Summer is here. And it’s hot! Too hot to cook. And in the summer, I crave cool foods. Those of you who eat hot soup in the summer…more power to you. But not in my house. Soup is a winter food. But let’s not talk about soup. Let’s talk about salads. Main Dish Salads. I love salads and eat one probably 5 days a week. In this post, I shared a list of ingredients to make a variety of salads.
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Today, I’m going to share a week’s worth of main dish salads, each a different type. These are some of the ones I choose most often for lunch, but we usually have a salad at least once a week for supper too.
A week of Main Dish Salads
Pesto Pasta Salad–grilled chicken, cooked pasta (any shape), tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, tossed with pesto. This can also be served over lettuce if desired.
Greek Salad–grilled chicken, olives, feta cheese, cucumber, red onion (or pickled red onions Yum!), tomatoes, served on lettuce and topped with Greek dressing. I recently tried this recipe and loved it.
Pepperoni Pasta Salad-pepperoni, cooked pasta (any shape), red onion, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, bell peppers, Italian dressing. Stir some chopped lettuce in just before serving. (You can see I forgot the lettuce in the picture above!)
Chicken Salad-chopped chicken, chopped onion, a squirt of mustard, mayo, and pickle relish, served on a lettuce leaf. You can add more to this if you like, but I prefer my chicken salad fairly plain. I love serving this with croissants that I pick up from Aldi.
Tools that make your main dish salads easier
Because we eat so many salads, there are several tools that make fixing salads a lot easier. Most of the tools below are ones I use (or similar to ones I use.) (Please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you purchase something through a link. It will not change your cost. For more information, check out my disclosures page.)
- salad spinner-This is the best way to dry lettuce. Buying lettuce loose and washing it yourself saves lots of money and also ensures the lettuce is as fresh as possible. This is the salad spinner I use and love.
- salad bowl-Amazon has a variety of nice looking salad bowls, but truly any large bowl will work just fine.
- salad tongs-Salad tongs make serving your salad so much easier. There are many different types but I prefer this type. Plus they serve double duty as tongs to flip meat on the grill and so much more. I use mine almost every day.
- salad dressing bottle-You need some type of bottle to mix up your salad dressings. I usually use a mason jar and a whisk to mix my ranch dressing and honey mustard together. However vinagrettes typically require a bit more emulsification, so a bottle like this works much better.
Breads to serve with your salad
When I have a salad for lunch, I typically don’t fix a side of bread. I don’t really need the carbs. However, when I serve a salad as a meal at supper, I try to have some type of bread to fill my three (four if you count the husband) boys up. Some quick and easy breads are:
- garlic bread-Buy a loaf of french or Italian bread and spread it with a mix of butter, garlic powder, and parsley. Toast in the oven.
- Brazilian Cheese Bread-This is a gluten-free bread made with tapioca flour. It is unusual but very delicious.
- rolls-My favorite whole wheat roll recipe is from Jami at An Oregon Cottage. She has lots of pictures and even a video of the process if you aren’t used to making bread with yeast.
- biscuits-You can’t go wrong serving biscuits anytime.
- cornbread-While it make an unusual bread side for a salad, it is delicious and always well received at my house.
- croissants-Enough said!
If I am serving a pasta salad, I will often serve a side of fresh fruit instead of bread. Strawberries, watermelon, peaches or whatever is in season works well. Applesauce is always a quick standby if I don’t have any fresh fruit in the house.
Hopefully this has given you some new ideas for main dish salads. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. Do you have any favorite salads that you make? If so, leave a comment and let me know. I love new salad recipes to try.
A few helpful links:
Check out this post for some tips for kids that don’t like salad.
You can find my easy, four ingredient honey mustard dressing right here. This is my kid’s favorite dressing. It goes great with a ham and cheese salad, but they also use it for chicken nuggets.
For other ways to season chicken to keep your salads from getting boring, check out this Meal Prep Chicken. The post explains how to bake it, but you can always leave the breast whole and grill them to keep from heating up your kitchen.