40 Best Salad Recipes

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40 Best Salad Recipes

So what is a salad, anyway? If you call it a mixture of vegetables, sometimes combined with meat, that could also be a casserole, right? At Dictionary.com, the definition of salad is “a usually cold dish consisting of vegetables, as lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, covered with a dressing and sometimes containing seafood, meat, or eggs.”  That leaves me with the feeling that salads are merely cold casseroles, and that’s not really how I think of them–the freshest, healthiest foods at many meals. And based on the five-star reviews for salad recipes on our site, I think you’ll agree! Pasta salads, entree salads, side salads…how can you put all of those delicious dishes into one category? I guess that’s the issue. So however you define a salad,  take a look at this collection of 40 of our best salad recipes…and let me know what you think!

Many people think of salads as something fresh and crispy that begins with a base of lettuce. That’s a pretty good starting point, but it’s by no means the only way a salad can be created! Look through the categories and then dive in–try several and maybe even blend a few ideas together to make an original salad recipe of your own.

Summer Salads

Collage of salads

Summer salads take advantage of seasonal veggies and fruit, but many times you can find nearly-as-great produce year-round. There’s something indescribably about juicy, delicious fruits and vegetables combined with a light dressing that just cannot be beaten! Try a few of these and I bet you’ll agree.

1. Cucumber Salad

This salad is loaded with corn, avocado, cucumbers, and tomatoes and takes just minutes to make. And it’s the best way to use up those garden veggies!
One reader said: “I had a ridiculous amount of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden last year (I surely will again this year too)…so this recipe is perfect!”

2. Grilled Steak Salad

Nothing screams summer like grilling! This salad is bursting with good ingredients and all topped with a show-stopping lemon-honey vinaigrette.
One reader said: “Hi! I used this recipe tonight in a chili cook-off and it won!! Thanks to much!”

3. Summer Couscous Salad

This Summer Couscous Salad is a summer must. It’s filled with couscous, smooth mozzarella, roasted crisp corn, sweet cherry tomatoes, and creamy avocados all topped with an irresistible white balsamic vinaigrette!
One reader said: “This salad is to die for! So impressed with how much flavor this healthy dish has!”

4. Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad

This show-stopping Strawberry Poppyseed Salad is the absolute best and takes only minutes to whip together. You’ll want this dressing in the fridge at all times.
One reader said: “I made this for dinner tonight. It’s delicious! That dressing is especially divine! The candied almonds gave it a nice crunch and sweetness. Will definitely make this again! Thanks!”

5. Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

This wildly popular recipe has over 180, 5-star reviews- and for good reason! It’s the perfect summer salad to bring to a bbq or to just have in the fridge!
One reader said: “My fiancé and I have made this recipe 3 times this past week because it’s just.so.good. We cannot get enough! Thanks for a winning summer recipe!”

Best Salad Recipes For Dinner

Collage of dinner salads

Dinner salads are substantial; they can make an entire meal on their own. These entrée salads include pasta, meat, beans and/or other protein sources so that you’re getting all the protein you need. When dinner is this delicious, who needs a heavy roast?

6. Chopped Chicken Salad

With some store-bought shortcuts, this salad can be on the table in minutes. We’re getting all our healthy fats, carbs, and proteins in with this dish and that’s why it makes for the perfect, quick dinner!
One reader said: “So healthy, quick, easy, and delicious!!”

7. Italian Pasta Salad

This salad combines all the best ingredients and makes for the ultimate pasta salad! Make our creamy Italian dressing or grab bottled dressing at the grocery store, whatever you chose you’re going to go crazy for this salad!
One reader said: “This salad came out wonderful. Will add it to my collection. Thanks for sharing.”

8. Chicken Spinach Salad

Get your grill on with this amazing Chicken Spinach Salad. This salad has everything you need to have a well-balanced meal.
One reader said: “This salad is so good I could eat it every day! I made it for my co-worker and I. We both loved it.”

