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Wilted lettuce. Soggy vegetables. Tasteless dressing.
When you think of salads being prepared days in advance, this is probably what you’re most concerned about.
But meal prepping salads doesn’t have to lead to dull dressing or bruised greens. It can actually be a great way to get a healthy, fulfilling meal in that won’t turn off your taste buds.
Better yet, no matter how busy your schedule, you’ve got time for these recipes. Whether you’re wanting to prep for lunch or dinner, these recipes are perfect for busy individuals and families that don’t have a lot of free time but still want to eat well.
Meal prepping is our secret weapon for saving time and money on food.
This roundup also features some tips and tricks to keep your salads fresher for longer – whether that’s using the right tools to prep your veggies or choosing the ideal container to make your salad perfectly portable. Most people think vegetables are low in protein, but they’re wrong!
We just put together a list of vegetables high in protein to help you eat healthy.
Bookmark this roundup of 30 salad meal prep ideas from around the internet. You’ll be shocked at all the innovative and easy ways you can put together a full meal that’s mouthwatering, filling, and good for you and your family. We recently put together our master list of the best meal planning apps–be sure to check it out!
We’ve got a few other “healthy-eating” posts that you’ll love!
30 Salad Meal Prep Ideas
Salads as part of your meal prep routine? If that sounds unbelievable, you’re about to become a believer. This roundup features 30 salad meal prep ideas that cover every dietary need and taste preference.
Plus, most of the recipes will be on your dinner table in a matter of minutes. You can even use them to get all of your lunchtime meal prep done for the week ahead! I
f you want to break out the slow cooker, you can try these healthy vegetarian crock pot recipes.
Vegan and Vegetarian Meal Prep Salads
This isn’t your standard salad! The cauliflower, tahini, and lentils are the standout ingredients in this dish. However, it’s also served up on a bed of arugula for a nice peppery kick. This recipe actually pulls triple duty. Not only is it tasty when served cold as a lunch-time salad, it can also work as a dinnertime meal or even the perfect side dish for your holiday celebration.
If you’re wondering how a deconstructed sushi salad ended up in a vegetarian list, you’re not alone. Many people don’t know that the word sushi relates to the rice in the dish, not the fish. This recipe is as equally mind-blowing as that fact. The dish is layered with textures and flavors. Plus, the nori is reminiscent of your favorite sushi spot, but you can easily omit it too.
This salad is seriously a sight to behold. Though the recipe features a watermelon radish, any radish will do. It adds a pop of color and a punch of flavor. As it is, the recipe is both vegan and gluten-free. If you are only looking for a vegetarian dish, you might consider sprinkling on some cheese. You can’t go wrong with feta.
This vegetarian salad is anything but boring. Kale? Barley? We know, we know. The name is a little lackluster. Trust us on this one, though. This dressing is seriously fantastic, and the kale soaks it right up. The barley lends a bit of a softer texture and a nutty flavor to the dish. It’s balanced out nicely with the honey-lemon dressing. And cheese. Don’t forget the cheese. This vegetarian dish really has it all.
This salad meal prep recipe is easy and delicious. As an added bonus, the ingredients are all no-fuss. In fact, what we love most about it is that we were able to use spices and seasonings we had on hand. The salads will keep in the Mason jars for at least a few days. Using a layering technique, the veggies on top stay crisp and the beans get extra time to soak up all the good stuff.
Beets, golden raisins, and even goat cheese. This is one elevated ingredient list. Do you feel like your schedule is too jam-packed to put together a salad like this? The cook in this kitchen has your back. The recipe is actually full of shortcuts, including where to buy the best roasted beets and which pre-cut veggies stay crunchy longest. Time-saving techniques for the win!
This salad is sweet and savory, and it’s also entirely portable. If you’d rather serve it at dinner time, this fruit and feta salad works great for that as well. You can easily add a protein – toasted pecans or grilled chicken perhaps – to make it more substantial for dinner. No matter how and when you serve it, this dish is just like your favorite strawberry salad you’d order out, but at a fraction of the price.
Your time is precious. Let’s spend more of it relaxing over a meal than cooking one. This caprese salad comes together in less than 15 minutes. It features four flavorful ingredients and is topped with a balsamic dressing. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a surprisingly simple recipe to make your own salad dressing, too.
