salad

Image: Susy Morris

There’s a difference between cooking and assembling. Between the sort of work you do in the kitchen in wintertime, heating ingredients in a soup pot over a low flame and letting them simmer and meld together over the course of a Sunday afternoon, versus the kind you do once the weather gets nicer and the ingredients speak for themselves. Having a few great meal salads in your repertoire lets you spend a bit more time outdoors before coming home to get dinner on the table. Here are a few of our favorite meatless meal salad recipes, perfect for Meatless Monday.

sesame miso dressing

Image: Catherine Dorell

This salad with miso dressing is marketed as the ideal lunch salad, but it’s just as delicious as dinner. A combination of celery, chickpeas, arugula, olives, onion and broccoli adds just the right combination of color, texture and heft to provide a substantial, delicious dinner. As for the dressing, miso provides umami, while a combination of yogurt and cream makes it just creamy enough to feel decadent.

hale kale salad

Image: Rod Rotondi

Sometimes, simplicity wins out, like with our simple hale kale salad. Just five ingredients come together to make this delicious salad that’s hearty enough for dinner, thanks to the kale itself as well as the avocado, which provides some much-needed healthy fats. Serve this with some homemade bread on the side if you like, and dinner is served!

royal rainbow quinoa salad

Image: Laura Klein

Our royal rainbow quinoa salad is quite the opposite, combining a host of different ingredients. But that doesn’t translate to complicated: the flavor combination of coconut oil, rainbow quinoa, kale, dried cherries, almonds and green onions is just a matter of assembly. A quick red wine-Dijon mustard vinaigrette, and this salad is ready to be enjoyed. Prepare double and take the leftovers to work with your for a healthy, delicious lunch on Tuesday.

noodle salad

Image: Michelle Huynh

Noodle salads are a common sight at picnics, but the Pioneer Woman’s noodle salad is far from the mayonnaisey versions you might be used to. Her Asian-influenced salad features a combination of fresh vegetables tossed with cooked and cooled pasta. A delicious vinaigrette made of lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic and jalapeño provides great flavor. You could even sub the pasta with whole wheat or soba noodles, to make this dish even healthier!