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10 salad recipes for losing weight

Image credit: Monika Grabkowska via Unsplash

As we approach summer, you may be looking for new salad recipes for losing weight. If you’re getting tired of the same boring lettuce salads and find yourself falling off course, today I’m sharing 10 delicious and easy weight loss salads that will fill you up.

To give you more ideas for your summer (or anytime) salads, I reached out to my fellow dietitian colleagues to get their favorites. All of these salads are great for lunch or dinner, are high in protein and fiber to keep you satisfied, and won’t bring you out of a calorie deficit.

Keep reading for 10 easy salad recipes for losing weight you can meal prep ahead of time. You’ll also learn what to put in your salad to keep it healthy and support your weight loss goals. 

1. Ranch Kale Salad with BBQ Tofu

Total time to prepare: 15 min     *Vegetarian-friendly 

ranch kale salad for losing weight

Image credit: Delish Knowledge

This recipe is a flavorful and balanced salad for losing weight. This ranch kale salad with BBQ tofu combines finely shredded kale leaves, cherry tomatoes, cooked corn, tofu, white beans, cucumber, and avocado. It is dressed with a homemade dressing made from mayo, soy milk, fresh parsley, and dried spices.

Kale is one of the most nutritious leafy greens there is. If you’re tired of romaine and need a change-up, this salad is perfect for you. It is also plant-based and vegetarian-friendly. 

Tofu is high in protein and low in calories and is a protein I commonly recommend to my clients looking for more plant protein sources. It also contains beans for added protein and fiber to keep you full.

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 535

Protein: 18.5 g

Carbs: 45.6 g

Fat: 32.9 g

Fiber: 9.9 g

Dietitian tip – Cut a bit down on calories & saturated fat by using a lighter vinaigrette dressing or a light mayo to make the ranch dressing.

2. Salmon Quinoa Salad

Total time to prepare: 30 minutes

salmon quinoa salad

Image credit: itsavegworldafterall.com

This quinoa salad with salmon is a delightful mix of fluffy, protein-packed quinoa, cucumber, cucumber, bell pepper, fresh herbs, crumbled feta, and canned salmon. These ingredients are brought together with a simple zesty lemon shallot dressing.

This salad provides a balanced meal with plenty of protein, anti-inflammatory fats, and complex carbs to keep you satisfied for hours. It is also light and perfect for summer!

Make this recipe the day of or prep ahead of time for the week. In fact, it tastes even better made ahead since the dressing had time to infuse its fresh flavors into the salad.

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 380

Protein: 24 g

Carbs: 28 g

Fat: 20 g

Fiber: 4 g

Dietitian tip: This recipe calls for one cup, but the calorie content was a bit low for that. I recommend doubling the recipe if you’re making it a meal.

3. The Ultimate Chopped Mediterranean Salad

Total time to prepare: 30 minutes

chopped mediterranean chickpea salad for losing weight

Image credit: cravingsomethinghealthy.com

I love my chopped salads, but mixing up the ingredients keeps things fun and interesting. This Mediterranean-inspired salad is one of the best salads for losing weight and tastes delicious. It features fresh and colorful ingredients like romaine and radicchio lettuce, cucumber, chickpeas, roasted red peppers, olives, and tuna. 

The salad is dressed with a simple blend of EVOO, red wine vinegar, and garlic powder. You can also add a sprinkle of feta, sunflower seeds, and fresh herbs for a hearty and flavorful salad.

This salad recipe is perfectly balanced with a combination of satisfying fiber from the veggies and chickpeas, healthy fats from tuna, and protein from the tuna and chickpeas. Enjoy made-ahead and add in your dressing the day you eat it so the lettuce doesn’t wilt.

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 333 

Protein: 19 g

Carbs: 30 g

Fat: 17 g

Fiber: 9 g

For more easy meal ideas, check out my post “10 Best Smoothies for Weight Loss.”

4. Broccoli Edamame Protein Salad

Total time to prepare: 30 minutes *Vegetarian-friendly

broccoli edamame protein salad

Image credit: nutritiouslysimple.com

This is one of my favorite salad recipes for losing weight and it is super filling. This one combines fresh broccoli florets, frozen edamame beans, sliced green onion, and chopped almonds. The Thai-inspired dressing is made by whisking powdered peanut butter (my favorite food on the planet), rice vinegar, tamari, minced garlic, and water. 

