Yes, salads are simple, but there’s an art to designing the perfect bite. We’ve got the ultimate guide to turning up the volume on this vegan meal with build-your-own tips and recipes for a satisfying bowl every time.
Just like pulling together a great outfit, there’s an order to creating a delicious salad. Start with a base of greens or grains, layer on some protein, and accessorize different textures and flavors to add depth. Finish it off with a perfectly paired dressing for a delicious bite every time!
Whether your grab a head of butter or romaine lettuce, or a bag of spinach or mixed greens, you really can’t go wrong. Just be sure the leaves are fresh and washed and dried before you toss. Looking for something filling? Toss in a cooked grain like quinoa or barley, or add grilled tofu on top.
With a base ready to go, consider the dressing. Tender leaves like little gem or arugula won’t be weighed down with a lighter dressing, while sturdy options like kale and romaine can hold up to thicker pours. It’s all about balance!
Adding a scoop of your favorite grain is a great way to boost any salad course. It’s also a vegan pantry staple that’s easy to make. Just cook a big batch on Sunday to add to meals throughout the week!
An amazing salad is all about texture. To balance creamier fare like smooth tomatoes, tender lettuce, and even the dressing, make every bite more satisfying by adding one or two of these crisp additions.
Salads have a reputation of leaving you less than satiated, but the right boost of protein can change all that.
Next up? Dressing! If you’d like to make your own (it’s super easy!) here are four go-to recipes to keep in your back pocket.
Here’s a vegan and Paleo-friendly ranch that gets oh so creamy thanks to soaked, raw cashews. A little tang comes from apple cider vinegar, and plenty of herbs brightens up every bite.
Bust out the blender for this zippy dressing made with fresh carrots and Asian flavors like sesame oil, rice vinegar, and coconut aminos.
There’s more to an avocado than guacamole! Mix it up with robust flavors like lime juice, onion powder, cayenne, and cilantro for a Tex-Mex inspired way to dress up lettuce.
Sweeten the pot with a pretty-in-pink vinaigrette. It’s completely pantry friendly—just stock up on raspberry jam, sherry vinegar, Dijon, and coconut oil.
When time’s not on your side and you need to throw together a no-cook vegan meal, it’s smart to have a bottle or two of tried-and-true dressings in the fridge.
A favorite childhood dressing, vegan style! This bottle is made with avocado oil and apple cider vinegar, and spiced with garlic powder, onion powder, and dried parsley.
This tomato-based option is full of flavor thanks to celery seed, onion powder, and white vinegar. A touch of agave nectar adds just the right amount of sweetness.
Go Greek with a bold vinaigrette that’s ready to impress. Oregano (both in dried and oil form) is the star, with apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, coriander, and black pepper in supporting roles.
Eat like a goddess with this creamy, tahini-based dressing. Just shake it up and pour on big flavors like lemon, chives, and soy sauce.
You’ll be a pro at building a healthy vegan salad in no time, but if you need a little inspiration, check out these recipes. Make ‘em once, then swap in other ingredients to make them your own!
This trusty side can double as a main just by layering tofu on top. The carrot ribbons hold up to sesame oil, ginger, and nut butter for the right blend of sweet and savory flavors.
This salad is almost too beautiful to eat, but when hunger calls, you’ll love every bite of fresh zucchini, tender quinoa, and chewy cranberries.
Talk about crazy for crunch! Green beans and hazelnuts make the perfect pair. Nix the ricotta to keep it vegan, and pack it for lunch all week. Just add quinoa or barley to make it even heartier.
Enjoy this salad as-is, or toss all the ingredients with your favorite greens. Spinach or shredded kale would be a great addition to turn it into a satisfying meal.
Watercress is so delicate that it needs a light dressing to match. This one’s made with just four ingredients—fresh ginger, lime juice, salt, and coconut oil.
Build a better salad with Brussels sprouts. That’s right, we’re in love with this wintery slaw. To keep it vegan, nix the Parm and use maple syrup in the dressing instead of honey.
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