protein salad

14 High-Protein Salads to Add to Your Meal Plan

By Chelsea Frank

You may think of salads as a first course or a side dish, but it's totally possible to make a balanced meal on a bed of greens.

The secret? Add protein.

High-protein salads can help you fuel your body right. And they're super-versatile — by switching up the ingredients, you can create a healthy salad that's customized to your nutritional needs and preferences.

There's no need to settle for a boring, bland salad when you can dive into one of these delicious high protein salad recipes instead! Here are some of our favorite options for lunch or dinner.

Get more than 20 grams of protein, plus recovery-boosting tart cherry, in each scoop of LADDER Whey or Plant Protein.


1. Southwestern Salad

southwestern salad | high protein salad

With 11 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, this hearty Southwestern-inspired salad — packed with tomatoes, corn, beans, rice, onions, bell peppers, and greens — can be ready in just a few minutes.


  • ¼ cup frozen corn kernels
  • ¼ red onion
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • ½ bell pepper
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
  • ⅓ cup black beans
  • ⅓ cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ medium lime
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 2 cups arugula


  • Calories: 282
  • Total Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 1 mg
  • Sodium: 29 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 50 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Sugars: 6 g
  • Protein: 11 g


2. Caesar Salad with Chicken and Whole-Grain Croutons

caesar salad with chicken | high protein salad

Caesar salad can be loaded with saturated fat and sodium, but this healthier recipe swaps in plain 2% Greek yogurt — so you get the creamy flavor you love, with 34 grams of filling protein to keep you going.



  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt (plain, 2%)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ¼lemon
  • ½ tsp. anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ground black pepper (to taste; optional)


  • Cooking oil spray
  • 1 slice sprouted 100% whole-grain bread, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • ¼ tsp. Italian seasoning


  • 10 large leaves romaine lettuce
  • 2 oz. cooked chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • 1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan


  • Preheat oven to 350⁰ F. Coat medium baking sheet with cooking oil spray. Set aside.
  • To make dressing, finely chop garlic and place in a small bowl. Add yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, anchovy paste, if desired, and 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Whisk until well-blended; set aside.
  • To make croutons, cut bread into 1-inch cubes, arrange on prepared baking sheet. Coat bread lightly with cooking oil spray and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and pepper, if desired. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until toasted. Set aside to cool.
  • To make salad, chop lettuce (or kale) and place in a serving bowl; drizzle dressing over lettuce and toss to coat.
  • Top salad with chicken, remaining 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, if desired, and croutons.


  • Calories: 357
  • Total Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg
  • Sodium: 497 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 33 g
  • Fiber: 13 g
  • Sugars: 7 g
  • Protein: 34 g


3. Tuna Salad with Crackers

tuna salad with crackers | high protein salad

This healthier take on tuna salad uses reduced-fat Greek yogurt in place of mayo to lower the fat content and bump up the protein. It's quick and easy to make, and each serving provides 39 grams of protein along with healthy fats and fiber. Scoop it up with gluten-free, no-sugar-added crackers for a crunchy, super-filling meal.


  • 1 (5-oz.) can chunk-light tuna, packed in water
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • ¼ medium onion
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. ground paprika
  • ½ medium lemon
  • 16 small gluten-free crackers, no sugar added (preferably Mary's Gone Crackers™ original gluten-free crackers)


  • Calories: 415
  • Total Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 54 mg
  • Sodium: 382 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugars: 7 g
  • Protein: 39 g


4. Vegan Protein Salad

vegan chickpea salad | high protein salad

Made with tofu, tempeh, hemp seeds, avocado and chickpeas, this hearty vegan salad provides 40 grams of plant-based protein and 25 grams of fiber.

Get the recipe at Running on Real Food.


5. Steak Salad with Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette

steak salad | high protein salad

This meal-worthy salad delivers 32 grams of protein per serving, and it only takes 20 minutes to make! Lightly seasoned steak, spinach, mushrooms, and veggies are topped with a zesty homemade lemon dressing that adds next-level flavor.



