9 Salad Ideas for Simple Weeknight Dinners

Let's face it, salads aren't easy to love. Every time take a bite, you have to recreate it on your fork. We can help you fall in love with salads.

By: Anna Decker / 10/19/2018

1. Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad with Bok Choy, Cilantro and Sambal Dressing

We all know avocado likes to be seasoned with salt and pepper and a squirt of lemon. But have you tried avocado with chili paste and toasted sesame oil? This Asian-inspired salad is an ode to brilliant greens: raw crisp bok choy, a generous handful of fresh cilantro leaves, and slightly charred avocado. Shredded chicken catches a spicy sambal dressing, and each ingredient is coated in toasted sesame seeds for a nutty finish. Cook, relax and enjoy!

2. Pumpkin Seed Falafel Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

That thick brown crust on falafels usually comes from deep frying, meaning the patties absorb a lot of oil along the way. Instead of using a deep fryer, we cooked these in a skillet with just enough olive oil to give them a lovely golden crisp. Pumpkin seeds in the chickpea mix make for an ultra-creamy center and lots of tangy lemon and fresh herbs provide a good dose of vitamin C and antioxidants. Cook, relax and enjoy!

3. Carrot Salad & Crispy Salmon with Quinoa

The keys to crispiness are a hot pan, the right amount of fat (just a little), and no touching. You won’t believe the crackling salmon skin you’ll get if you follow those rules. Simple steamed quinoa and carrots get dressed in a delicious and addictive garlicky lemon dressing. Cook, relax and enjoy!

4. Fried Mozzarella Salad with Arugula & Prosciutto

There’s nothing not to love in the combination of warm and crispy mozzarella, fresh leafy arugula, and salty prosciutto. A mustardy dressing with shallots and honey binds it all together. Our favorite Hot Bread Kitchen focaccia is served alongside so you’re welcome to eat this meal as a salad or to make your own sandwich bites. Cook, relax, and enjoy!

5. Whole Wheat Noodle Salad with Basil, Green Beans, and Peanuts

One of our favorite ways to eat cucumbers is cooked! A little unconventional, but stay with us because in this case, they are warmed in a pan and coated in a sesame-tamari sauce. We then add tender, whole wheat ramen noodles, green beans, and fragrant basil. Whole, skin-on peanuts get fried in oil and add a little something special along with their delightful crunch and nutty flavor. Cook, relax, and enjoy!

6. Soba Noodle Salad with Eggplant & Crispy Shallots

Soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour, and are one of our favorite meals for warm evenings because they’re delicious eaten cool. One trick to soba noodle success is making sure to rinse the noodles really well when they are done cooking. Rinsing, draining, and rinsing again ensures that you get rid of excess starch and don't end up with a tangle of noodles instead of a beautiful salad. Cook, relax, and enjoy!

7. Warm Grain & Squash Salad with Brown Butter Vinaigrette

This is a grain bowl meets salad that has it all: roasted pieces of butternut squash and red onion, chewy grains, sweet-tart dried apricots, creamy goat cheese, fresh spinach, and crunchy roasted salted pumpkin seeds. A warm, nutty brown-butter vinaigrette brings it all together. Autumn in a bowl. Cook, relax, and enjoy!

8. Miso-Tahini Udon Noodle Salad with Blistered Asparagus & Scallion

The dynamic duo of miso and tahini gives this dish a deeply nutty-umami flavor that really packs a punch. Blistering the asparagus and scallions keeps them vibrant green and crisp-tender and adds a slightly smoky flavor thanks to the gentle char they get in the hot skillet. Tender udon noodles are coated in the dressing to make for a light but satsifying meal perfect for warm weather evenings. Cook, relax, and enjoy!

9. Curried Lentil & Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Carrots

We tailored this delicious warm salad from Martha's latest book, "Martha Stewart's Pressure Cooker." The curried French lentils with peppery arugula, still crunchy carrots, and creamy goat cheese will settle you right into fall. It's all tied together with a vinaigrette that’ll make you say, "Ah, oui!" Cook, relax, and enjoy!

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