively effortless. So instead of having another bland salad (or food coma-inducing take-out meal), try one of these six recipes—you'll be looking forward to lunch all morning.
1. Avocado, Corn, and Cilantro Bliss
If you're not a salad person, this may just transform you into one. And if you are a salad person, get excited, because this delicious (and simple!) combination will undoubtedly become a regular part of your repertoire. Just make extra—you’re sure to want more than just one bowl.
Add tomatoes, avocado, corn, scallion, and cilantro to greens. Then add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss to combine—and you’re done!
2. Solie's Signature Salad
Using all nutritious and hearty ingredients—vegetables, fruits, nuts, olive oil, and cheese—this salad is one of my personal staples that everyone else seems to love, too. Add some grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp on top to make it even more filling.
Wash and spin dry the greens and place them into the salad bowl. Add sliced apples or pears, onion, dried cranberries, and cheese. Top with your nuts of choice.
To make the dressing, put raspberry preserves in a bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste and combine well so that the preserves are thoroughly incorporated. Pour as much dressing as you like to your salad (I usually add a little less than half of what I made and save the rest for another salad) and toss.
3. Persian Shirazi Salad With a Protein Twist
The traditional Persian shirazi is enjoyed throughout Iran and is typically made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and fresh herbs (usually parsley). I often add chickpeas for a hearty lunch that will hold me over through the afternoon, but feel free to omit them for a light salad that accompanies your lunch or dinner.
This one’s pretty simple—combine all ingredients in a large bowl and get eating!
4. Spectacular Spinach and Persimmon Salad
If you haven't tried persimmons, definitely go and pick some up today! The combination of toasted almonds with the ripe and juicy persimmons in this salad is heavenly, and the simple olive oil and vinegar dressing is the perfect accompaniment.
Arrange spinach and persimmons in a large bowl. Place almonds in a pan and gently toast them over medium heat for a few minutes, turning them with a wooden spoon so that they don't burn. Add almonds to salad and top with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Spicy Sesame-Soy Soba Noodles
My husband and I make trips to the Asian and Middle Eastern markets on a monthly basis to stock up on seemingly "exotic" ingredients that were basics in each of our homes growing up. As a lover of soba noodles, edamame, and cilantro, I figured why not combine them all into a tasty noodle creation with a sauce incorporating some of my favorite ingredients from the Asian market (you can easily find most of them at your local grocery store, too). Enjoy it for a nice, light dinner or make a big batch over the weekend and eat for lunch the rest of the week!
Boil soba noodles according to package instructions. Once they are done, you can either shock them in ice water or run cold water over them until they’ve cooled off.
While the soba noodles are cooking, prepare the edamame. I get the Trader Joe's brand that you can find in the frozen section—it comes either fully cooked or uncooked, and both are delicious.
In a separate bowl, make the sauce by combining the olive oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and balsamic, and mix thoroughly.
Divide cooked soba noodles into bowls and add desired amount of edamame, cilantro, and scallion. Top with plenty of yummy sauce, then grab your chopsticks and get busy.
6. Heart Healthy Potato Salad
I love potato salad but can definitely do without the loads of mayo that most recipes call for. That's why I set out to make a heart-healthy version sans the mayo. The result? A dish that is hearty yet light, healthy yet incredibly satisfying.
Place potatoes into a pot filled with about an inch of water and a dash of salt. Let water come to a boil, then lower to medium heat. Allow potatoes to cook for about 20 minutes or until a fork easily pierces through them. Let the potatoes cool off for 10-15 minutes, and cut them once lengthwise and once widthwise (approximately 1 inch pieces).
In a bowl, combine the chives, red onion, olive oil, mustard, and garlic. Add the potatoes and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!
Solmaz is a practicing physician specializing in internal medicine, committed to preventive medicine and mind/body wellness. A graduate of Stanford, she ventured back to her roots on the east coast for med school and residency. She blogs her delicious and healthy recipes as well as hot topics in prevention and wellness at All is Well That Eats Well. Say hi on Twitter @DrSolmazA, “like” her Facebook page to receive recipe updates, or follow her on Pinterest!More from this Author