Salad Meal Prep Ideas with Chicken
A protein powerhouse, this chicken salad makes for a delicious lunch. The Mason-jar layers will make your mouth water and keep the ingredients fresh. The walnuts and grapes take this salad to the next level. You won’t mind brown bagging it thanks to this elevated and easy meal! If your meal prep plan already has lunch covered for the week, this makes an excellent dinner option.
A salad that is low carb and includes a ranch dressing? Sign us up! Not only does this salad fit into a keto meal plan, it’s also gluten free. And did we mention the creamy ranch dressing? Since you’ll be reaching for this meal prep salad recipe again and again, it’s good to know you can also add in other veggies, such as snap peas, carrots, and red onions to get a little more nutrients.
Your lunch is what powers you through the rest of your workday and well into the evening. So you want to stay full, right? This salad includes grains, proteins, and tons of veggies. It’s also downright delicious. It comes together in an hour, and like a true salad meal prep recipe, it makes enough portions to cover at least a few lunches and maybe even a dinner or two.
When you think of salad, if you think bland, this recipe will set you straight. This rainbow-hued dish is full of flavor. The original recipe calls for ground turkey, but you can easily swap in any other protein that you prefer. If you’re looking for a veggie option, you can even try roasted sweet potatoes. As an added bonus, the whole recipe comes together in under 20 minutes!
The best part about this keto-friendly salad is that it works equally well with rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey. That’s a huge timesaver for you. The dressing is also deliciously rich, thanks to the base made from paleo mayonnaise and Greek yogurt.
This rainbow-inspired salad brings the crunch to your meal time. It’s also entirely customizable. If onions aren’t your thing, skip them. To make it vegetarian, add extra chickpeas or toss in some extra firm tofu. No matter how you make it, your taste buds are in for a treat thanks to the flavorful marinade and Greek dressing.
Maybe you’ve spent time scouring the internet for copycat recipes for your favorite spinach salad. This recipe can go toe-to-toe with any restaurant. It’s that good. There’s crunch from the crisp cucumber and texture from the roasted asparagus. The toasted almond slivers kick things up a notch, and even with a few extra steps, the whole meal still comes together pretty quickly. To save even more time, prepare your chicken the weekend before you make your meals and you can fly through this recipe in 10 minutes.
The chopped celery and tangy cranberries in the salad just scream autumn. But really, this salad is perfect year round. The poppy seed dressing is one of the easiest recipes we’ve seen. Plus, it’s made with Greek yogurt to give it a rich and creamy texture. This salad easily stands alone as a complete dinner, but it also makes an easy lunchtime meal.
Zucchini Noodle Salads
The avocado dressing has a southwestern flare and a taste that can’t be beat. The creamy taste comes from a base made with Greek yogurt and sour cream. With cilantro, jalapeno, and lemon, though, this dressing and your zoodles will be anything but typical. Pro tip: If you don’t have a spiralizer, never fear. You can use a mandoline or a sharp kitchen knife to slice the zucchini in this salad and any other zoodle dish.
Farro sounds fancy, doesn’t it? It’s an ancient grain with a slightly nutty taste that’s a cinch to cook. It also lends a chewy texture to this salad, which is a perfect complement to the zoodles. The entire recipe is complete in a matter of minutes. Plus, the ingredient list is simple. If you can get your hands on basil and tomatoes from a garden or a farmer’s market, you’re in for an even tastier treat.
Designed by someone who was headed back to school, this recipe is a snap. Here, a traditional caprese salad gets a fresh twist courtesy of the unusual (and delicious!) addition of zucchini and pesto. This salad is completely portable, too, which is perfect if you’re needing to eat lunch or dinner on the go.
This light and lemony salad is refreshing and satisfying. While the original recipe features a creamy avocado yogurt dressing, you can easily swap in your favorite vinaigrette. Speaking of changing things up, you could also add cucumber or carrot noodles for even more variety.
There’s quinoa, there’s asparagus. Then there are even layers of peas and feta cheese. We’ve never tasted a salad quite like this one. It’s protein packed and chalk full of culinary novelty. Our favorite part is the fact that you can sprinkle in coconut flakes. If you don’t have any on hand, that’s OK, too. The ingredient list is perfectly flexible.
