While there’s something about the idea of salad for dinner that seems particularly groan-worthy, that’s only because all too often our idea of a salad doesn’t match up with what salad, as a category of food, actually has to offer. The 15 options below not only represent some of the best salad recipes Serious Eats has developed, they also pull from a range of countries, cultures, and cooking techniques. In addition to the dressing-on-greens rendition we’re all familiar with you’ll find crunchy shaved winter vegetables, flaked fish, crispy fried eggs, plump beans, beautifully dressed noodles, rich mayo-bound sandwich fillings, and all kinds of herbs. Forget salads you need; these are salads you want.
Roman-Inspired Mixed-Green Salad (Misticanza alla Romana)
For a truly great mixed greens salad, make your own mix with the freshest stuff you can find: whole heads of lettuce, radicchio, herbs, dandelion greens, and more.
Tiger Salad (Lao Hu Cai)
Savory, refreshing, and tart, this dish is inspired by the lao hu cai, or “tiger vegetable salad,” served at Xi’an Famous Foods.
The Best Caesar Salad
The crowd-pleasing salad of crisp romaine leaves, crunchy croutons, and a little (or a lot) of anchovy can be made to your liking.
Salmon Bean Salad
Here, cooked salmon gets flaked into an easy, hearty salad with plump cranberry beans and peppery arugula.
Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern vegetarian salad made with chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, bulgur wheat, and lemon juice.
Warm Kale and Caramelized Mushroom Salad
Deeply golden brown sautéed mushrooms pair with hearty kale and a tangy sherry vinegar dressing for a salad that screams comfort.
Fully Loaded Iceberg Wedge Salad
This classic salad is a celebration of rich, cooling flavors and a diversity of textures.
Puntarelle Alla Romana (Puntarelle Salad With Anchovy and Garlic Dressing)
In this classic Roman dish, crisp, juicy shreds of puntarelle are tossed with a potent anchovy- and garlic-heavy dressing.
Salata Falahiyeh (Palestinian or Farmers Salad)
If all you have at home are tomatoes, onion, and mint, you can enjoy a very delicious salad in no time.
Italian Seafood Salad (Insalata di Mare)
This chilled seafood salad is fresh and tender, complete with a bright, flavorful dressing.
The Best Classic Chicken Salad
The juiciest, most flavorful chicken salad is possible when you sous vide your meat.
Yam Khai Dao (Thai Fried Egg Salad)
Dig into this Thai salad of crispy, runny fried eggs with fresh herbs, aromatics, and a sour-spicy dressing.
The Best Egg Salad
Keys to a better egg salad: perfectly cooked eggs, a touch of acidity, and crunch.
Yam Woon Sen (Thai Glass Noodle Salad With Shrimp)
This spicy-sour Thai noodle salad is filling and comes together in minutes.
White Bean and Tuna Salad
This white bean and tuna salad is the perfect protein-packed light meal for when you don’t want to do any cooking.