9. Turkey Taco Salad

Turkey Taco Salad is the perfect, healthier alternative to get your taco fix. It’s packed with veggies and topped with a delicious creamy cilantro dressing!
One reader said: “Once again, our dinner was scrumptious — thanks to you! I have been cooking dinners for 36 years, and I can’t remember finding a better selection of dependable, delicious recipes. Your website has become my Corona Cookbook, and I am excited to see what recipes await!”

10. Spring Cobb Salad

This Spring Cobb Salad with the most delicious creamy balsamic dressing is a must-have. Between the eggs, bacon, chicken, and seasonal veggies we have a full-course meal!
One reader said: “This salad absolutely delicious! The dressing was the best dressing I have ever tasted. Thanks for the great recipe!”

Vegetarian Salad Recipes

Collage of vegetarian salads You won’t miss the meat in these salads–the flavors are so vibrant! Serve them as entrées or sides and wait for the compliments to roll in!

11. Butternut Squash Salad

Butternut Squash Salad is a great holiday or seasonal salad, but please don’t limit yourself to just the winter! This salad deserves a spot all year round! The maple-Dijon vinaigrette is a show-stopper!
One reader said: “This is one of the best salads I’ve ever had….The dressing was delicious with real maple syrup. The squash caramelized around the edges and it was so good. Thank you for this recipe.”

12. Kale Salad Recipe

If you’re not sure about Kale, let me convince you. This Kale Salad is truly life-changing. I share all the secrets on how to make your kale delicious and then we top this salad with all the best ingredients, making for the most amazing salad!
One reader said: “This Kale Salad is INCREDIBLE! We brought it to a bbq this weekend and no one could stop raving about it! So flavorful and delicious!!”

13. Quinoa Fruit Salad

Fresh and lively Quinoa Fruit Salad starts with fresh fruits and tender quinoa is all topped with a tangy citrus vinaigrette.
One reader said: “This salad is amazing! A friend of mine recently turned me on to quinoa and when I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to try it… I can’t stop eating it haha it’s so delicious. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It is my new go-to! Yum!”

14. Mandarin Orange Salad

This Mandarin Orange Salad is so loaded with juicy oranges, apples, cranberries, feta cheese, and candied almonds. It’s the perfect vegetarian salad!
One reader said: “I made this for a dinner party and it was one of the most delicious salad ingredient combinations I’ve ever eaten. My guests were gushing with compliments, even the men that aren’t big salad eaters! I’ll make this one again very soon!”

15. Panzanella Salad

Our all-time favorite Panzanella Salad is totally addictive! You’ll love the garlic croutons and tangy balsamic vinaigrette!
One reader said: “hey girl- this salad is amazing!”

Easy Salad Recipes

Collage of easy salads

Most of our salad recipes are pretty straightforward. But sometimes, you just want something super easy, yet super delicious. These easy salads fit the bill!

16. Garden Salad

We can’t talk about easy salad recipes without first hitting this ridiculously easy, and delicious Garden Salad! It whips together in minutes and is packed with flavor!
One reader said: “Delicious but easy salad to make that has amazing taste!”

17. Crispy Chicken Salad

This Crispy Chicken Salad is made with an easy (five-ingredient) honey BBQ dressing. This salad recipe can be made in 25 minutes or less with a few shortcuts!
One reader said: “Was searching for a chicken tender salad and came upon this recipe. Upon seeing it was Chelsea’s I was pretty confident it would be great – it did not disappoint! We both loved it! My husband and I loved it. And we had ALL the ingredients – bonus!”

18. Black Bean Corn Salad

Black Bean Corn Salad is a simple and filling dish bursting with flavor and can be ready in 15 minutes or less! 
One reader said: “Oh this is one of my favorite salads! So filling and fresh. Perfect for summer!”

19. Applebee’s Chicken Salad

This easy restaurant copycat Applebee’s Chicken Salad uses so many store-bought shortcuts, you can have this salad on the table in minutes.
One reader said: “Nothing beats this Applebee’s Chicken Salad! It’s delicious and so quick and easy to make. I will even go as far as to say it’s better than the actual Applebee’s Chicken Salad!”

