Best Filling and Easy Vegetarian Salads for Lunch and Dinner – Jarastyle

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Photo of lentil salad with text that reads, "Easy Vegetarian Salads That Aren't Boring!"

Do you always seem to feel hungry and unsatisfied minutes after eating a veggie salad for your main meal? Next time, try one of these filling and easy vegetarian salads. With a few simple swaps, you can learn how to make the best quick, tasty, and satisfying meal salads for lunch and dinner. The whole family will be craving salads in no time!

Vegetarian lentil salad with feta cheese and mint.

Whether you’re looking for a veggie grain salad, something you can make ahead of time, or a different and interesting twist on a classic (hello, vegan Caesar!), you’re sure to find your new favorite meal right here. All of these types of vegetarian salads are simple, healthy, and still packed with hearty ingredients, satisfying flavor, and amazing texture that everyone will love. Nope, no boring salads here!

Salads (and vegetarian food, in general) can have a bad rap, but I’m here to debunk the myth that plant-based meals are difficult to make and boring to eat. Nothing could be further from the truth! Just take a peek at all of the amazing salad options below for proof.

Top Tip: Load up the pantry with convenient, vegetarian staples, like canned chickpeas, orzo, quinoa, frozen edamame, lentils, and avocado for quick salads you can prep and cook in 30 minutes or less.

Find my full Vegetarian Grocery List with more shopping tips here.

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How to Make Easy Vegetarian Salads That Aren’t Boring

If you really want to step up your vegetarian salad game, follow these tips:

  • Use a variety of colorful fruits and veggies to add to the flavor, texture, and visual appeal of your salad bowl. (And don’t feel like you need to use greens – there are lots of delicious vegetarian salad recipes you can make without a single leaf of lettuce if it’s not your thing!)
  • Try including warm elements, such as cooked quinoa or steamed broccoli, to add a little interest. (This works especially well for fall and winter dinner salads!)
  • Don’t skimp on the dressing! Despite what diet culture may try to tell you, salad dressing is a fantastic way to amp up the flavor, add nutrients, and transform a blah salad into a dreamy one-bowl meal. (try my homemade Vegan Green Goddess Dressing recipe or use one of the bottled vegetarian dressing brands in this list from VegNews.)
  • Aim for a balanced mix of carbs, protein, and fat. It takes more than a head of lettuce to make a satisfying salad! Include beans or chickpeas, whole grains, avocado and nuts or seeds. (More details on this below!)

How to Make Vegetarian Salads More Filling

The key to making a plant-forward salad more filling is balance. Include a mix of ingredients to get the protein, carbs, fat, and fiber your body needs to feel full.

Bonus: the variety also adds flavor and texture, which will help you feel more satisfied, too.

Try to include at least one ingredient from each of these food groups in your next main dish salad:

  • Protein – beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and edamame
  • Starchy carbs – pasta, orzo, couscous, quinoa, farro, sweet potatoes, rice
  • Fat – add avocado, nuts, seeds, or cheese to your salad. Use peanut butter, tahini, Greek yogurt, or extra virgin olive oil to make salad dressing.
  • Produce – lettuces and dark leafy greens work great, but don’t stop there. Any fruit or vegetable is a great choice!

Vegetarian Soup and Salad Combos

If you’re still not feeling satisfied with a salad on its own, try adding a bowl of soup! Here are a few vegetarian soup and salad combinations to inspire your meal planning.

If you prefer a printable PDF version of this post, download my Easy Vegetarian Salad Ideas guide here.

Vegetarian Grain Salads and Pasta Salads

Adding grains to vegetarian salads is a smart way to bump up the filling fiber content and add satisfying texture to your main meal. If you want to make a grain salad that’s as filling as possible, use fiber-rich whole grains, such as brown rice or farro.

Vegetarian orzo pasta salad with brussels sprouts

Orzo is a type of pasta that cooks in less than 10 minutes, so it’s ideal for a quick vegetarian dinner salad. This Brussels Sprouts Orzo Pasta Salad is an example of a meal you can serve warm or cold, depending on your mood. Just toss orzo pasta with chickpeas, feta cheese, Brussels sprouts, and walnuts. Bonus: the leftovers are great for lunch the next day!

Vegan Edamame Crunch Salad with Thai Inspired Peanut Dressing

Say hello to your new favorite vegan salad! This Easy Edamame Salad is quick, balanced, and filling. With edamame, quinoa, crunchy vegetables, and Thai-inspired peanut dressing, it’s easily a complete meal all on its own. If you’re looking for a plant-based salad that’s anything but bland and boring, this one’s for you!

Easy vegetarian coucous salad with chickpeas in a wood bowl.

Hello, Mediterranean-inspired comfort food! This 20-Minute Easy Pearl Couscous comes together with just one pot and minimal ingredients.¬†Protein-packed chickpeas mean you’re sure to feel full and satisfied.

