top of page

10 Salad Variations – How to be creative with your salads.

Variations for Building a Tasty Salad

Salads are a great way to help you get your 5-7 fruits plus veggies a day. Salads don’t have to be just lettuce, tomato, cucumber. You can mix and match any kinds of greens, fruits, veggies, a few nuts, to discover what combos you like. Here’s some colorful examples to try:

“Lunch Box”

Pack a salad for lunch

Salad Variation #1 – Salads are so easy to take for lunch.  I often pack my lunch in the plastic containers the mixed leaf lettuce comes in; this is an organic baby spinach spring mix.  I usually pack enough for more than one day.  Broccoli, asparagus, red pepper, carrot and celery are a delicious combo on greens.  The next day I could build a salad with apple, celery and broccoli.  The photo also shows roasted vegetables with butter beans;  I  made extra over the week end

and they are delicious heated up with lunch.

Use your favorite Vegan no oil dressings – scroll down for some ideas and recipes.  I often just use a Balsamic vinegar or Bolthouse Vinaigrette which is very tasty.

Black berries, red cabbage,mandarins

Romaine, clementines, blackberries and red cabbage

Salad Variation #2  Use this colorful combination to make another delicious lunch salad.  You can add some garbanzo beans (aka chick peas) to make it a complete lunch.  This can had a “pop top”, so it was easy to take in my lunch bag with the fruit, a wedge of red cabbage and some Romaine leaves.  Balsamic vinegar is yum on this.

A delicious side salad.

Salad Variation #3  I made this salad when I discovered some more green beans frozen garden-fresh hiding in the freezer.  These are easily thawed at room temperature and keep their texture; of course you can use fresh beans.  Green beans, carrots, lettuce, asparagus, celery, broccoli go perfectly together.  The apple adds a nice sweet contrast.

Kalea making greens, pineapple and avocado salad

Kids have fun making salads

Salad Variation #4 – by Kalea.  Letting kids make the salad is a great way to get them to enjoy salads and try new things.  My granddaughter Kalea ( age 9) has been cooking with her mom since she could sit up;  she would sit on the counter while Mom made supper .  When I was visiting she volunteered to make the salad and went to the fridge and pulled out her own choice of ingredients. She put orange, pineapple, red cabbage and avocado on a bed of greens — with some pecans sprinkled on top.  Delicious.

Apple Fennel and Raspberry salad
A beautiful simple salad with fresh seasonal produce.

Fennel and apple on greens

Salad Variation #5  Fennel is a wonderful addition to any salad (and also in roasted vegetables!).  Wonderful with mixed greens, raspberries and apple.  Be sure to experiment with fennel in any salad combo.

Salad Variation #6  Aren’t these ingredients  just so beautiful!! Kohlrabi (the purple veggie) can actually have a slightly sweet flavor.  Peal kohlrabi for a salad; for roast veggies it does OK without pealing.  It adds a fun crisp texture to a salad.  It also can work fine in a Chinese dish to replace water chestnut! Put the greens in the bowl first and then break the kale up over it; “Massage” the kale with some juice from the orange – to tenderize and take any bitterness away. Toss in the chopped (or slivered) Kohlrabi . The black berries, raspberries and orange are delicious on top with some parsley finely chopped over it for an added zing.

Romaine, carrot, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, red cabbage

Try Mushrooms in your salad

Salad Variation #7  For a different taste and texture add mushrooms (and their minerals and B vitamins)  to Romaine lettuce, celery, carrot, tomato,  and  chopped red cabbage.  (By the way a wedge of crisp red cabbage makes a delicious snack – taste tested by my grand kids)

Cranberries, celery, Romaine, and orange

Cranberries for another flavor

Salad Variation #8  Simple and delicious – Romaine, dried cranberries, orange, celery – toss on your choice of almonds or walnuts; balsamic, raspberry, or red wine vinaigrette all add zip.  Cranberries are a very good source of Iodine — that your thyroid uses to make thyroxine.  For another variation you could also add thinly sliced or chopped apple to this.  Of course, leave the nutritious and delicious peal on!

Super Supper Salad

A Super supper salad

Salad Variation #9  A super supper Salad – Brown rice cooked with almonds, (I made a big pot over the weekend to have during the week) on a bed of romaine, topped with red kidney beans, fresh asparagus, add a little chopped parsley, slices of orange and balsamic vinaigrette

Fennel, snap peas, pineapple, almonds

Create your own salad variations.

Don’t be limited by what you’re used to seeing as “a salad”; keep inventing different combos. The combinations are endless. Here’s some mix and match variations. Just have fun!

Greens, fennel, strawberries, peas, almonds, orange, apple

Greens, peas, kale, mushrooms, tomatoes

Salad Dressing ideas

Boathouse Balsamic Vinaigrette– low in fat, low in sodium, great taste.)

Flavor infused Balsamic Vinegar – yesterday I found Ginger and Blackberry at an “Oil and Vinegar” specialty shop; these shops are popular these days.  Products are also available on line.

Basic 3,2,1 Dressing – I first saw this in Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp mustard of your choice

  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

  • Pinch of white pepper (optional)

Combine ingredients and whisk until smooth

Experiment with different herbs and spices

No Oil Plant Based Creamy Italian Dressing from My Plant Based Family

  • 1½ cup cooked white beans, drain and rinse if using canned

  • ½ cup (to 1 cup) water

  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • 2 tsp dried parsley

  • 1½ tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)

Warm beans slightly and blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth; adjust herbs to your preference; add more lemon or water if needed.



An Adventure is a community-based 28-day program that can kick-start you on a lifetime of healthier eating with a whole foods, plant based lifestyle.

bottom of page