20. Israeli Salad

We love this simple Israeli Salad with veggies, parsley, and a quick lemon-olive oil dressing.
One reader said: “My granddaughter made this several nights ago and she added an avocado and it was delicious. Great salad and will use the recipe a lot.”

Green Salad Recipes

Collage of green salads

Green salads may sound traditional, but trust me: these salads are totally rocking with flavor! Nutritionists advise eating plenty of greens every day and these salads make it easy and delicious.

21. Costco Kale Salad

This Costco Kale Salad copycat is loaded with great ingredients and the lemon poppy seed dressing whips together in just a few minutes. 
One reader said: “I am not much of a kale fan but I LOVE this salad. YUM!! Thanks for the recipe!”

22. Spinach Salad

Our favorite Spinach Salad with apples, red onions, sweetened dried cranberries, feta cheese, crumbled bacon, candied honey pecans is tossed with an incredible apple-Dijon vinaigrette that takes minutes to assemble.
One reader said: “This recipe and dressing were amazing! I just made it for my family and even my two boys gobbled it down….Thanks for an awesome recipe!”

23. Italian Salad

Delicious and healthy Italian Salad with a perfect Italian dressing and plenty of veggies is easy to customize.
One reader said: “OMG…this salad was amazing. Can’t wait to have friends over to make a big one. Thank you”

24. Beet Salad

You’re going to go crazy for our Beet Salad, complete with all the best toppings and a drizzle of our favorite citrus-balsamic vinaigrette!
One reader said: “OMG this looks delicious! You can just see the flavor in this salad! So vibrant! Love it”

25. Orange Pomegranate Salad

This Orange Pomegranate Salad is not only beautiful but is delicious, too! It has all the best ingredients and is topped with the most irresistible citrus vinaigrette
One reader said: “I made this for Christmas Eve dinner along with roasted veggies and ham. It was delicious! I loved everything about it!”

Pasta Salad Recipes

Collage of Pasta Salads

If you love pasta and also love salad, these recipes will be sure to satisfy. These delicious pasta salads are always crowd favorites and the first ones to go at potlucks! Try some of these easy, five-star recipes, and be prepared to be wowed!

26. Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad overflows with delicious ingredients, including miniature farfalle pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, artichokes, and feta cheese. It’s all topped off with the most amazing oregano-lime vinaigrette!
One reader said: “I absolutely loved this recipe! I’ve been mostly vegan for 45 years, and this was a huge hit with my family! Such a delicious summer meal! Thank you.”

27. Asian Pasta Salad

This viral Asian Pasta Salad is famous for a reason. It is loaded with pasta, spinach, sliced almonds, red peppers, juicy mandarin oranges, carrots, and fresh herbs. It’s all drizzled in an addicting sesame-soy sauce!
One reader said: “Made this for a Sunday dinner gathering. It was a hit. The bowl was licked clean. Everyone loved it. Provided a nice light cooling salad for the heat of summer. Love it will make it again.”

28. Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad

Our favorite Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad is naturally sweetened and loaded with flavor!
One reader said: “Another GREAT recipe! Delicious, colourful, and so easy to make. All my guests asked for the recipe. Many thanks for your wonderful recipes.”

29. Orzo Pasta Salad

Mediterranean-inspired Orzo Pasta Salad with fresh ingredients and a delicious lemon dressing.
One reader said: “One of the best pasta recipes I have ever made. It isn’t hard to make either.”

30. BBQ Pasta Salad

Need an unforgettable salad for your next summer party or potluck? Look no further, this BBQ Pasta Salad is an absolute show-stopper!
One reader said: “I made this last night….It was soooo good. Will make this again!”

Easy Side Salads

Collage of side dishes

Even the best entrée can use a side dish to round out the meal. Salads are a great choice because they’re light, delicious and add in a nice serving or two of vegetables. Here are some of our favorites!

31. Black Bean Corn Avocado Salad

This delicious Black Bean Corn Avocado Salad is fresh, vibrant, and so flavorful! Serve this salad as a side or grab a bag of chips and eat it as your main dish!
One reader said: “Not much of a salad person, but I could eat this for every meal. No other salad compares!”

