14 Delicious + Nutritious Salad Recipes

Time for a round up of some pretty awesome delicious + nutritious salad recipes with a huge variety of veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and good-for-you fats.  These 14 salad recipes are all gluten-free and have healthified homemade dressings!

Eat the Rainbow! 14 delicious and nutritious salads from the weekly menu

Eat The Rainbow Indeed!

When spring rolls around cravings shift from soups and stews to bright, beautiful salads.  Aren’t all the spring and summer seasonal fruits and veggies so wonderful!  Here is a round up of some of my favorite delicious + nutritious salad recipes!

Most of the time it takes is prepping the veggies.  Most of the cook time may be for the protein or some of the vegetables.  So it is an easy dinner if you don’t mind all the prep that goes into washing and cutting up the veggies and fruits.  

The salad dressings only take a few minutes to whip up.  It is so much better to make a vinaigrette at home with healthy fats like avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and spices.

We love to make Ranch dressing with an organic spice blend and goat’s milk yogurt!  We make it all the time and I feel no guilt or shame for eating it.  Plus you get probiotics from the yogurt while avoiding emulsifiers and xanthan gum found in store bought salad dressing that are linked to disrupting normal gut bacteria behavior.    

Assembling delicious + nutritious salads

When it comes to assembling a salad, the key for me is to make sure I have a combo of ingredients with different colors and a variety of textures.  Basics for each salad are:

  • organic lettuce
  • mostly organic seasonal fruits and veggies
  • seeds and nuts
  • lean protein
  • healthy homemade dressing (using clean ingredients and good fats)

Here are a round-up of posts for different gluten-free salad ideas and different seasonal fruit.  Forgive the old pics (I’m trying to do better with the food photos).  

1. Seasonal Winter Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette – RECIPE

delicious + nutritious salad recipe with honey apple cider vinaigrette

During winter, fruits like Anjou pears and Meyer lemons are in season.  Use the Meyer lemon and local honey to make the apple cider honey vinaigrette.  Then find whatever veggies look good to make a salad.  Here we used hydroponically grown lettuce, yellow bell pepper, rainbow carrots, broccoli slaw, green onions, goat cheese, walnuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds.

2. Greek Salad with Homemade Greek Dressing – RECIPE

greek salad

For this Greek salad, we incorporate all of the classics of a greek salad like cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and shallots.  But then I like to add gluten-free dolmas, a little lettuce and asparagus if I’ve got it on hand.  Then drizzle with an herbaceous homemade Greek salad dressing made with EVOO and red wine vinegar.

3. Healthified Fried Chicken Salad with Yogurt Ranch Dressing – RECIPE

I used to love the fried chicken salad at Whataburger.  This is our “healthified” version with lots more color and variety in veggies and gluten-free fried chicken.  When you really want to up a prebiotic and dietary fiber uptake, this salad has that covered.  The dressing is made from a Ranch spice blend mixed with goat’s milk yogurt.  So delicious and nutritious! 

4. Salad Niçoise – RECIPE

Salad Nicoise with Deli Turkey and Homemade Dressing

Salad Niçoise is traditionally made with eggs, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, olives and fish tossed in a lemony vinaigrette.  Here we’ve used turkey deli meat instead of fish and made a wonderful dressing with lemon, white wine and fresh herbs.  It’s a great summer salad when herbs and green beans are plentiful.

5. Teriyaki Chicken Salad – RECIPE

homemade teriyaki chicken salad

So well you know by now, I love a salad piled high with lots of different veggies, colors and textures (roasted, steamed, raw…).  Add a little protein (usually my husband and I will split a chicken breast between the salads) and perfection!  But this is fun because we take one of favorite flavor profiles – Teriyaki chicken kabobs – and make it into an awesome salad experience! Yes, we are feeding the gut bugs!  And it is delicious!

6. Blue Goat Cheese Wedge Salad – RECIPE

A traditional wedge salad made with goat milk blue cheese and a dressing made of goat milk yogurt, Worcestershire, lemon, garlic olive oil, and hot sauce.

