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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
    Paella Rice Salad

    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.

    Make paella rice salad

  • Beans and Rice Salad 2 of 20
    Beans and Rice Salad

    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.

    Make beans and rice salad

  • Mexican Green Rice Salad 3 of 20
    Mexican Green Rice Salad

    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!

    Make Mexican green rice salad

  • Greek Quinoa Salad 4 of 20
    Greek Quinoa Salad

    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!

    Make Greek quinoa salad

  • Warm Spinach Salad 5 of 20
    Warm Spinach Salad

    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.

    Make warm spinach salad

  • Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad 6 of 20
    Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad

    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?

    Make black bean, corn, and avocado salad

  • 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.

    Make panzanella

  • Orzo Salad with Cannellini Beans and Olives 8 of 20
    Orzo Salad with Cannellini Beans and Olives

    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 jetset to a faraway island without ever leaving your dinner table.

    Make orzo salad with cannellini beans and olives

  • Pear Salad with Walnuts and Feta 9 of 20
    Pear Salad with Walnuts and Feta

    Crunchy walnuts, sweet pears, and soft feta make this salad a complete knockout!

    Make pear salad with walnuts and feta

  • Raspberry and Scallop Salad 10 of 20
    Raspberry and Scallop Salad

    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!

    Make raspberry and scallop salad

  • Apple Pear Gorgonzola Salad 11 of 20
    Apple Pear Gorgonzola Salad

    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!

    Make apple pear gorgonzola salad

  • Buffalo Chicken Salad 12 of 20
    Buffalo Chicken Salad

    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.

    Make buffalo chicken salad

  • Oriental Chicken Salad 13 of 20
    Oriental Chicken Salad

    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!

    Make oriental chicken salad

  • Sante Fe Chicken Salad 14 of 20
    Sante Fe Chicken Salad

    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.

    Make Santa Fe chicken salad

  • Blueberry Shrimp Salad with Lemon Dressing 15 of 20
    Blueberry Shrimp Salad with Lemon Dressing

    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!

    Make blueberry shrimp salad with lemon dressing

  • Classic Cobb Salad with Red Wine Lemon Vinaigrette 16 of 20
    Classic Cobb Salad with Red Wine Lemon Vinaigrette

    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.

    Make classic cobb salad with red wine and lemon vinaigrette

  • Italian Salad and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette 17 of 20
    Italian Salad and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

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

    Make Italian salad and fresh basil vinaigrette

  • Lightened-Up Taco Salad 18 of 20
    Lightened-Up Taco Salad

    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!

    Make lightened-up taco salad

  • Jamaican Rice Salad 19 of 20
    Jamaican Rice Salad

    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.

    Make Jamaican rice salad

  • Peanut Kale Salad 20 of 20
    Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 12.12.28 PM

    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!
    Make peanut kale salad


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