32. Potato Salad

The best Potato Salad ever! It’s made with Yukon Gold potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, onions, celery, and of course the best creamy dressing!
One reader said: “I really liked this recipe. I wanted a change from my great grandma’s recipe, which is yummy, but pretty sweet. This is tangy and creamy but not too sweet. It’s just what I was looking for. Thanks, Chelsea.”

33. Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad is the perfect summer side dish. The salad is dressed with a creamy mayo-based dressing that is naturally sweetened and loaded with flavor!
One reader said: “It was a very simple recipe to make. It didn’t take long to do and everyone loved it. Thank you”

34. Olive Garden Salad

This Olive Garden Copycat Salad is seriously to die for. It’s simple, packed with good-for-you ingredients, and all topped with the best Italian dressing!
One reader said: “I always just get salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden. NOW I don’t have to go there anymore! This SALAD looks yummy and tastes even better than the version that inspired it. WAY less salty. Love it!”

35. Asian Cucumber Salad

A simple and tasty Asian Cucumber Salad that is light and healthy and makes a perfect side dish for just about any dinner!
One reader said: “I paired this salad with a Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce dish and it was exactly what was needed. It was yummy. I loved that it came together quickly as well.”

Best Salad Dressings

Images of dressings on the site

Dressings are the crowning glory of salads. The flavors tie everything together and add a jolt of zesty flavor.  Many of these dressing recipes are great mix-and-matchers–they can be added to just about any salad, and swapped for other dressings when you find one that you love.

36. Greek Salad Dressing

The best Greek Salad Dressing ever! It’s fresh and the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes!
One reader said: “This dressing has taken all my salads to the next level!”

37. Italian Dressing

Italian Dressing made from scratch is a complete game changer — it’s so much better than store-bought! It’s the perfect crowd-pleasing dressing!
One reader said: “I’ve been putting this dressing on literally everything recently!!”

38. Poppy Seed Dressing

This is our favorite creamy Poppy Seed Dressing! This dressing is thick and creamy with the perfect amount of sweetness and brightened with pops of lemon zest and crackly, crunchy poppy seeds.
One reader said: “I’m a huge poppyseed dressing fan and this was the best I’d ever had! Thanks!”

39. Cafe Rio Dressing

No wonder Cafe Rio Dressing is all the rage in the States —  there is nothing better than this creamy cilantro-lime dressing!
One reader said: “I have made this a few times and it is so delicious! Thank you for sharing it.”

40. Balsamic Vinaigrette

This simple Balsamic Vinaigrette takes mere minutes to whip together and has nicely balanced flavors and a great thickness!
One reader said: “We are obsessed with this balsamic vinaigrette. I could seriously drizzle it on everything! Thanks for a great recipe!”

Salad FAQs

1What are salads, anyway?

My mental vision of salads is a bowl of greens, veggies, and dressings, all tossed together. That’s pretty basic since you can also have pasta salads, entree salads, composed salads…but the general idea is a mixture of cold, fresh ingredients and a delicious dressing.

2How do you wash salad greens?

Salad greens generally need a rinse of cool water, and then a thorough drying. If salad greens are too wet, the dressing won’t cling well and you’ll end up with a soggy mess.

I like to use a salad spinner to get out the excess water, but you can also lay the greens on a towel or paper towel and blot.

3Why is my leftover salad dressing clumping?

Most likely it’s the olive oil in the recipe. Olive oil becomes solid when chilled–which is perfectly normal. To resolve this, take the dressing out of the fridge 20 minutes before serving, so that it can warm up enough to re-mix.

4How do you store leftover salad?

The short answer is that you don’t. The dressing and other juicy ingredients will make the greens soggy and if pasta is involved, it will continue to absorb liquids until it’s inedible.

There’s a solution, though! If you expect to have leftovers, only add dressing to the amount you’ll use right away. Store the salad components separately: greens and sturdy veggies together, and juicy ingredients, and dressing in individual containers. Combine when ready to serve.

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