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Four Healthy and Delicious New Salad Ideas {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Whole30 Compliant}

I’m happy to be typing this post while sitting at my desk with a sleeping golden retriever next to me.

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After an amazing week in Punta Cana at Zoetry and AlSol Tiara Cap Cana, we bid the Dominican Republic farewell and headed back to Charlotte yesterday afternoon. Our trip was the perfect length. We definitely got in our fill of friends, yoga, sun, relaxation and fun but we were ready to come home to get back to the girls and our work.

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Travel home was so easy. We left the Dominican Republic at 3:30 p.m. and were walking in to these sweet faces by 7 p.m. We had a yoga friend house and dog sit while we were away. They girls went CRAZY when we walked in. Completely nuts. We felt very welcomed home.

Since arriving home, it’s been a frenzy of unpacking, laundry and cleaning. We had groceries delivered so that we could make dinner last night and breakfast this morning but I can’t wait to do some damage at Whole Foods soon. I got a lot of questions about my diet on vacation, and I’ll share more about that in a more in-depth post soon, but my fiance and I are both looking forward to getting back to a mostly Whole30 diet post-vacation.

To get back in the clean eating mindset, I’ve got four awesome salad combos to share with you today. I’m always trying to switch up my salads to avoid burnout and these have been my recent favorites. Bonus, they’re all gluten-free, dairy-free and Whole30 compliant.

Four healthy and delicious salad ideas that are gluten-free, dairy-free and Whole30 compliant.

Base: spinach and lacinto kale rubbed in olive oil, lemon juice and kosher salt.

Toppings: apples, avocado, beets, sliced deli chicken, toasted pecans, black truffle seed salt

Dressing: a drizzle of balsamic

Four healthy and delicious salad ideas that are gluten-free, dairy-free and Whole30 compliant.

Base: spinach

Toppings: sliced leftover rotisserie chicken breast, pistachios, pears, apple juice sweetened cranberries, rainbow carrots, avocado, salt, pepper

Dressing: olive oil and balsamic

Four healthy and delicious salad ideas that are gluten-free, dairy-free and Whole30 compliant.

Base: arugula

Toppings: balsamic rosemary glazed salmon, blueberries, pine nuts, watermelon radish, blueberries, carrots, cucumbers, avocado

Dressing: olive oil and balsamic

Four healthy and delicious salad ideas that are gluten-free, dairy-free and Whole30 compliant.

Base: spinach and lacinto kale massaged in olive oil, lemon juice and kosher salt

Toppings: leftover shredded rotisserie chicken, cherry tomatoes, rainbow carrots, avocado, kalamata olives, pine nuts, cucumbers

Dressing: Tessemae’s Caesar

The key elements of a great salad include a good base of greens (faves are spinach, arugula and lacinto kale), a protein source (chicken, canned tuna or salmon, salmon, turkey, hard boiled eggs, chick peas), fats (avocado, nuts and olive oil are my faves), crunchy stuff (cucumbers, carrots, radishes, celery), fruits (blueberries, pears, apples), extra complimentary toppings (olives, beets, tomatoes) and a dressing.

I definitely don’t shy away from adding tons of toppings to my salads. It’s one of the best ways to give them staying power and to keep them interesting. I used to think that no salad was complete without cheese but I was surprised to discover through Whole30 that I never missed the cheese at all! I can’t stress enough how much just switching out things like your greens of choice, the type of nuts you use or adding fruit or something like beets can do to keep your salads interesting.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite salad toppings and combinations. Anyone have an unconventional favorite salad toppings? 

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • 1
    noreen March 3, 2016, 11:40 am

    Great recipes! Always looking for new salad ideas to share with my clients. Love those puppy eyes!

  • 2
    ACKTIVE LIFE March 3, 2016, 12:46 pm

    I am so glad to hear that you had a wonderful trip..Next year I will hopefully make it. I’ll just need to get in touch with you sooner about it, so I can properly prepare…I’m planning on making a big salad with tuna and diced sweet potatoes tonight!

  • 3
    Sarah March 3, 2016, 1:45 pm

    Have you ever posted your tahini dressing recipe? Would love to see that one too!

  • 4
    Julia March 3, 2016, 3:01 pm

    Sometimes I use cottage cheese (with various spices to taste) as a two-for-1 protein and dressing on my salad. Works best with romaine hearts because they can stand up to a thick “dressing.” Easy, tasty, economical.

  • 5
    Lyall March 3, 2016, 7:23 pm

    I’ve been loving adding beets to my salads lately. Do you buy them canned? They are such a pain and mess to cut! I’d love to hear any tips you have 🙂

  • 6
    erin March 5, 2016, 4:50 pm

    We are doing work on our house, so we’ve moved for four months to the condos right next to Whole Foods (literally right next door). I have been going every evening to get supplies for dinner and your recipes have been a godsend! Just picked up the tessemmes ceaser dressing – it hits the spot!

  • 7
    Lauren March 7, 2016, 5:42 am

    They all look so colourful and delish! Thanks for sharing.

    xo
    Lauren
    http://www.fitnova.com

    • 8
      Jen DeCurtins March 8, 2016, 11:17 am

      Glad you enjoyed!

  • 9
    Sandy Degeston March 13, 2016, 11:16 pm

    I have been making one of these salads each night as part of 4bd1 scaling back on carb-heavy meals and sweet snacks after Christmas.  I have three fussy eaters and each dinner someone has said this is the best salad I ve ever had. The dressings really make the salads special. Nice job. Thank you.

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