I’m always on the lookout for new salad inspiration – you know I love my salads!

Last week, I received an email about the Cooking Light Big Book of Salads with a few salad ideas. They suggest starting with 1 1/2 cups of fresh greens, adding a tablespoon of vinaigrette and then give suggestions for boosters that are about 100 calories. I loved these ideas (and pictures) and wanted to share them with all of you. As listed, the salads are portioned for a side salad but I also included ways that you can turn these into a meal.

Asian Salad: 

To turn this salad into a meal, add 2-3 cups additional greens, 1/2 cup red pepper slices, 1/2 cup thinly sliced red cabbage and 4-6 oz of cubed and baked tofu.

Pear Salad: 

To turn this salad into a meal, add 2-3 cups additional arugula, 1/2 cup sliced cucumber and 4-6 oz baked salmon.

Southwest Salad: 

To turn this salad into a meal, add 2-3 additional cups of romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp diced red onion and 4-6 oz grilled chicken.

What are your favorite salad toppings?

18 Comments (Reply )

  1. Faith @ For the Health of It
    May 23, 2012 @ 8:10 am

    That’s an interesting concept, but I use about 3-400 calories worth of boosters. If my salad is going to stand alone as a meal, it has to be pretty hefty! I love avocado + corn + bean + cheese combinations or a stinky cheese + nuts combo. All of the sudden I have a craving for a strawberry/pear gorgonzola salad – thanks!


    • Emily
      May 23, 2012 @ 9:07 am

      Yes, I agree. If it is a meal salad, you could use double the boosters plus some protein. Strawberry + pear + gorgonzola sounds amazing!


  2. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    May 23, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    i love the pear salad idea! but i must say- i rarely eat salads as a meal, they’re usually a side. i do love panera’s strawberry poppyseed salad and want to create it at home this summer.


  3. Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner
    May 23, 2012 @ 8:29 am

    I love this post! I eat salads as meals quite a bit–Taco Salads on Tuesdays are nearly a given with grape tomatoes, avocado, olives, black beans, corn, etc. But I will literally throw just about anything left over in my fridge or pantry on a salad. Grapes are one of my favorite salad components and I, too, would love to recreate Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed salad at home this summer. I’ve never had a salad with tofu on it…something to try soon!


  4. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat
    May 23, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    Love the pear / goat cheese / walnut idea. I’d do beets and chickpeas too. :)


    • Emily
      May 23, 2012 @ 9:08 am

      Beets are what it needed, I was racking my brain and couldn’t figure out what else would “go” with that salad – beets are perfect!


  5. Mellissa
    May 23, 2012 @ 8:50 am

    I saw that email and thought, what a great idea. My lettuce salads have been so boring that I like the ideas of little extra flavors to add without a ton of calories.


  6. Michelle {The Lively Kitchen}
    May 23, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    I love that pear salad! At home, I top with whatever is in the fridge, but generally a nut/seed and some chopped veggies.


  7. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite
    May 23, 2012 @ 9:46 am

    I have definitely gotten into the habit of loading up my salads and am always on the lookout for new ideas! Adoring that pear and goat cheese version!


  8. Kimberly
    May 23, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

    Mmm, I love adding fruit to salads. I recently had a warm goat cheese and walnut encrusted salad and it was delicious – I need to make it at home, it looked super simple!


  9. Brittany @WeHeartVegan
    May 23, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    Chickpeas, nutritional yeast, and avocado!! mmm!!!


    • Emily
      May 23, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

      I wish I had garbanzo beans, I would try that today for lunch! It sounds like a wonderful combination.


  10. Megan (Braise The Roof)
    May 23, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

    I love putting feta on my salads since it’s so much more flavorful than other kinds of cheese (I need to be able to taste it!) with some kind of fruit (grapefruit segments are a favorite) and sliced/chopped nuts. And of course, you could put avocado on a shoulder pad and I’d still eat it.


  11. erin
    May 23, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

    Mmm… love these ideas, especially the pear + goat cheese + salmon one! My fave salad lately: arugula + kale + raspberries + avocado + hard boiled eggs :)


  12. Katie@Real Food Katie's Way
    May 23, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

    I absolutely LOVE Cooking Light magazine…It’s the one and only magazine that I actually read back to front (I subscribe to many healthy living magazines that just get recycled for some reason!)

    Fav salad toppings? Almonds, goat cheese, apples, dried cranberries! How can you tell I live on the sweeter side of life? ;)


    • Emily
      May 23, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

      I used to get Cooking Light….I keep feeling like I should re-subscribe!


  13. Jamie
    May 24, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    This is great! I love my salads too. I have become obsessed with throwing roasted beets with goat cheese and walnuts on a salad. The beets cut down on the need for extra vinaigrette because they are so juicy mixed with the creamy goat cheese! :)


  14. Kristina @ Love and Zest
    May 24, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

    I love salad meals…they transport well too.. toppings faves–def grilled chicken, beans, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, and lime juice


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