Deconstructed veggie sushi salad bowl with edamame and avocado.

This fun salad tastes just like a veggie sushi roll, but is so much easier to make. Use pre-cooked rice (look for it frozen or in microwavable packets) to make this recipe in a flash.

Vegan black rice salad with beans, peanuts, and mango

This Black Rice and Beans recipe is an easy, vegan rice salad with forbidden black rice, protein-rich kidney beans, diced mango, crunchy peanuts, and fresh cilantro.

Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad

Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad

With creamy pesto sauce (made with oat milk instead of dairy-based cream), high-protein chickpeas, and a slew of fiber-rich vegetables, this pesto pasta is balanced, nutritious, and satisfying. Make it ahead of time and serve cold for a pasta salad lunch that’s ideal for meal prep.

Spring and Summer Salads

With a plethora of fresh fruits and veggies at your fingertips, the spring and summer months are an ideal time to add more salads to your repertoire. Many of these seasonal salads are also no-cook recipes, so there’s no need to switch on the oven when it’s hot out!

Easy vegetarian salad with strawberries, avocado, and lemon hemp dressing.

With juicy strawberries, creamy avocado, fresh basil, and hemp seeds, this colorful salad is equally eye-catching and satisfying. Add chickpeas if you’re looking for a meal that’s higher in protein.

Vegetarian spring salad with farro, chickpeas, and strawberries

Spring on a plate! A mix of vibrant fruits and vegetables make this balanced salad a real looker, but there’s also chickpeas, farro, sunflower seeds, and tahini to up the satisfaction factor.

Strawberry salad with chickpeas, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette.

For a fuss-free, five-minute meal for one, try this no-cook Summer Strawberry Salad with chickpeas, mozzarella balls, and fresh basil tossed in a tangy balsamic dressing. A smart option for meal prep!

Vegetarian quinoa salad with summer fruit

Make the most of your seasonal berries and late-summer peaches (or nectarines!) with this sweet and flavorful fruit salad. It’s like summer on a plate!

Fall and Winter Salads

You might not automatically think of fall and winter as salad seasons, but I’m here to convince you otherwise. There’s nothing better than a warm kale or Brussels sprouts salad with roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash, and you can’t beat the flavors of fresh apples, pears, and pomegrante!

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Salad with kale, butternut squash, apples, pomegranate, and quinoa.

There’s a little bit of everything in this fall-inspired entree salad with kale, butternut squash, pomegranate, apple, pear, and quinoa. It’s worthy of an appearance on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table, but still convenient enough to make everyday, too.

Vegan apple coleslaw with chickpeas and lemon tahini dressing

This recipe uses tahini instead of mayo for a fresh take on vegan coleslaw with some Mediterranean-inspired flare. The chickpeas add protein and fresh apples lend some fall flare.

Vegetarian shaved brussels sprouts salad with chickpeas and tahini dressing

This dairy-free and gluten-free main meal is ideal for busy weeknights. Sautéed Brussels sprouts with roasted chickpeas and creamy lemon tahini sauce, plus a handful of sunflower seeds and dried fruit for flavor and texture.

Warm vegan caesar salad with roasted cabbage

Not all Caesar salads are vegetarian (they often contain anchovies and dairy). This recipe uses silken tofu as a protein-packed base for plant-based Caesar dressing. Use warm, roasted cabbage for a comforting twist on the classic Caesar salad.

Make Ahead Salads

Some green salads wilt within minutes, but it’s possible to make a vegetarian salad that stands the test of time. One key is to use hearty veggies like kale and Brussels sprouts. Lentils, beans, grains, and chickpeas are wonderful for make ahead salads, too! If you’re looking for more ideas, check out my roundup of 31 Best Healthy and Easy Vegetarian Lunches for Work.

Vegetarian meal prep salad with shaved brussels sprouts, chickpeas, and tahini dressing.

The ultimate make ahead vegetarian salad. Kale, Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, walnuts, and cranberries with tahini dressing. You’ll want to make this one on repeat!

Vegetarian lentil salad with feta cheese and mint.

All of the best Mediterranean-inspired flavors come together in this meal prep-friendly main meal salad. Protein-packed lentils, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, feta cheese, and fresh herbs tossed in lemony oregano dressing.

Chickpea Mason Jar Salad with Moroccan spices

This ultra portable grain salad is ideal for packing in a lunchbox for work or school. The Moroccan-inspired spices add so much delicious flavor. No more sad desk lunches!

Need More Easy Vegetarian Meal Ideas?

For more easy recipes, check out my roundups of Easy 30-Minute Vegetarian Meals for Quick Dinners, 20 Best Vegan Soup Recipes, Vegetarian Meal Prep Ideas and 31 Best Healthy and Easy Vegetarian Lunches for Work.


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