20 Main Dish Salads to Continue Your Healthy January Adventure

{print recipe for Kalamata Egg Salad with Charred Red Peppers}

If you’re not trying to get healthy this month, you might still want to read this week’s post featuring main dish salads.  Even if all you managed to accomplish was to clear out your entire cellar’s store of Pinot Noir but skipped every red, green, and silver Hershey’s kiss you encountered (and so didn’t gain an ounce in December), you could drum up interest in hefty, heart-warming and filling whole meal salads–if nothing else but to figure out what to do with leftover steak (leftover steak?!), those couple of lonely pork chops, an oh-so-sad single portion of salmon, one languishing chicken breast with wing attached, or perhaps only a drawer full of vegetables and cheese with little else to recommend them but a poached egg or two and maybe a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

For a few years, I did my best to maintain two blogs.  This one, and another:


Both blogs contain some beautiful salads.  When Dinner Place came to a logical stopping spot, I often thought of trying to combine the two blogs, but never managed it.  Occasionally, on days like today, I find a way to blend the two and you’ll see some links back to Dinner Place for a few of these tempting healthy meals.  That old blogging platform did not support {print recipe}, so in the those cases, I include a link to the original post, but have created a new printable recipe right here within More Time.

Aren’t in the habit of making dinner salads? Try these…

..tips to be ready to create your new masterpieces:

  • Splurge on fresh Campari  (or similar) tomatoes in the winter and keep a bunch of your favorite crispy greens cleaned, dry, and ready to go.
  • Grow a fresh herb pot or two in your south window, should you have one. (Or buy what’s available at the store–parsley, basil, cilantro.)
  • Buy extra protein (like one more chop or an extra fish fillet or two) and plan on a next-day salad.
  • Stock up on whole grains, canned beans and tomatoes, canned salmon and tuna, baby potatoes, onions, garlic, and shallots.
  • Think about investing in some high-quality oils and vinegars. Do a little research and tasting. Worthwhile! Amortize the cost over the months it’ll take you to use up those precious bottles and go for it. You’ll eat out less if the food is better at home.
  • Store in your freezer individually-portioned fish and chicken, shrimp, small packages of bacon or ham, and sausage
  • Keep these in the fridge– celery, carrots, fennel, leeks, cucumbers, and your favorite white wines and cheeses. Buy grateable hunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano, not pre-grated tubs that may contain cellulose.
  • For a basic green salad, make your vinaigrette fresh every time in the bottom of a big salad bowl  (I like a stainless steel bowl) and then add the ingredients. Use fresh garlic or shallots and/or fresh chopped herbs along with the best quality oil and vinegar you can afford. Season that vinaigrette well; it will dumb down once on the salad.  If you don’t have a whisk, buy one for your vinaigrette. (Small ones are nice.) Toss salad thoroughly for a minute or two until everything has been covered a little. Taste, season again if needed, and toss one last time. Serve right away. (Need to wait a few minutes? Stick in fridge before tossing; toss when needed.)
  • Buy some large salad serving plates/bowls or inexpensive pasta bowls for your salads. Chill your serving plates and bowls if there’s time.
  • Need more flavor in your salads? Don’t forget to season the greens (a variety is tasty if you have it), vegetables, and meat (if using) with salt and pepper, minced fresh herbs, along with a pinch of Aleppo or crushed red pepper–before you add oil and vinegar, dressing, or vinaigrette. Try squeezing a little lemon juice over the salad before you add the vinaigrette for an extra oomph and bite.  A few grinds of black pepper over everything just before serving or a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or other cheese) might be helpful on some salads, as well.
  • Want wine with your salad? My old adage, “Pair the prep, not the protein,” is totally true with main dish salads. Vinegars often fight with wine (think about it), but do a little research and testing yourself and you’ll discover what’s drinkable with what for YOU. A rule of thumb is that many vinaigrettes pair better with a wine that is off-dry or at least quite fruity, though a Sauvignon Blanc often drinks beautifully with a green salad. Also, folks say, “Salty likes sweet.”  That makes it hard, but understandable because cheese loves sweeter wine, too.  Another idea is this:  use wine in place of the vinegar and see if you like that vinaigrette better when drinking wine.  Here’s a quick guide I like.   Read this is you’re thinking about a blue cheese dressing or a steak salad with blue cheese.

Main dish salads...give them their due! This sort of food is just what we need right now and maybe once or twice a week all year long. Finding a great platter +/or a beautiful bowl (try thrift stores) and spending a minute or two arranging ingredients for the inevitable, “Ah, ha!” moment are all part of the making salad adventure. Try these and have fun doing a bit of tasty, beautiful eating while becoming a salad artiste:


{print recipe for both chicken salads}


{print recipe}

TIP:  While not your typical salad, this is so close and really fresh, lovely, and filling that I include it here. If you live where it’s truly winter outside, this can be easily accomplished indoors with a stovetop grill–a piece of kitchen equipment I couldn’t cook without.

Need another chicken salad?  Try BABY KALE AND CHICKEN SALAD–10 MINUTES TIL DINNER.  Uses bone-in chicken thighs or even extra rotisserie chicken for a very fast meal.


