20+ High-Protein Spring Salads for Weight-Loss

As the days get longer and the promise of spring arrives, these high-protein salads are the perfect option to welcome the season with a burst of freshness. With at least 15 grams of protein per serving, these dishes help you feel more full and energized for longer. Plus, these salads also boast at least 6 grams of fiber and no more than 575 calories per serving which can help support weight loss if that is your goal. Recipes like our Falafel Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing and our Spring Roll Salad feature an array of fresh seasonal produce like crisp peas, earthy beets and hearty greens making them the perfect companion to a more vibrant spring.

Falafel Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Deep-fried falafel can be a total grease bomb. But these pan-seared falafel still get crispy in just a few tablespoons of oil with equally satisfying results. Be sure to use dried, instead of canned, chickpeas in this healthy recipe—canned chickpeas add too much moisture.

Crab Louie Salad

Eric Wolfinger

At the Bayside Cafe in Morro Bay, California, this classic West Coast salad is made with Dungeness crab caught in the coastal waters. Lump crabmeat is a good substitute.

Copycat California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

Photographer: Fred Hardy, Food Styling: Jennifer Wendorf, Prop Stylist: Shell Royster

This salad is inspired by California Pizza Kitchen’s BBQ chicken salad, with crisp lettuce and jicama, sweet BBQ chicken and juicy corn kernels. You can cook the chicken thighs on a grill pan, or use an outdoor grill if the weather permits. Tortilla strips add a welcome crunch to the salad—find them in the salad dressing aisle at major supermarkets.

Spring Roll Salad

All the tastes, color and fun of a spring roll without all the work! This healthy salad recipe is bursting with the colors of rainbow from generous amounts of fresh vegetables, shrimp and whole grains all topped with a peanut dressing for the ultimate satisfying salad.

High-Protein Grilled Chicken Salad

Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Ana Kelly, Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

This grilled chicken salad is perfect for summer entertaining. You can make the dressing, marinate the chicken, pickle the onions and slice your vegetables a few hours ahead of time, then just grill and assemble the salad after the guests arrive.

Sesame Kohlrabi & Chicken Salad

Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Kohlrabi (a bulbous vegetable related to broccoli and Brussels sprouts but with a milder, sweet flavor) and almonds add crunch to this crowd-pleasing salad. Baked tofu or shrimp can be used instead of the chicken.

Crispy Pea Fritter Salad

Jason Donnelly

We mashed together peas, fresh mint and lemon zest with breadcrumbs to make small pan-fried cakes perfect for topping a salad.

Salad Primavera with Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette

Eva Kolenko

This is a salad where the vegetables really shine and the lettuce plays a supporting role. It requires a bit of work up front to blanch all the veg, but the results are impressive.

Taco Salad

Caitlin Bensel

A super-quick blend of reduced-fat sour cream and salsa serves double duty as salad dressing and seasoning for the meat in our updated version of Tex-Mex taco salad. Depending on the type of salsa you use, the salad will vary in heat. We keep this version light with lean turkey, but lean ground beef (about 95%-lean) would also keep the nutrition marks reasonable. Just hold the deep-fried tortilla bowl and instead serve this salad with baked tortilla chips and wedges of fresh lime.

Celeriac & Lentil Salad with Poached Eggs

Leigh Beisch

Gnarly and knotty, celeriac (aka celery root) is a staple on many French bistro menus, often shredded and tossed with rémoulade sauce. Here, it’s diced and combined with lentils and plenty of other veggies, along with a poached egg on top, for a salad packed with staying power.

Waldorf Salad with Chicken & Rutabaga

Leigh Beisch

A cross between turnip and cabbage, rutabagas have purple-tinged yellow skin and yellow, slightly sweet flesh. Adding this veg along with chicken to this classic side transforms it into a hearty dinner salad.

Southwest Chopped Salad with Tomatillo Dressing

Leigh Beisch

Jicama is the crunchy, sweet tuberous root of a legume native to Central America. If you love it in this salad, try including sticks of it with your next crudités spread.

Salmon & Avocado Salad

Tender salmon tops a hearty salad of red cabbage, carrots and avocados tossed with a creamy dill vinaigrette in this quick, easy dinner.

Green Salad with Edamame & Beets

Katie Webster

This big salad is a feast for the eyes and an everyday way to incorporate nutrient-rich beets and plant-based protein from edamame (green soybeans). If you’re not a fan of cilantro, mix in freshly chopped basil or dill instead.

Crunchy Mexican Salad with Spicy Cilantro Vinaigrette

A spicy cilantro vinaigrette gives this black bean salad Mexican flair. We used the beans for protein, but if you have cooked chicken on hand, you can use that instead. Also, if you have it, finish the salad with a quarter of an avocado for a boost of healthy fats.

Green Goddess Salad

This gorgeous green goddess salad combines fresh shrimp, cucumber, artichoke hearts and cherry tomatoes with homemade dressing.

Warm Spinach Salad with Chickpeas & Roasted Tomatoes

Ellen Silverman

The key to the incredible flavor here is roasting until the onion slices are charred at the edges and the juices from the tomatoes have cooked into a syrupy consistency on the baking sheet.

Escarole & White Bean Salad with Swordfish

In this healthy fish recipe, meaty swordfish gets a dusting of herbs before being pan-seared. Then it’s served on top of a healthy escarole and white bean salad with a lemon-Dijon vinaigrette.

Baked Kale Salad with Crispy Quinoa

Photographer: Brie Goldman Food Stylist: Annie Probst Prop Stylist: Gabe Greco

Crisping the quinoa in the oven adds delicious texture to this bright and filling kale salad. The lemon-honey-garlic dressing complements the sweetness from the roasted vegetables. Topping the salad with feta and pepitas gives it a savory note.

Caprese Pasta Salad with Salami

Jacob Fox

Tomatoes—both cherry and heirloom—are the star of the show in this pasta salad. This easy summer dinner includes salami for its rich savory flavor, but you can skip it or sub in white beans to make this dish vegetarian. Recipe adapted from Tomato Love by Joy Howard.

Copycat McDonald’s Southwest Salad

Photographer: Rachel Marek, Food stylist: Annie Probst

If you were a fan of the McDonald’s Southwest Salad before it left the menu, this copycat recipe brings it all back with a few healthy twists. The creamy dressing keeps saturated fat and calories in check with reduced-fat sour cream combined with salsa to give it its signature spice. We loaded it up with plenty of veggies, but feel free to give it your own spin with chopped avocado or crushed tortilla chips for crunch. (Editor’s note: The title of this recipe does not align with EatingWell‘s practices for naming and attributing recipes but gives proper credit to McDonald’s menu, which called this dish “Southwest Salad.”)

Cabbage, Tofu & Edamame Salad

Craving crunch? Bite into this salad loaded with crisp red cabbage, edamame, bamboo shoots, and chow mein noodles. This salad is slightly sweetened with baked tofu, mandarin oranges and sesame vinaigrette.

Quick Greek Chopped Salad with Chicken

Carson Downing

Make lunch in a pinch with this healthy Greek salad recipe, ready in just 10 minutes. It’s packed with protein and fiber, to help keep you full for longer.

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