build it better: entree salads

I love big salads.  They are a great way to get in tons of fresh veggies, good fats and protein and they don’t weigh you down like heavy meals can. They are energizing and always make me feel great!

In order to make a salad filling enough for a meal, though, you’ve got to be sure that you incorporate the right mix of ingredients: lots of fiber-filled fresh vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and a combination that tastes great!

My Tips for Building a Healthy Salad: 

Green Base: I like to have a few varieties of greens – something crunchy and something dark!

  • Romaine
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Herb Salad Mix
  • Dark Greens (Kale, Chard, etc.)

Veggie Toppings: 

  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Roasted Veggies (Squash, Sweet Potato)

Protein/Fat/Flavor Toppings: 

  • Lean Protein: Beans, Chicken, Fish, Tofu, Eggs, Cottage Cheese
  • Healthy Fats: Avocado, Nuts, Hemp Seeds, Olives
  • Flavor: Cheese (I like to use a really flavorful cheese like Feta, Goat, Blue, etc), Fresh Herbs, Fresh or Dried Fruits


  • Bottled Dressing (like Annie’s or some of the other organic/natural brands)
  • Simple: drizzle of olive oil, squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper
  • Favorite Vinaigrette: chopped shallots + olive oil + lemon juice or vinegar + mustard + salt & pepper
What are your favorite salad combinations, I’m always looking for healthy, delicious and satisfying salads! 


  1. Corinne says

    I love big salads for dinner, even during the winter! I made a chili lime shrimp salad last week (check it out on my blog!) that was hearty and light at the same time. If that makes sense …lol

  2. says

    great salad guide! lately i’ve been grating carrots instead of chopping them to make it a little different, but to make salads special i also love to make my own croutons. they are definitely better/healthier than storebought.

  3. says

    Your photos are so beautiful Emily! I love big salads also. One of my favorites is a southwestern salad with romaine, shredded chicken, sliced bell pepper, black beans, cheese and a simple dressing made from combining salsa and light ranch dressing!

  4. says

    Love this post! I go hot and cold with salads, but if it’s a big salad with all the fixin’s then I am in :) My favorite is a spring mix salad with goat cheese, dried cranberries and a homemade balsamic-honey-mustard vinaigrette!

  5. says

    I’m eating a giant salad as I read this. I bring a ton of produce to work on MOnday and eat salads for lunch most days. I will also take whatever we had the night before and eat it over greens the next day. Things like chili, pasta, grains and beans – you name it, you can put it on greens! :)

  6. says

    I love a good salad! I like to load up on all sorts of veggies. I’m not a fan of meat in my salads so I’ve started adding egg to get some protein.

  7. says

    I love Mexican salads because usually I can get away with hardly any dressing. Just some fresh salsa and a little sour cream over grilled shrimp, avocado, and black beans … all on a bed of fresh spinach. perfect! Oh, and I guess I crush tortilla chips over the top, too. :)

  8. says

    Love this post! I get my salads mostly from my college cafeteria salad bar, but luckily the options aren’t that bad!
    My salad combo looks like this: spinach, cucumber, green pepper, tofu, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, black olives, and a drizzle of red wine vinegar.
    Its not too light or too heavy, and I randomly threw this together one day and loved the flavor combo.

    • Emily says

      I LOVED the salad bar at my college cafeteria! I miss having someone else prep all the veggies! :) Your combo sounds great!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>