{print recipe}

TIP:  Great way to use up a little leftover steak. Next time, grill an extra so you can be sure to have enough to make this salad–maybe twice!

Want more steak salads? Try “Greek Steak Salad with Quinoa” or Steak Salad with Frizzled Shallots, Grilled Brussels Sprouts, and Sweet Potato Chips.


{print recipe}


{print recipe}


{print recipe}

TIP:  Sub thinly sliced cold pork tenderloin for the leftover chop.

CRAB CAKES ON FRESH GREENS with lemon vinaigrette

{print recipe}



{print recipe}

TIP:  I like freshly cooked shrimp best, but pre-cooked shrimp makes this a fast deal. In many parts of the country, you might as well buy frozen American shrimp as the shrimp at the seafood was probably already frozen anyway.  Live on the gulf coast? Lucky you!

Need another shrimp salad? Try my Grilled Oregano Shrimp Salad.  Print Recipe here.

GRILLED TUNA SALAD with spicy lemon-basil vinaigrette

{print recipe}


basic recipe by Ina Garten, from THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK, also posted on TODAY.com

TIP: See below for More Time additions and changes

Here are my changes:

1. I added vegetables including 2 cups of salad greens (seasoned with salt, pepper, and a quick sprinkle of red wine vinegar and olive oil), 1/2 pound grilled, chopped asparagus, and a dozen cherry tomatoes.  So instead of a bowl salad, I ended up with a composed salad on a platter.

2. I had no regular raspberry vinegar, but had raspberry balsamic, so I used half raspberry balsamic and half red wine vinegar, which gave the salad a bit more zing.

3.  I added a generous pinch of crushed red pepper, which didn’t make the salad hot, but did add a lot of flavor and zip.

There was easily enough for four hungry people.  It was plenty to eat with lots of bite and crunch, along with a balance created by a variety of textures and an even dressing.  We adored it.  Dave just stopped after every bite, saying, “This is so good.”  We both had seconds and wanted thirds.  Instead we stored it for one more day.


{print recipe}

TIP:  Miss those tortillas? Crumble one big tortilla chip on top for a little crunch.  Inexpensive tilapia works well for this meal.


{print recipe}

TIP:  I’ve served this with both asparagus and broccolini the day after making salmon with rice and tomatoes. It never hurts to make a little extra fish. Cook once, eat twice…


{print recipe}

TIP:  If you have the basic caprese ingredients (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil), the sky’s the limit for your dinner caprese.  Layer in crispy bacon, thinly sliced ham or chicken, slices of yesterday’s salmon, fresh zucchini, or your choice!.


{print recipe}

TIP: This is the sort of lunch or dinner you make when you have nothing thawed, but are blessed enough to have greens and eggs in the fridge and make this instead of an omelet.


{print recipe}

TIP:  While some of you wouldn’t consider Avocado Salad a main course salad, others would, as it’s full of healthy fat. For those who need more, stir in cooked shrimp, cooked brown rice, tuna, crab, diced grilled chicken or slices of pork tenderloin. I include it because it’s a real go-to on the blog and cooks have dreamed up many variations over the years. The other day I saw it transformed into a dip with shrimp!  (By the way, your printed copy of Avocado Salad will include Crab Quesadillas as I like them together.)


{print recipe}

TIP:  This recipe serves one; it’s easily doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. A simple, filling dinner or summer lunch that’s quickly on the table and ready to eat. Have a slice or two of ham or turkey and some cheese, but not enough to feed everyone? Try Poached Egg Chef’s Salad.  It’s great without the meat, too.

IF YOU LIKED THIS, you might like my last post:  25+ Scrumptious Dishes to Jump Start Your Healthy January.


Recipe for Salmon on Broccoli-Warm Mash…


WAPO Food:  FDA Food Inspections Have Been Sharply Reduced

SAVEUR:  The Best Condiments to Instantly Upgrade Any Desk Lunch

SAVEUR: The Importance of Dressing Your Salad

EATING WELL: Jillian Michaels Slams Keto Diet

BON APPETIT:  All Types of Lentils (And what the hell to do with them)

FINE COOKING:  Avocado Green Goddess Dip

BBC:  The Lifesaving Foods 90% of Us Aren’t Eating Enough of

What does 30g (of fiber) look like?

Elaine Rush, a professor of nutrition at Auckland University of Technology, has put together this example for getting into the 25-30g camp:

  • half a cup of rolled oats – 9g fibre | two Weetabix – 3g fibre | a thick slice of brown bread – 2g fibre | a cup of cooked lentils – 4g fibre | a potato cooked with the skin on – 2g fibre | half a cup of chard (or silverbeet in New Zealand) – 1g fibre | a carrot – 3g fibre | an apple with the skin on – 4g fibre

Need a cookbook for main course salads?  This one is top drawer:   Salad as  Meal:  Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season by Patricia Wells.

Be well and be better,


below:  sunrise from our deck 


6 thoughts on “20 Main Dish Salads to Continue Your Healthy January Adventure

    • Thanks, Mary; I thought it was a good time–JANUARY– to get these all in one place! After 10 years of blogging, things can occasionally be darned hard to locate!! Hope you try one as I think salads are incredibly creative and inventive. Happy winter.

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