You can also substitute the tamari with coconut aminos if you choose.

Packed with protein and fiber, this simple salad will fill you up when you’re in a hurry and have limited time to prep. If you’re tired of leafy green salads, you have to give this one a try.

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 216

Protein: 17 g

Carbs: 24 g

Fat: 8 g

Fiber: 8 g

5. Berry Chicken Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Total time to prepare: 15 minutes

berry chicken salad for losing weight

Image credit: thehealthyepicurian.com

This recipe features a vibrant mix of fresh spring greens, cooked chicken breasts, a variety of fresh berries, sliced avocado, and cooked quinoa. Optional toppings include a sprinkle of chopped almonds or your favorite cheese such as feta, goat, or gorgonzola.

The salad is brought together with an easy, homemade vinaigrette dressing added right before serving. This is a great salad to have in the summer or any time of year.

This salad is sure to satisfy with good quality protein from the chicken and quinoa, healthy fats from the avocado and nuts, and fiber from the berries.

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 518

Protein: 34 g

Carbs: 46 g

Fat: 24 g

Fiber: 7 g

Dietitian tip – Go easy on the honey to keep the sugar content low. I would suggest decreasing the honey portion by half when making the dressing, which won’t sacrifice taste.

6. Spicy Southwest Salad 

Total time to prepare: 20 minutes

spicy southwest salad with chicken

Image credit: theoregondietititan.com

This super easy salad packs a spicy punch if you’re looking for a little kick. It contains perfectly cooked chicken, tons of veggies and an easy spicy ranch dressing to drizzle on upon serving.

The salad features green leaf lettuce, diced tomatoes, black beans, sliced bell pepper and avocado, corn, and red onion, with added crunch from tortilla strips. 

Chicken is a great source of protein, which helps you build lean muscle and lose weight. In addition, it contains healthy anti-inflammatory fats from avocados, which have been shown to improve satiety (i.e. they keep you full). And with a combination of various veggies and beans, you’ll get in your fiber intake. 

It checks all the boxes!

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 564

Protein: 30 g

Carbs: 48 g

Fat: 30 g

Fiber: 14 g

Dietitian tip – This salad recipe is a bit heartier than some of the others here (but is still highly nutritious!). To keep calories and fat in check, go light on the ranch dressing, or use light ranch instead.

For more on the benefits of eating veggies and salads, check out my post “Volume Eating – What Is It and Should You Try It?”

7. Vegetarian Chopped Salad with Boiled Eggs          

Total time to prepare: 20 min           *Vegetarian-friendly

vegetarian chopped salad with boiled eggs

Image credit: plantbasedwithamy.com

If you are a flexitarian, vegetarian, or are simply looking for a meatless salad, this one is perfect for you.

This vibrant salad is loaded with crisp romaine and butterhead lettuce, fresh parsley, and colorful ingredients like chickpeas, grape tomatoes, cucumber, Kalamata olives, and roasted red peppers. Finally, it is topped with hard-boiled eggs and an optional sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 

The delicious greens included are rich in energizing vitamins and water to fill your belly. It also contains high-quality protein from eggs and fiber from veggies and chickpeas. Make it ahead of time and enjoy it as an easy lunch salad!

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 490

Protein: 21 g

Carbs: 32 g

Fat: 31 g

Fiber: 7 g

8. Rainbow Quinoa Salad Jars

Total time to prepare: 25 minutes             *Vegetarian-friendly

rainbow quinoa salad with peanut dressing

Image credit: healthyishappetite.com

This rainbow quinoa salad is plant-based and can be prepped ahead of time and stored in mason jars. If you don’t them already, I highly recommend getting a set of mason jars. I use them all the time for prepping meals you can take when you’re on the go like salads, soups, and overnight oats. You can easily bring them to work and anywhere when you’re on the road.

This salad uses fresh and colorful veggies like kale, shredded carrots, and purple cabbage along with quinoa and shelled edamame to make it more of a meal. Then, a delicious Asian-inspired dressing is mixed in with ingredients like peanut butter, miso, and sesame oil. It is packed with fiber, vitamins, and plant-based protein to fuel you all afternoon.

