Tired of salads that look like rabbit food? These muscle-building recipes boast about 50 grams of protein each.
FOR MOST GUYS, eating a salad is a lot like stretching after a workout—you know it’s good for you, but you don’t enjoy it. That’s because most salads are a second thought that consists of little more than limp vegetables swimming in goopy bottled dressing. But a salad can be so much more than sad rabbit food. Instead, think of it as the perfect opportunity to create a power meal made up of musclebuilding proteins and
seasonal vegetables at their nutritional and flavour peaks. And if you forgo the lackluster
store-bought options and make your own dressings, you’ll net an even bigger nutritional windfall. To keep your six-pack in beach-readyshape, whip up any of these high-protein and nutrient-dense main dish summer salads that will have you eager to raid the crisper.
1. Chicken Gazpacho Salad
BOWLED OVER: With inspiration from the classic Spanish cold soup, this salad is packed with fresh flavour and toothsome textures. Of course, we’re bringing the muscle-building protein to the table courtesy of the always-reliable chicken breast, with some peaches for a hint of sweetness to boot.
EXTRA CREDIT: When summer is in full swing, forget the supermarket. For superior flavour and nutritional value, source most of your salad ingredients, like tomatoes and greens, from a local farmers’ market. You’ll save some cash, too.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
Salt and black pepper
2 peaches, halved and pitted
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
¼ cup fresh basil
2 cups arugula
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 scallion, sliced
½ cup bocconcini (mozzarella pearls) or torn fresh mozzarella
¼ cup shelled pistachios
1. Heat grill to medium-high and grease grill grate. Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill until internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 6 minutes per side. Cook chicken in a skillet on the stove top over mediumhigh heat or in a 400°F oven. When cool, thinly slice chicken.
2. Brush peaches with oil and place on grill, cut-side down. Heat until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. When cool, slice peaches into wedges.
3. Whisk together oil, vinegar, 2 tbsp water, basil, and salt to taste.
4. Shave cucumber into long strips with a vegetable peeler, stopping at the seedy core.
5. Divide arugula, tomatoes, cucumber, peaches, chicken, scallion, and bocconcini between 2 serving plates or bowls. Drizzle on dressing and scatter on pistachios.
|568 CALORIES||51gPROTEIN||34g CARBS||26g FAT|
2. Chocolate Turkey Salad
BOWLED OVER: Who says salads can’t taste like dessert? This salad busts through boredom with tangy goat cheese, sweet-tart raspberries, and a surprising chocolate-infused dressing. And since turkey breast tenderloins are nearly all protein, each mouthful will help you maintain a shredded summer physique.
12 oz turkey breast tenderloin
Salt and black pepper
4 cups baby greens
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
½ English cucumber, diced
½ avocado, diced
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp chili powder (optional)
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1. Heat grill to medium-high and grease grill grate. Season turkey with salt and pepper and grill until internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 5 minutes per side. Alternatively, cook turkey in a skillet on the stove top over mediumhigh heat or in a 400°F oven. When cool,
thinly slice turkey.
2. Divide baby greens, bell pepper, cucumber, turkey, avocado, raspberries, and goat cheese between 2 serving plates or bowls.
3. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high in 25-second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval. Stir oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, chili powder (if using), and salt to taste into melted chocolate.
4. Drizzle dressing over salad and garnish with almonds.
|568 CALORIES||51gPROTEIN||34gCARBS||26g FAT|
Each serving of this amped-up salad forks over a whopping 13 grams of dietary fibre to help keep your appetite in check so you’ll be less likely to take part in late-night fridge raids.
PUT A LID ON IT
For ready-to-go transportable salads that’ll shake up your lunch routine, divide a dressing from any of these recipes between two large wide-mouth jars and then layer in sturdy items like meats, beans, and carrots followed by delicate ingredients such as baby greens and then garnishes. Seal shut and chill for up to three days.
3. Sweet Potato Pork Salad with Tahini Dressing
BOWLED OVER: Oven-blasted sweet potato, lean pork tenderloin, and a creamy tahini topping are guaranteed to take your salad game up a gastronomic notch. As a bonus, the kitchen hack of massaging some of the oil and vinegar into the kale helps tenderize the raw leaves, making them less bitter tasting.
EXTRA CREDIT: Black beans and other legumes are an easy way to infuse salads with more fiber and plant-based protein.
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tsp canola or grape-seed oil
Salt and black pepper
¾ lb pork tenderloin, sliced into
6 cups chopped kale
1 tbsp + 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp + 2 tsp white-wine or cider vinegar
1 tbsp tahini
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cumin
½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss sweet potato with 1 tsp canola oil and a couple of pinches of salt and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 25 minutes, stirring once halfway.
2. Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and cook until browned on the outside and just slightly pink on the inside, about 5 minutes.
3. Place kale in a large bowl and toss with 2 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp vinegar. Using your hands, massage kale until tender, about 1 minute.
