8 Warm Salad Recipes Under 500 Calories

Swap this summer staple for healthy and hearty cold-weather creations.

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A big salad is a great way to get your daily dose of veggies and the nutrients your body needs; plus, it makes summertime meal prep a breeze. But salads don’t have to be a one-season meal. Enjoy the flavors of dark greens and in-season veggies, even after the autumn chill sets in.

Fall fruits and veggies, like beets, Brussel sprouts, apples and pears make tasty additions to your salad. And they’re even better served warm. “Grilling is great for fall fruits and veggies,” says Tammy Baranowski, RDN, a registered dietitian with Orange Park Medical Center in Orange Park, Florida. “You can broil them, roast them, and if you're in a time pinch, you can just sauté them on top of the stove.”

Check out some of the tastiest fall fruits and veggies to add to your warm salad recipes.

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Healthy grilled Caesar

This non-traditional recipe is a salad lover’s dream-come-true.

First, slice hearts of romaine in half lengthwise, brush with a light layer of heart-healthy olive oil and toss on the grill. It sounds weird, but it tastes delicious!

Top your grilled romaine with a three-ounce serving of grilled chicken breast and a drizzle of homemade Caesar dressing. To whip up your own dressing, combine a tablespoon of plain non-fat Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice, a dollop of Dijon mustard and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

This salad tastes indulgent but packs only 300 calories per serving.

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Roasted beet and arugula

This recipe comes with a nutritionist’s seal of approval. “I mix one cup of a spicy green, like arugula, with one cup spring mix, and top it with two roasted beets, one quarter of a cubed avocado, one ounce goat cheese, one tablespoon walnuts and one tablespoon unsweetened dried cranberries,” says Baranowski.

This salad is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy fats and flavor. The greens are loaded with vitamin A, which helps promote a healthy immune system and beets, dubbed a superfood, contain manganese, beneficial for bone health and metabolism.

Avocado, olive oil and walnuts contain unsaturated fats that help lower bad cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can up your risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death among American men and women.

Finish off your toasty salad with a homemade dressing. “I typically make my own vinaigrette, with olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice and a touch of honey,” Baranowski says.

Dig into this dish for just 405 calories.

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Warm farro with feta

Don’t limit your salads to just fruits and veggies—whole grains add loads of fiber and flavor, too. Boil a quarter cup of farro, following the directions on the package, and get ready to load on even more tasty ingredients.

The fall weather produces a bounty of leafy greens. “There's such a variety of greens that are at their best in the fall, like Swiss chard, Belgium endive, radicchio and spring mix,” says Baranowski. Wilt down a heaping handful of your favorite and fold it into your farro.

Top the mixture with a cup of oven-roasted broccoli or any of your favorite cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower or Brussel sprouts, and a tablespoon of feta cheese. Farro contains seven grams of protein, and broccoli contains another three. If you’re looking to maximize your protein intake, add a grilled salmon filet, which contains 17 grams in every three ounces.

With a salmon filet, this salad contains only 460 calories, so eat up!

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Toasted veggie medley

This veggie-rich dish is the perfect weeknight meal to whip up when you’re short on time. Chop up the seasonal veggies you have stocked in your fridge, like cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots and bell peppers, and roast, grill or sauté.

The best thing about the fall veggies? “Roasting and serving them warm really brings out the flavors,” says Baranowski. Add some extra zest by sprinkling your favorite spices before roasting. “[Fall] veggies pair well with spices like curry, cinnamon and sage.”

Lightly drizzle chopped veggies with olive oil and spices. Then, toss about two cups of your roasted vegetables on a bed of chopped kale. Two cups of kale contain just 70 calories and some heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but are loaded with vitamins K and A. These vitamins are important for the production of healthy white blood cells and building strong bones, and omega-3s can help lower your risk for heart disease.

In no time at all, enjoy a warm, hearty salad that contains just 330 calories. Toss in a quarter cup of roasted chickpeas for only 67 calories and about 4 grams of protein.

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Warm Brussels sprouts and pears

Brussels sprouts are nutrient powerhouses. They’re loaded with vitamin K and folate, essential to proper blood clotting and DNA formation. They’re also packed with flavor, and taste incredible with sweet, juicy pears. Ditch the leafy greens for this recipe—these ingredients taste better alone.

Slice two cups of Brussel sprouts, drizzle with olive oil and pop them into the oven until the edges are crisp and golden brown. Prep your pear while your sprouts roast. “Grilling fall fruits like apples and pears is great,” says Baranowski. “Slice them thinly, add a light coating of oil, so they don't stick and grill them,” she recommends.

This salad wouldn’t be complete without a tangy dressing. Blend a tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lime juice, a bit of honey and your favorite spices.

Load your plate and enjoy for only 390 calories.

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Savory sweet potato and turkey bacon

Top a bed of spinach with turkey bacon, sweet potatoes and cinnamon.

To start, chop one medium sweet potato into bite-sized pieces, spread them on a baking sheet and coat with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of cinnamon.

While your sweet potato is roasting, prep the rest of your meal. In a sauté pan, crisp up two pieces of lean turkey bacon. Then, top two cups of fresh baby spinach with the sweet potato pieces and crumbled turkey bacon.

Looking to add more flavor? Sprinkle on the zest of an orange, throw in some pumpkin seeds or tablespoon of chopped nuts. Baranowski recommends: “Nuts and seeds like pecan, pepitas—a type of pumpkin seed—or walnuts, which are the best nutritional bang for your buck.”

A tablespoon of pumpkin seeds contains fewer than 60 calories, bringing the grand total of the meal to just 345 calories.

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Wilted kale, apple and quinoa

This salad pairs crunchy bites of apple with a warm, hearty, grains. First, boil a quarter cup of dry quinoa in water or, for more flavor, low-sodium vegetable broth.

Next, add a tablespoon of olive oil, chopped garlic and two heaping cups of chopped kale to a sauté pan. Cook the kale, stirring occasionally, until your greens are tender. Mix the wilted kale with the warm quinoa and top with cubes of Macintosh apple.

This recipe is packed with vitamins from the kale, a helping of fiber from the quinoa and loads of flavor from this recipe’s most potent ingredient—garlic.

Up the flavor and protein with a few grilled shrimp. This tasty salad will fill you up without weighing you down and with 480 calories—including the extra protein—you’ll even have room left for a healthy dessert.

If you're concerned about getting enough nutrients and keeping an eye on your calories, get into the practice of tracking your meals. Apps like Sharecare, for iOS and Android, make this easy. Download the application and effortless log the size and quantity of your meals.

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Warm Brussels sprout slaw

You'll never guess which little green veggies are loaded with vitamins C and K and contain about 55 calories per cooked cup. Brussels sprouts!

Whip up this belly-warming meal by spreading a cup of halved sprouts on a sheet pan with a teaspoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder and baking for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In the meantime, load your plate with a cup of washed baby arugula leaves, a quarter cup of thin apple slices and a tablespoon of chopped walnuts and drizzle with a combination of Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar—about a tablespoon of each.

Remove your warm sprouts from the oven, slice into thin shreds and sprinkle on your salad. The whole dish contains about 200 filling calories. 

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