  • 3 oz. grilled lean steak, sliced
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups baby spinach, raw
  • ½ cup mushrooms, sliced
  • ⅓ cup carrots, sliced
  • ½ cup cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced


  • ¼ cup lemon juice, fresh
  • ¼ cup shallot, finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


  • Calories: 324
  • Total Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 55 mg
  • Sodium: 452 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Fiber: 12 g
  • Sugars: 11 g
  • Protein: 32 g


6. Vietnamese Chicken Salad

vietnamese chicken salad | high protein salad

Chicken breast is a staple in many high protein salads. (Here are 9 easy ways to cook chicken breast.) This Vietnamese chicken salad, or Gỏi Gà, adds mint, peanuts, veggies, fish sauce, and garlic for a salad that's full of fresh flavor and provides 40 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber in each bowl.



  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1 lime (approx. 2 Tbsp. juice)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce


  • 3.5 oz. cooked chicken breast
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage (approx. 1/3 medium head cabbage)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (approx. 2 medium carrots)
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves


  • Calories: 405
  • Total Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 99 mg
  • Sodium: 1065 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 41 g
  • Fiber: 12 g
  • Sugars: 19 g
  • Added Sugar: 6 g
  • Protein: 40 g


7. Italian Tuna Salad

italian tuna salad | high protein salad

Loaded with fresh vegetables, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and olives, this mayo-free Italian tuna salad goes easy on the carbs and has 14 grams of protein and only 125 calories per serving.

Get the recipe at Mom Foodie.


8. Santa Fe Salad with Jalapeño Ranch Dressing

santa fe salad | high protein salad

With 27 grams of protein and no added sugar, this hearty chicken and vegetable salad gets a spicy kick from jalapeño ranch dressing. (The recipe yields two cups of ranch dressing, but stick with one to two tablespoons of dressing per serving.)

Get the recipe at Laura Fuentes.


9. Berry Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

berry chicken salad | high protein salad

This high protein salad is made with fresh spring greens, juicy berries, avocado, and nutty quinoa. Top it with a beautifully seared chicken breast and healthier honey balsamic vinaigrette for a total of 34 grams of protein in each bowl.

Get the recipe at The Healthy Epicurean.


10. Green Lentil Tabbouleh Salad

green lentil salad | high protein salad

This vegan, gluten-free Middle Eastern salad is loaded with fresh flavors from parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato, and lemon juice. With 12 grams of protein per serving, it's a great option as a standalone salad or a side dish.

Get the recipe at Babaganosh.


11. Smoked Salmon Salad

smoked salmon salad | high protein salad

Love lox? This smoked salmon salad is sure to be an instant favorite! Made with tender greens, avocado, tomato, and a mustard and caper vinaigrette, it's easy to make and provides 14 grams of protein per serving.

Get the recipe at Champagne Tastes.


12. Chicken, Strawberry, and Spinach Salad with Walnuts

chicken strawberry salad | high protein salad

You only need four simple ingredients — cooked chicken breast, baby spinach, fresh strawberries, and walnut halves — to make this fresh and colorful salad. It can be ready in just 10 minutes, and it's perfect for meal prep!


  • 1 ½ cups baby spinach, fresh
  • 4 oz. cooked chicken breast, boneless, skinless, sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 8 raw walnut halves


  • Calories: 343
  • Total Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Sodium: 121 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Sugars: 9 g
  • Protein: 40 g


13. Grilled Shrimp Salad

grilled shrimp salad | high protein salad

For seafood lovers, this shrimp on a bed of greens offers 27 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber in each serving. Tossed in a honey lime dressing, it's ready in less than 30 minutes and makes a perfect main or side dish.

Get the recipe at The Food Blog.


14. Sesame Salmon with Fennel and Orange Salad

sesame salmon salad | high protein salad

This creative salad combines sweet orange segments, crunchy fennel, and a flavorful Asian vinaigrette for a quick and easy lunch with global flair. White beans and a roasted salmon topper add plenty of protein — each serving provides 26 grams.


  • 1 medium orange
  • 4 oz. raw salmon fillet
  • ½ cup fennel
  • 1½ cup baby spinach
  • 1 green onion, divided use
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar, unseasoned, no sugar added
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. fresh ginger
  • Sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • ½ cup white beans


  • Calories: 417
  • Total Fat: 12 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 62 mg
  • Sodium: 466 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 44 g
  • Fiber: 12 g
  • Sugars: 14g
  • Protein: 26g


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