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20 Salads Hearty Enough for Tonight's Dinner


We love to make big salads for dinner at our house. The salad that I make most frequently is a taco salad. It’s one of my comfort foods. But I also make lots of other different varieties, including rice and pasta salads.  Including meat, beans, or whole grains is a great way to add more substance to a salad. I also like to sometimes include a nice cheese in place of a meat and add lots of nuts or seeds. Salads like the ones I have in the slide show below are hearty enough to make your whole family happy, but if you’re worried they won’t be quite enough, you can easily supplement with fresh crusty bread and grilled chicken breasts (or tofu) if the salad is vegetarian.

Paella Rice Salad 1 of 20
For a cool summer take on this typically warm dish, keep the veggies raw and just cook the rice! You can also mix it up by using shrimp instead of chicken, or take out the meat entirely for a vegetarian option.

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Beans and Rice Salad 2 of 20
A great summer twist on the classic rice and beans. Chock full of yummy veggies, this salad could easily take the place of an entree.

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Mexican Green Rice Salad 3 of 20
This gorgeous green rice salad gets its color from fresh spinach, cilantro, and lime. If you like a little spice, add jalapeños for an extra kick!

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Greek Quinoa Salad 4 of 20
Quinoa has become a trendy seed these days, and for good reason — it's nutritious and delicious! It works amazingly well as the base for this Greek salad. Just throw in a handful of feta, and you're good to go!

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Warm Spinach Salad 5 of 20
Eggs, bacon, onion, and tomatos unite to make this delicious spinach salad. The secret is in the dressing ... that's right, there's extra bacon drippings in there for a little extra indulgence.

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Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad 6 of 20
Avocados just scream summer, and this salad is full of them! Mixed with black beans, corn, and tomato, it's like an entire Mexican dinner in one bowl. Margaritas, anyone?

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Panzanella 7 of 20
A salad with bread? Count us in! This panzanella recipe includes tons of seasonal veggies and provides a fabulous way to use up your day-old bread.

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Orzo Salad with Cannellini Beans and Olives 8 of 20
This salad has a distinctly Mediterranean feel to it — between the orzo, the feta, and the two different kinds of olives, you'll feel like you've jet set to a faraway island without ever leaving your dinner table.

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Pear Salad with Walnuts and Feta 9 of 20
Crunchy walnuts, sweet pears, and soft feta make this salad a complete knockout!

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Raspberry and Scallop Salad 10 of 20
This salad incorporates all the tastes of summer in one bite! Raspberries, mangos, and avocados on a bed of mixed greens — all topped with some beautiful seared scallops — sounds just about perfect!

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Apple Pear Gorgonzola Salad 11 of 20
Stinky cheese alert! If you can get past the smell, gorgonzola makes a great addition to any salad with fruit. The sweet and tang are a match made in heaven!

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Buffalo Chicken Salad 12 of 20
If you want to amp up your salad with some protein, this buffalo chicken salad is the perfect option. Drizzled with a touch of blue cheese dressing, it'll be a sure-fire family favorite in no time.

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Oriental Chicken Salad 13 of 20
Garlic, onions, sesame oil, ginger, and marinated chicken combine to make for a meal that rivals Chinese takeout! To take this bowl up a notch, simply toss in some chow mein noodles. Yum!

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Santa Fe Chicken Salad 14 of 20
This salad packs some serious spice! Between the dry rub on the chicken and the dressing with cumin, paprika, and coriander, your taste buds will be thanking you.

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Blueberry Shrimp Salad with Lemon Dressing 15 of 20
Blueberries are still in season, and this salad is a great excuse to take advantage of that. Mixed with pecans, feta, and shrimp, this odd combo not only looks beautiful on the plate, but will feel good in your belly, too!

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Classic Cobb Salad with Red Wine Lemon Vinaigrette 16 of 20
This salad has everything but the kitchen sink, and promises to satisfy any craving you have! Not to mention it's stunning — the perfect dish to bring for your next summer potluck.

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Italian Salad and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette 17 of 20
This lettuce-less Italian salad is full of olives, tomato, peppers, and onions and topped with a vibrant green basil dressing. Molto bene!

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Lightened-Up Taco Salad 18 of 20
Taco salad is just the best, but it can be really heavy and full of fatty foods and toppings. This version cuts down on the fat but still keeps the amazing flavor and texture we all love. It's win-win!

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Jamaican Rice Salad 19 of 20
Sweet pineapple gives this salad a tropical twist! That's coupled with a punch of flavorful and spicy dressing, making for a perfectly balanced side dish.

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Peanut Kale Salad 20 of 20
Peanuts add a bit of crunch to this savory kale bowl. Have a hankering for something spicy? Top it with ginger and cayenne for an extra zing!

Get the recipe here
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