Once assembled during meal prep, these salads can stay in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 377

Protein: 17 g

Carbs: 41 g

Fat: 19 g

Fiber: 11 g

9. Soba Noodle Salad

Total time to prepare: 30 minutes   *Vegetarian-friendly

soba noodle salad with peanut dressing

Image credit: enwnutrition.com

This refreshing soba noodle salad is a delightful blend of flavors combining earthy soba noodles with fresh veggies in a savory peanut dressing. The recipe features vegetables such as napa cabbage, red bell pepper, carrot, and green onion and is finished with an Asian-inspired peanut dressing.

I especially love the crispy wonton strips and unsalted peanuts on top for extra crunch.

This salad is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and plant-based protein from the soba noodles. Compared to most other noodles, soba noodles are higher in protein and lower in calories and carbs than regular noodles. So they are a great addition for a weight-loss-friendly salad.

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 455

Protein: 18 g

Carbs: 63 g

Fat: 18.5 g

Fiber: 6 g

10. Taco Salad

Total time to prepare: 25 minutes

taco salad recipe with ground beef

Image credit: downshiftology.com

If you love tacos, you’ll love this healthy taco salad recipe. It’s jam-packed with crisp vegetables, seasoned ground beef, and classic taco ingredients like homemade salsa, cilantro, and avocado. Additionally, it’s super simple to make – perfect for summer when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

This salad is loaded with healthful nutrients like fiber from the veggies and beans, protein from the ground beef, and heart-healthy fats from the avocados. It is also rich in vitamins and antioxidants to promote overall wellness.

Enjoy your favorite Mexican ingredients in a lighter, weight-loss salad.

Nutrition facts:

Calories: 433

Protein: 34 g

Carbs: 27 g
Fat: 23 g

Fiber: 12 g

Dietitian tip: You can substitute ground beef for ground turkey or frozen shrimp to reduce the fat and calorie content further.

Tips for Making Your Salad Weight-Loss-Friendly

The best salad for weight loss contains a few necessary components. Here are a few tips to keep your salads weight-loss-friendly and satisfying at the same time.

  • Watch the dressing – Some dressings, especially creamy dressings, can be loaded with calories and fat. If you’re not careful, you could end up blowing your calorie budget for that meal just from the dressing alone. 
  • To keep calories in check, choose light creamy dressings or add “light” ingredients if you’re making your own. Therefore, using a good old vinaigrette or oil and vinegar dressing will also be much lower in calories, and since it’s more think you don’t need to add as much to go around.
  • Don’t add too much cheese – Cheese is delicious, but too much can add up. Just add a little sprinkle of your favorite if you have it – a little goes a long way.
  • Mind the bacon – Processed meats like bacon pack on a lot of calories without much of a satisfaction factor. Plus, they don’t really fill you up and contribute a lot of calories in a small amount. Limit bacon in your salad if you can, and if you want a little taste then just a sprinkle will do.
  • Add enough protein – If you’re just having a salad loaded with veggies, it will likely leave you hungry shortly after. This negates the purpose of a weight loss salad because you’ll probably end up eating more to catch up by the end of the day. Instead, make sure you’re always adding at least 15 grams of protein such as chicken breast, shrimp, ground turkey or beef, hard-boiled eggs, tofu, beans, or lentils.
  • Listen to your body – Even when it comes to a healthy salad, it’s still important to listen to your body and take notice of when you’re getting full. You can still overeat salad, blow your calorie budget, and end up feeling bloated from all the fiber if you’re not mindful. Take your time and savor it so you feel your best!
  • Following these guidelines ensure you consume the right balance of ingredients so you don’t end up with a salad higher in calories than a hamburger (like many restaurant salads).

Final Word on Weight Loss Salads

Your journey toward healthy eating and weight loss doesn’t have to be boring or flavorless. Let this list of 10 salad recipes for losing weight inspire you to nourish your body and enjoy what you’re eating.

Eat of these recipes are packed full of natural protein sources and brimming with fiber to keep you full and energized throughout the day.

If you’re looking for more personalized guidance in planning your meals and navigating your weight loss journey, contact me to schedule a free nutrition strategy call. On this call, we’ll discuss your biggest challenges and goals and see if my program is a good fit for you.