Diet & Nutrition
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6 Lettuce-Free Salad Recipes

So long, leafy greens! These salads are lettuce-free.

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By Taylor Lupo

Your salad should be more than a bowl of leafy greens. In fact, a hearty, healthy salad doesn’t have to include lettuce at all.

Let’s face it, the salad mix-ins are often the best part of the meal. Toss together your favorite fruits, veggies, whole grains and more to create tasty, filling and 100 percent lettuce-free creations.

Worried about missing out on necessary nutrients? Don’t be! Tomatoes, cucumbers, quinoa and avocado are loaded with the essentials. 

Greek Salad

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Get a taste of the Mediterranean in the comfort of your own home. This tangy salad combines a few ingredients to create a whole lot of flavor with little calories.

Start with a whole cucumber—weighing in at only 45 calories—for a crunchy base. One cup of chopped tomatoes contains 30 calories, and is loaded with vitamins A and C, which help boost your immune system. Toss in some chopped red onion for some extra flavor and fiber.

To add the authentic flavor of a Greek salad, sprinkle in a tablespoon of crumbled feta cheese and a small handful of Kalamata olives—just don’t overdo it. A squeeze of lemon and your favorite spices are all you need to top it off. 

Tomato and Avocado Salad

3 / 7 Tomato and Avocado Salad

Enjoy the flavors of a BLAT (bacon-lettuce-avocado-tomato) with a fraction of the sodium, fat and calories.

Tomatoes are packed with vitamins A and C, which promote a healthy immune system and potassium, necessary for proper nerve and muscle function. Avocado contains fiber, healthy fats and a dose of vitamin K, an important ingredient in healthy blood clotting.   

Sprinkle in chopped scallions and add a dash of balsamic vinaigrette before giving your salad a good stir. Be mindful of the dressing you choose—the wrong choice could sabotage an otherwise healthy salad. 

Watermelon and Feta Salad

4 / 7 Watermelon and Feta Salad

Who said salads had to be savory? This light, refreshing recipe can be enjoyed as a snack or topped with a few grilled shrimp for a complete meal.

The star of this salad is watermelon, which will run you only 50 calories per cup. Watermelon is loaded with hydration, and provides vitamins A and C, which play a role in heart, lung and kidney function, and collagen production.  

Add a pinch of fresh mint, a tablespoon of crumbled feta and tangy lime juice—then dig in! 

Beet Salad

5 / 7 Beet Salad

This salad is nearly effortless to put together—and tastes great, too!

It’s easier to use canned beets, but give them a good rinse to get rid of any excess sodium. A cup of beets contains only 60 calories, but also provides fiber, a bit of protein and potassium, which promotes healthy muscle and nerve function and a regular heartbeat.

Toss beets with sliced tangerine, a tablespoon of goat cheese, a few walnut halves and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. One small tangerine contains less than 50 calories, but don’t overdo the other ingredients. Walnuts contain heart-healthy fats, but calories in nuts add up fast, so don’t overindulge.

Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

6 / 7 Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

Shake up your salad routine by filling your bowl with 100 percent whole grains, like quinoa, for a filling and flavorful base.

Measure out one cooked cup of quinoa, loaded with protein, fiber and manganese. Next, chop up and toss in your favorite veggies and beans.

Red onions, black beans and bell peppers make a great addition to this dish. Black beans provide a ton of fiber, which promotes regularity and iron, responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Bell peppers and onions both contain loads of vitamin C, essential for the growth and repair of tissues throughout the body. Top it off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

Bean Salad

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Beans contain protein, fiber and iron, without all of the fat red meat contains. Toss your favorite legumes with a bit of diced onion, a splash of olive oil and spices.

A half-cup serving of black, garbanzo and red kidney beans offer about seven grams of protein and more than 10 percent daily recommended value of iron.

Spices and herbs add a ton of flavor, without the calories, sodium and bad fats some other salad ingredients contain. Dill, thyme and oregano pair well with beans, but don’t be afraid to make this dish your own!