Have Fun with Salads!

Created by: Kristen Carli, Dietetic Intern

Salads are a great way to incorporate more plant food into your diet: fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc! They can be served as a side dish along with your main meal or they can be your entree. Utilize all sorts of ingredients to create endless combinations. Follow the tips below to build a variety of different types of salads. Mix and match ingredients by choosing from each of the columns below.


Start with leafy greens.

  • Arugula
  • Boston lettuce
  • Escarole
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Kale
  • Mixed greens
  • Napa cabbage
  • Radicchio
  • Romaine
  • Spinach


Chopped, diced, shredded, or whole

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Bell pepper
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Water chestnuts
  • Zucchini


Fruits can be great in salads. Explore different varieties and discover your favorites.

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Dried cherries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Melon
  • Pear
  • Raisins
  • Strawberries


Beans can provide a perfect addition of plant-based protein and extra fiber to your salads.

  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Edamame
  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans

Entree Salad Proteins:

For a main dish salad, add a larger source of protein.

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Tuna
  • Turkey


Add flavor and variety by sprinkling on cheese, nuts, etc.

  • Blue cheese
  • Cheddar
  • Feta
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Avocado
  • Chow mein noodles
  • Croutons
  • Olives
  • Sunflower seeds

Example Combinations:

  • Romaine, chicken strips, black beans, corn, grape tomatoes, and avocado
  • Mixed greens, chickpeas, cucumbers, blueberries, pecans, and feta cheese
  • Napa cabbage, red onion, mandarin oranges, shrimp, and sliced almonds


To finish it off, top with a store-bought low-fat dressing, or dress with olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper.

Material adapted from eatrightpro.org

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