21 of the best high protein salad recipes! From chicken, steak, vegan, and more, you’ll love these salad recipes for any occasion! Most recipes are easily customizable to your dietary preferences.
Team bomb a** salad
I LOVE a good salad. To be quite honest, I used to be obsessed with them and would have one every day. So much that my friends and I gave them a nickname of ‘bomb ass salads’ in college. Now, I don’t have them as often, but when I do, it’s gotta be good.
I know salads can get a bad rap, but if you build a good one, it’s really a magical thing. No boring salads here. The key to a really good salad is having lots of different components, flavors, and textures.
And, most importantly, it needs to be filling (protein, fat, and fiber!). There is nothing worst than eating a salad and then being hungry an hour later. Salads can be a great way to bring in a variety of micronutrients into your diet too.
So we are rounding up 21 high-protein salad recipes to help inspire you. Broken down by protein options, you are sure to find one you love!
Keys to making a healthy salad
While you might think there isn’t a right or wrong way to make a salad, you do want to put some thought and effort into it. Nothing is worst than a boring and uninspiring salad.
Here are some key components and ingredients to building a healthy salad:
- greens – the base of most salads. Use one or a variety. Some of my favorites are romaine, spinach, arugula, and mixed greens.
- vegetables – roasted or raw, use whatever you like! I sometimes like to have a mix of both to keep it fun.
- protein – any kind you like! This is going to help slow down digestion and keep you full. Check out my favorite options below.
- carbs – optional, but adds some bulk and volume to salads, while helping them be satisfying. Some good options are white or brown rice, quinoa, farro, lentils, potatoes, and butternut squash.
- sauce or dressing – a solid dressing can really help bring the salad the life. This usually adds a nice creaminess to salads too.
- toppings – nuts, seeds, fresh herbs, dried or fresh fruit, pickled veggies, cheese. Really get creative with these.
- something crunchy – I find that this helps keep the texture interesting. It can be anything from some raw veggies to nuts.
How to add protein to a salad
Protein is essential to have at every meal. It is the building blocks for our tissues, organs, nerves, and muscles…(provide structure and function), helps with blood sugar balance (having stable energy) by slowing down the absorption of carbs, and digests slowly and helps with feeling full to name a few.
Without it (and healthy fats), salads can feel pretty unfulfilling and leave us hungry an hour or two later.
Here are some ways to add protein to a salad:
- Chicken – chicken breasts or thighs. Grill them, bake them, pan-fried, or just use shredded chicken to pack a high-protein punch.
- Beef – steak or ground beef
- Seafood and fish – salmon, tuna, shrimp, white fish, sardines…
- Eggs (breakfast salad!)
- Deli meat – turkey, roast beef, or ham
- Beans and Legumes – kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans
- Nuts and seeds – peanuts, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds…
Our daily protein intake should be tailored to our physiological needs, goals, activity, satiety levels, and digestion status.
High protein chicken salad recipes
Chopped Chicken Bacon Ranch salad is made with pan-fried chicken, bacon, and avocado, and tossed with ranch dressing. Super easy to make, comes together in 30 minutes and is loaded with veggies, protein (30 grams!), and healthy fats.
Tropical Chicken Salad packs spicy chipotle grilled chicken, macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, and avocado, complete with a creamy, dairy-free mango dressing. It makes a perfect light and healthy summer salad full of protein (31 grams!), healthy fats, and veggies for a balanced meal.
Chicken Cabbage Salad is a light and flavorful Vietnamese-inspired salad with cabbage, chicken, peppers, carrots, snap peas, cashews, basil, and a refreshing dressing. Makes a ton and is perfect for meal prep. 32 grams of protein per serving.
Hearty Buffalo Chicken Salad Bowls with buffalo chicken, roasted cauliflower, veggies, and rice with greek yogurt ranch. Make them for dinner or prep for lunch for a whopping 50g of protein.
Greek Chicken Pasta Salad is made with zucchini noodles, juicy chicken, artichokes, tomatoes, olives, onions, and feta, and tossed with fresh herbs and quick greek salad dressing for a light and lower carb pasta salad. 2 cups is 24 grams of protein.
High protein ground beef and steak salad recipes
Restaurant Quality Thai Beef Salad made with fresh veggies, peanuts, and a phenomenal Thai dressing by grinding Thai chilis, cilantro, and garlic. Packed with 38 grams of protein!
The Best Steak Salad is loaded with a juicy steak, your favorite veggies, and a creamy balsamic vinaigrette. Ready in just 20 minutes with 33 grams of protein.
Steak Cobb Salad gives you all of the delicious flavors of a traditional cobb salad plus topped with a creamy avocado lime dressing. Packed with 26 grams of protein.
Cheeseburger Salad is the best of both worlds – a cheeseburger and a salad! It has mustard-flavored ground beef, all your favorite burger toppings (tomatoes, onions, pickles, cheese), and a delicious homemade special sauce all over greens. It’s low-carb and super easy to make! 28 grams of protein per serving.
Best Taco Salad made with seasoned ground beef, chopped lettuce, and all your favorite toppings (including tortilla or nacho-flavored tortilla chips). Ready in under 30 minutes and perfect for the whole family. Loaded with 27 grams of protein.
Salads with seafood
Glowing Grilled Summer Salad with fresh tomatoes, grilled romaine, shrimp, and cilantro with a creamy avocado cilantro dressing. The perfect summer salad with 27 grams of protein!
Southwest Salmon Salad with black beans, peppers, avocado, mango, tomatoes, corn, cotija cheese, and topped with an easy chili lime dressing.
Tuna Tahini Salad is made with apples, bell peppers, tahini, fresh herbs, and spices. Loaded with protein, healthy fats, and lots of flavors. 32 grams of protein per serving.
Mediterranean Chopped Salad with Lemon Garlic Shrimp filled with romaine, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, peppers, feta, fresh herbs, lemon garlic shrimp, and a zesty Greek vinaigrette.
Summer Niçoise Salad is loaded with potatoes, grilled asparagus, sweet corn, fresh greens, tomatoes, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, and a delicious tangy olive oil-based dressing.
High protein vegetarian salads
Quinoa Southwest Salad with black beans, fire-roasted corn, avocado, fresh tomatoes, and topped with a creamy chipotle dressing. 15 grams of protein per 1 1/4 cup, gluten-free, and only 30 minutes to make.
Vegetarian Lentil Salad with honey mustard vinaigrette is nutrient-packed and perfect for meal prep lunches served over some leafy greens. 16 grams of protein per 1 1/2 cups.
High protein vegan salads
Vegan Protein Salad with tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, hemp seeds, greens, veggies, and avocado for a big plant-based protein bunch. Packed with 40 grams of plant-based protein!
Chopped Cashew Chickpea Broccoli Salad made with crunchy carrots, red cabbage, and sweet bell pepper and tossed in a spicy ginger peanut dressing. 15 grams of plant-based protein thanks to chickpeas, broccoli, peanut butter, and cashews.
Vegan Cobb Salad that gives you all of the delicious flavors of a traditional cobb salad, and with 19 grams of plant-based protein.
Asian Edamame Crunch Salad is crunchy, savory, and spicy. Works great for meal prep lunches. 17 grams of protein in 1 cup.