This salad is as fresh as it is fun. Between the dressing and the mandarain orange, it’s the perfect culinary wakeup in a mid-day meal. For an extra crunch, add a layer of wonton strips. If an extra trip to the grocery store isn’t in the cards, don’t fret. There’s still plenty of texture thanks to the snap peas and zoodles.
Salmon (& Other Seafood) Salad Meal Prep Ideas
We’re not sure we’ve ever seen a better looking salad. This easy salmon salad pulls from every color of the rainbow, with a special thanks to the crunchy bell peppers. As an added benefit, it truly lives up to its name. If you need a fast meal, this salmon salad is perfect. The entire dish comes together in 20 minutes, and it’s loaded with protein.
Maybe you feel like you’re running out of salad meal prep ideas or they’re all starting to sound the same. Dive into this Greek salmon salad. The fresh dill will delight your taste buds. If you don’t have dill, basil, or chives, parsley will do the trick. You can also substitute other seafood, including shrimp, cod, catfish or trout.
Thanks to the avocado and salmon in this dish, it’s loaded with healthy fats. The marinade used to cook the fish actually pulls double duty as the dressing here too. That’s a win for two reasons: it’s so tasty, you won’t be able to get enough of it, and it’s a huge time saver. A fresh fish dinner in under 20 minutes. You’re welcome!
If you’ve got someone in your house who is skeptical about fish, this is the recipe for you. The honey-lemon glaze makes this meal perfect for all palettes. This salad can be served hot or cold. Another perk is you’re likely to end up with extra dressing. Stash the extra vinaigrette in your fridge. It’ll keep for a week, and it’s perfect to add to any salad or as a way to dress up cut vegetables.
Nicoise salads feel downright regal. This salad recipe has that fancy flair, plus it’s designed to travel well. Layers of green beans, tomatoes, tuna, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and olives make this salad one of a kind. In the spirit of full disclosure, this recipe does call for an anchovy. Not your thing? Not a problem. Leave it out.
Made two different ways, this layered tuna salad has something for everyone. Our favorite version includes couscous and carrots alongside tuna and yellow peppers, among other ingredients. Because the tuna comes straight from a can, meal prep is an absolute breeze.
The cajun shrimp is the standout in this dish. The recipe also includes corn, avocado, tomato, cucumber, and more. Use fresh sweet corn if you have the time, or opt for frozen corn. From start to finish, the meal will be on your table in half an hour. That’s a good thing because there’s no way you’re making this dish only once.
Avocado and shrimp are such a winning combination for a salad that we had to feature two dishes! The first dish had a cajun flair, while this one will have you thinking you’re in a tropical paradise. In addition to avocado, this salad also includes fruits, such as mango, pineapple, and even kiwi. Virtually every part of this dish can be prepped in advance and it’ll keep for three days.
How to keep salad fresh
The absolute last thing you want after finding the perfect salad meal prep recipe is to eat a soggy salad. Browned greens, wilted veggies, ick! In fact, many people avoid including salads in their meal prepping routine for this very reason. However, if you follow these tips to keep salad fresh, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious salad even days after you’ve made it.
Spin, baby, spin
If you intend to meal prep your salad successfully, you’ll need to keep your lettuce dry. This is the perfect moment to grab your salad spinner and give it a whirl. Keeping extra moisture off your greens will keep the lettuce fresh and save your other salad ingredients.
Store in layers
After you’ve prepped all your salad ingredients, don’t just toss them all together in one bowl. Instead, you’ll want to layer them in individual containers if you’re making lunches or store the ingredients separately if you’re making meals for dinner. Storing ingredients separately will keep your salad fresher longer.
Pick the perfect container
Another word of advice. Mason jars are perfect for storing your salad and toting your meal to work. You still want to pack a separate plate or bowl (or leave it in your desk!) to serve yourself. Not only is it now a restaurant-style presentation, it also helps keeps things quick and tidy.
Many salad recipes feature garnishes, like avocados (and for good reason, they’re nutritious and so tasty). Whether your salad calls for avocado or another garnish, you’ll want to wait until the day of to add it so your salad stays fresh.