24 Main Dish Salad Recipes Perfect for Fresh Weeknight Meals (2024)

Say so long to side dish salads and hello to hearty main dish salad recipes! Made with good-for-you ingredients plus fun toss-ins such as avocado and roasted squash, these main dish salads are anything but a side note. Best of all, they each have 10 or more grams of protein—so you know they're dinner-worthy.

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Grilled Flank Steak Salad

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That's right, you can have grilled steak for dinner in less than an hour! While the steak is cooking, you'll also throw some corn, bell peppers, and green onions over the fire. All that smoky flavor makes a delicious main dish salad that looks like it came from a fancy restaurant.

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Barley and Edamame Salad with Red Pepper Drizzle

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For a new twist on spinach salad, try this main course salad packed with whole-grain barley and edamame. The creamy avocado and crunchy almonds add texture while getting the plant-based protein count to 18 grams per serving. With a unique roasted red pepper dressing, this salad is anything but boring.

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Mexican Chopped Chicken Salad with Jalapeño Dressing

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When they say eat the rainbow, this main dish salad recipe definitely fits the ticket. With all of the ingredients lined up in rows, it's almost too pretty to eat. Not only does it look gorgeous, but serving on a platter lets each diner at the table build their own special salad.

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Southern Pork Tenderloin Salad

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This main dish salad recipe screams summer barbeque. Skip the oven and cook this pork tenderloin indirectly on the grill. Packed with protein and veggies, the recipe also includes a spicy homemade buttermilk dressing and some adorable (and delicious) mini cornbread muffins that can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

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Picadillo-Style Chicken Taco Salad

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Taco salad is a surefire summer main meal star, and the fact that this loaded salad only takes 30 minutes to make is just a bonus. Top plenty of shredded lettuce with ground chicken, tomatoes, and crushed tostada shells, and this Mexican-inspired dinner just might win out over your usual taco night.

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White Bean Tuna Salad

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We're not sure what we love most about this main course salad: the yummy combination of cannellini beans, tuna, and arugula, or the fact that it only takes 20 minutes to prepare. Either way, it's our go-to choice for an easy and well-balanced dinner.

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Chickpea and Freekeh Salad

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Don't stress about dinner tonight—you can make this main dish salad up to 4 hours ahead of time. With chickpeas, whole-grain freekeh, and avocado, this salad is sure to hold off hunger for hours. It's the tangy feta and fresh herbs that really drive the Mediterranean flavors home.

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Beef and Blue Cheese Salad with Honey-Horseradish Dressing

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Beef, quinoa, cheese, fruit, and veggies in one bowl make the ultimate main course salad. The longest part of making this 25-minute meal is waiting for the quinoa to cook. So if you like to plan ahead, make a batch of the whole grain to keep in the fridge so supper salads like these come together even faster.

25 Quinoa Recipes That Will Have You Excited to Eat Whole Grains for Every Meal

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Quick Scallop and Noodle Salad

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Craving noodles for dinner? Skip the extra carbs and dig into these fresh zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) instead. Fresh spinach, cucumber, and radishes help make this main dish salad a veggie-packed wonder. Use our Test Kitchen tips for cooking scallops to non-rubbery perfection.

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Salmon and Spinach Salad with Flaxseed Dressing

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This easy main dish salad requires no cooking and is ready in 20 minutes when you utilize a trusty pantry staple: canned salmon. Just throw everything in a bowl and whip up a batch of dressing made from shallots, garlic, mustard, and flaxseed—a nutritional powerhouse that is packed with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. If you have extra time, you can also cook up some salmon filets on the grill or under the broiler.

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Raw Artichoke Salad with Manchego Cheese

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When fresh spring artichokes are firm and in season, this recipe is the perfect way to show them off—especially when you slice them paper thin with a mandoline. This main dish salad packs 15 grams of protein per serving, so you can definitely work this one into your meatless Monday rotation.

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Papaya and Coconut Chicken Salad

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This is no ordinary dinner salad. Coconut-crusted chicken breast, blueberries, and papaya give this salad more than a touch of sweetness. But it's not all sweet in this salad—cayenne pepper adds a hint of heat.

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Smoked Chicken Salad with Broken Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Think raspberries and greens are an odd couple? Think again! Fresh raspberries help make a mouthwatering vinaigrette for dressing this smoked chicken salad, and sprinkling a few on top at the end adds a delicious burst of freshness.

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Grilled Chicken and Cherry Salad

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This recipe makes the most of summer produce with crunchy broccoli and bursts of fresh cherries. Grill up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts the day before, refrigerate, then toss them in with the salad; or cook and slice freshly-grilled breasts on the spot to serve atop the colorful dish.

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Grilled Pork and Veggie Salad

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Hearts of romaine get steamy, thanks to a quick flip on the grill (trust us, it's delicious!). Pair the charred greens with pork and onions for one of the hottest main dish salads to ever grace your plate. Don't want to fire-up the grill? Use our directions for broiling the meat and veggies in the oven instead.

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Summer Spaghetti Salad

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Spaghetti isn't the only noodle in this summer main meal salad. We incorporated strands of string cheese and squash spirals to make this seasonal salad as fun to make as it is to eat. For the crunchy walnut topping, try toasting them in the oven with a bit of oil and salt to really amplify the nutty flavor.

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Chicken, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

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No iceberg lettuce here. This sophisticated main dish salad recipe sautés chicken breasts on the stove before adding to a salad bowl exploding with Italian flavor. The quick herb-infused vinaigrette, briny olives, and feta cheese add depth and tang to the Keto-friendly chicken dinner.

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Greek-Inspired Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Feta Dressing

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This main dish salad is inspired by horiatiki, a Greek chopped salad made with cucumber, olive, tomato, onion, and feta cheese. For some added crunch, serve this colorful salad with your favorite pita chips (or bake your own from scratch).

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Zesty Salmon Pasta Salad

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Salmon never tasted so good! Our speedy marinade featuring soy and Asian sweet chili sauce really amps up the flavor in this main dish salad. Lasagna noodles and veggies round out the dish for the perfect one-bowl meal.

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Pan-Seared Pork and Fried Green Tomato Salad

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The classic crunch-coated Southern appetizer takes center stage in this vibrant vegetarian salad. A can of black-eyed peas offers a strong protein boost while pan-frying (rather than deep-frying) keeps the calorie count in check.

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Pear and Brussels Sprouts Slaw

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Pears and sprouts are an unlikely duo we can't help but love. Combine with dates, walnuts, and a sprinkling of Parm for sweetness, crunch, and salty tang. The addition of cannellini beans bring us to 12 grams of plant-based protein in this main dish salad.

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New Potato, Avocado, and Egg Salad

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Ever had a salad for breakfast? This one might make you a believer in starting the day with a main dish salad. Mix red potatoes, avocado slices, and tomatoes in a creamy mayonnaise dressing, then serve over lettuce with hard-cooked eggs for a hearty and delicious meal.

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Maple Mahi Mahi Salad

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Make your fish dinner even healthier by serving your seafood with a bright green salad. For your next catch of the day, pair mouthwatering mahi mahi with edamame, napa cabbage, and pea pods. This main dish salad serves two, making it the perfect dinner for date night.

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Power Kale Salad

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Packed with baked chicken breast, orange slices, kale, and pears, this salad is sure to be a satisfying meal. With 35 grams of protein, a serving will definitely make you feel powerful. Use our tips for sectioning citrus fruit to make sure the oranges don't add any bitter flavor to your salad.

24 Main Dish Salad Recipes Perfect for Fresh Weeknight Meals (2024)

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