A traditional wedge salad made with goat milk blue cheese and a dressing made of goat milk yogurt, Worcestershire, lemon, garlic olive oil, and hot sauce.

7. Asparagus and Mango Spring Salad with Fried Goat Cheese Croutons – RECIPE  

mango seasonal salad with fried goat cheese croutons

Nothing says spring like asparagus.  And the fruit available during spring include some of my favorites. We found the most wonderful sweet grapes called Candy Hearts from Melissa’s Produce and organic mangos.  So an asparagus and mango spring salad sounded perfect. Then we took it to the next level with fried honey goat cheese croutons!  This is another salad that cries out for the honey apple cider vinaigrette, too.

8. Mango, Black Beans and Wild Rice Salad – RECIPE

Love when mangos come into season during the summer!  There really is no better way to get all that dietary fiber to feed those gut bugs, good fat, vitamins, minerals and all things good for you in a satisfying meal than a salad full of fruits and veggies.  Here we skip a lean meat and use wild rice and black beans for the complete protein.  And we make a taco seasoning and goat’s milk yogurt dressing.  Yum.

9. Thai Beef Salad – RECIPE

When basil is a plenty in the summer, this is a go-to salad!  Also dairy and gluten-free, it is made with fresh basil, cilantro, cucumbers, toasted cashews, shallots and marinated sirloin steak.  The tangy dressing is made with lime juice, coconut aminos, organic brown sugar, garlic, ginger and Thai red curry paste.   

10. Steak Salad with Southwestern Vinaigrette – RECIPE

southwestern steak salad
This nutritious and delicious Southwestern steak salad is made with some grilled veggies (mushrooms and red bell pepper), some fresh veggies (corn, avocado, Persian cucumbers) and cooked black beans.  We’ve chosen grass-fed sirloin steak for the lean protein.  And made a tangy homemade Southwestern vinaigrette with fajita seasoning and red wine vinegar!

11. Favorite Kale Salads & Dressings – RECIPE

Here we have several kale salad ideas with various toppings and simple vinaigrettes.  The secret to kale is massaging it with olive oil so that it breaks down into more edible, tender pieces.  It pairs really well with dried fruits and nuts, too!

12. Leftover Pork Tenderloin Salad – RECIPE

This salad is a great use of the deliciously lean apple cider-brined pork tenderloin.  Filled with fruits and veggies for all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.  If you are curious about the gut microbiome and some exciting research going on – this is a great post!  

13. Blue Cheese Buffalo Chicken Salad – RECIPE

Blue ChBlue Cheese Buffalo Chicken Salad

Gluten-free fried chicken nuggets are tossed in Buffalo sauce and served with goat milk blue cheese dressing and crumbles in this delicious Buffalo chicken salad.

14. Asian Chicken Salad with Fried Rice Noodles – RECIPE

Gluten-free, Dairy-Free Asian Chicken Salad

This is another salad from back in the day, where we make an Asian dressing with EVOO, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, ginger, mustard, honey and a hint of sesame oil.  The when use lettuce, cabbage, grated carrots, cukes, almonds, edamame and other goodies.  My favorite is the fried rice noodles.  You can make them at home and it’s so easy!

Well enjoy the salad ideas and coming of spring everyone!

Deana Larkin Evans

You get one life - do your best to ENJOY IT! So hi, I'm Deana. This food blog is all about cooking wholesome real food and developing gluten-free recipes for some of our favorite comfort foods. I had to start eating gluten-free in 2010, then cut dairy and casein (except for the occasional Parmesan) in 2014. We learned A2 casein (goat, sheep and buffalo milk) is easier to digest than the predominate A1 form in cow milk. So we brought back goat milk dairy into our recipes in 2016. Thank goodness, right! So I'm kind of a science nerd, too. In the '90s, I earned an undergrad degree in biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook 'em! Then followed up with a PhD in biochemistry and a law degree from the University of Houston. I recently earned a certificate in genomics/sequence analysis from Johns Hopkins University, where I also took a very cool food microbiology course. Currently, I'm learning about the microbiome and gut health. And trying to come up with healthy recipes to feed those gut bugs! #feedthegutbugs

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