4. Whisk together 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp warm water, tahini, garlic, paprika, cumin, and salt to taste.
5. Divide kale between 2 serving plates or bowls and top with sweet potato, pork, black beans, and cilantro. Drizzle on dressing and garnish with pumpkin seeds.
|676 CALORIES||48gPROTEIN||46g CARBS||35gFAT|
4. Egg, Salmon & Spelt Salad
BOWLED OVER: Eggs and salmon team up to make this salad a protein powerhouse, while the ancient grain spelt offers quality carbs. You can press the easy button by using smoked salmon and replacing spelt with rye or wheat berries. Also, soaking the grains overnight will slash cooking time by about a third.
EXTRA CREDIT: A study out of Penn State University found that adorning your salad with eggs dropped from pastureraised hens will give you an added boost of must-have nutrients like vitamin E. Good options include cartons from Handsome Brook Farm or Vital Farms.
1/3 cup spelt berries
1 lb salmon fillet
Salt and black pepper
2 large eggs
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 tsp grated lemon zest
4 cups salad greens, such as baby spinach or mesclun
½ cup sliced roasted red pepper
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1. Place spelt berries and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until spelt is tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place salmon, skin-side down, on a greased or parchment-paper- lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 12 minutes, or until fish is just cooked through in the center. Let rest 5 minutes and then gently break apart flesh into
large chunks. Alternatively, grill salmon over medium-high heat.
3. In a saucepan, add water to a depth of about 3 inches; bring to a boil. Gently lower eggs into water; boil exactly 6½ minutes, adjusting heat to maintain a gentle boil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and chill 2 minutes, or until just slightly warm. Softly tap eggs against counter to break shell in several spots and gently peel, starting from wider end. Cut eggs in half lengthwise.
4. Stir together yogurt, shallot, garlic, lemon zest, and salt to taste. Spread yogurt mixture on serving plates and top with greens, red pepper, spelt, eggs, salmon, and parsley. Squirt on lemon juice.
|635 CALORIES||54g PROTEIN||37g CARBS||29g FAT|
5. Cheeseburger Salad
BOWLED OVER: This deconstructed burger recipe delivers a bigger bounty of body-friendly vegetables than what you can stuff between two doughy buns. If you’re watching fat numbers, the salad can be made with reduced-fat cheese and light mayo for the dressing.
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
¾ lb extra-lean ground beef
Salt and black pepper
2 small whole-grain pitas
½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp ketchup
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, sliced into wedges
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
1. Place onion in a bowl, cover with cold water, and soak for 1 hour. This will reduce some of the bite of the raw onion. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat grill to medium-high and grease grill grate. Form beef into 2 patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill patties until meat is cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Alternatively, cook burgers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat. When cool enough to handle, cut burgers into bite-size chunks.
3. Brush pitas with oil and grill until crispy and browned, about 30 seconds per side. Cut pitas into big slices.
4. Whisk together mayonnaise, ketchup, cayenne (if using), and 1 tbsp water. using)
5. Divide lettuce, tomatoes, onion, burger chunks, and pita between 2 serving plates or bowls. Drizzle on dressing and sprinkle with cheese.
|649 CALORIES||50g PROTEIN||46gCARBS||30g FAT|
A salad is only as good as the dressing you douse it in. Say hello to your new go-to flavour booster. You can also employ it as marinade for grilled meats.
Balsamic Orange Vinaigrette
Zest and juice of 1 medium orange
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive
Add orange zest and juice, vinegar, honey, mustard, ginger, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to a blender and blend until thoroughly combined. With the machine running on low speed, slowly add olive oil through the top tube. Chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This should make enough for about 6 salads.
For the most sustainable catch of the day, aim to reel in domestic shrimp sourced from American waters. Or look for bags of the shellfish bearing certifications from organizations like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a third-party company that seeks out sustainable wild fisheries.
6. Quinoa Shrimp Salad with Mango Dressing
BOWLED OVER: Shrimp and the nutritionally dense whole-grain quinoa, this salad with plenty of clean protein that’ll show your muscles some major love. The quinoa and mango dressing can be prepared ahead of time and kept chilled separately for up to two days.
½ cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup frozen mango cubes, thawed
1 tbsp canola or grape-seed oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
½ yellow bell pepper, sliced
½ red bell pepper, sliced
1 medium carrot, sliced
2 red radishes, sliced into matchsticks
¼ cup fresh mint, sliced
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1. Bring quinoa and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and liquid has absorbed, about 10 minutes. Set
aside covered for 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
2. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add shrimp and remove pan from heat. Cover and let shrimp rest until pink and opaque, about 3 minutes.
3. Place mango, oil, vinegar, ginger, garlic, cayenne (if using), and salt to taste in a blender and blend until smooth.
4. Divide quinoa, bell peppers, carrot, radishes, mint, and shrimp between 2 serving plates or bowls. Top with dressing and sesame seeds.
|574 CALORIES||54g PROTEIN||53g CARBS||16g FAT|