If you’re looking for healthy salad recipes, this hearty crispy-crunchy, creamy salad mix is not only super easy to make but simple to prep in bulk. This way you’ll always have a healthy meal ready to go when you’re too tired to cook and tempted to call for takeout. Pair it with a homemade vinaigrette (or salad dressing of your choice) and it’s a healthy lunch or dinner in less than 5 minutes.
What is a Lazy Day Refrigerator Salad?
We eat ‘Lazy Day’ salads when I don’t feel like cooking and we have a few random bits of things (or a ton of holiday food) left in the fridge and pantry that needs to be used up. It’s a satisfying substantial salad that’s great for lunch or dinner and won’t leave you feeling hungry. You can use anything you think would taste good over a bed of greens.
And this meatless salad is exactly that — it’s just hearty enough that even hardcore meat-eaters can enjoy it as a full meal and you can load it up with other proteins like tofu, beans, and lentils. That said, this salad tastes great topped with leftover chopped deli meat, grilled or pan-seared chicken, pan-seared Argentinian red shrimp, or something a bit more indulgent.
How to Make a Great Salad at Home
Making a great salad requires using a good balance of ingredients. Here are a few things to consider to brighten up your homemade salads.
- Include crunchy elements: like iceberg lettuce, fennel, romaine, cabbage, toasted nuts, toasted seeds, apples, cucumbers, radishes, etc.
- Include creamy elements: like hard or softboiled eggs, avocado, beans, lentils, etc.
- Include crispy elements: like crispy fried onions, homemade potato chips, delicious crispy fried wontons, or even homemade croutons.
- Include protein elements: either vegetable proteins or meat proteins like grilled chicken, panko-crusted chicken or turkey, oven-roasted turkey, or shaved beef.
- Include bright acidic elements: like tomatoes, summer strawberries, diced pear, pomegranate seeds, orange segments, plums, etc.
Why We Love This Hearty Healthy Salad Recipe
- A great way to use up any leftover bits of things from the fridge and pantry
- It’s a creamy, crunchy, crispy salad that hits all the right notes and fills you up
- It’s versatile and you can leave out the fried shallots for an even healthier salad recipe
- It takes 5 minutes to make
- Great recipe for kiddos to help prepare by washing or chopping the vegetables and plating the salads
- You can prep this salad ahead (unmixed) and have it ready to make a salad in seconds all week long
Lazy Day Healthy Salad Ingredients
- iceberg lettuce, sliced or chopped (or other lettuce or green of choice)
- purple cabbage, sliced or chopped (or other cabbage of choice)
- carrot, shredded or grated (or peeled into ribbons w/veggie peeler)
- avocado, halved and pit removed
- tomato, sliced or diced (garden fresh, grape variety, or Roma in the off-season)
- hard-boiled eggs, chopped, quartered, or sliced
- sunflower seeds, toasted
- pepita seeds (pumpkin seeds), toasted
- crispy-fried shallots (homemade, or store-bought) (optional, but super tasty)
How to Make a Lazy Day Salad
To get started, browse your fridge and gather up any leftover ingredients from recent lunches or dinners (like steamed broccoli, butternut squash even that last slice of lunch meat) — anything goes. For instance, if you’re making panko-crusted chicken nuggets or tofu on Wednesday night, make enough extra pieces to add to your salad for Thursday’s lunch or dinner. I generally keep a few hard-boiled eggs in the fridge ready to go for a snack or to top a salad. I also toast nuts and seeds and store them in jars so I don’t have to toast them every single time I need them. You can do the same thing, or buy already toasted nuts and seeds.
- Boil the eggs. Place eggs in a small pot and cover with water and bring to a boil and set a timer for exactly 6 min. Once the timer goes off, remove the eggs from the heat and run cold tap water over them to cool them down. Peel and set them aside.
- Toast the seeds and nuts. Toast sunflower and pepita seeds together in a skillet on medium-hi heat tossing or stirring with a wooden spoon until evenly toasted. Remove them to a bowl to cool.
- Chop and slice the vegetables. Chop and slice the produce (and any deli meat or other proteins you may be using). Slice the avocado in half and remove the pit. Squeeze a little lime or lemon juice onto both halves to keep them from oxidizing (turning black)f. Take one half and “score” it lengthwise to make your “slices”. Then use a spoon to slide under the flesh of the meat in order to scoop it out from the skin.
- Assemble the salad: Layer it from the bottom up like in the photos, or toss it all in a bowl and serve. Alternatively, for longer-term storage (to have salad ready to go throughout the week), place all the produce into a 9×13-inch airtight container lining them up and grouping individual ingredients in single rows or in small piles. Keep the wetter ingredients like sliced tomatoes next to dryer ingredients like shredded cabbage, or carrots. Cover with a double layer of paper towels and cover with the lid until ready to assemble, and Enjoy!
Looking for More Salad Recipes?
Below are a few easy, healthy salad recipes you may also enjoy — whether you love pasta salad, restaurant-quality salads, or you just need to throw something together in 5 minutes or less, here are some of our favorites.
- Best Ever Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (w/Homemade Caesar Dressing & Parmesan Croutons)
- Summer Starburst Vinaigrette (a favorite salad dressing)
- ‘Plum Crazy’ Caprese Salad (a Fresh Take on a Classic Italian Salad)
- Mediterranean Pigtail Pasta Salad with Shrimp (Featuring Sautéed Vegetables + Fresh Mozzarella)
- How to Make Italian Caprese Salad (l’insalata Caprese)
Let’s get started!Print