I think I’ve eaten more salads for lunch in the last few weeks than I have in the last few months! The changing of the seasons always has a bit of an impact on the foods that I crave. In the fall/winter I start gravitating towards things like soup and sandwiches for lunch and then in spring I crave lighter things like salads and smoothie bowls.
I’m sharing five salad combos to kick off this post and that will be followed by other things I’ve been eating recently for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
When it comes to the salads, you’ll the following ingredients show up in quite a few of these combinations:
- Quinoa – I’ve been on a kick of layering quinoa over my salad greens to bulk up my salad a bit. I cook a batch and keep it in the fridge to add to salads cold.
- Pumpkin seeds – I can usually take or leave pumpkin seeds but I’ve been loving them on salads lately!
- Deli turkey – my two go-to protein toppers for salads are sliced deli turkey and canned tuna or salmon. All but one of these salads are topped with sliced deli turkey. I typically purchase Applegate Organics. I had someone ask me recently if I worry about buying processed deli meat…and I don’t. I go through phases where I eat it and then I’ll go weeks or months without it. Like most things in life, I’m in the camp of all things in moderation when it comes to deli meats.
- Beets – while it is so easy and cheaper to roast your own beets, lately I’ve been enjoying the convenience of the pre-cooked beets that you can get in the refrigerated section at the grocery.
- Goat cheese – I usually keep feta on hand to sprinkle on salads but goat cheese has been a delicious change recently.
- Homemade honey dijon balsamic dressing – I have been loving my homemade honey dijon balsamic dressing lately and it’s what all five of these salads are dressed with. I usually make enough for 3-4 salads and shake up all the ingredients in a mason jar. It makes it easy to store in the fridge so that it’s ready to shake and top the next salad.
- Avocado – if I’m making an entree salad, avocado is a must for me! I use half of an avocado on my salads and will seriously consider not making a salad if I don’t have avocado, haha. I rarely add it to side salads but it’s a must for meal salads!
5 SALAD COMBINATION IDEAS
Spinach, tri-color quinoa, grape tomatoes, beets, avocado, deli turkey, dried cranberries, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds.
This salad was a 50/50 mix of mixed greens and baby spinach topped with turkey, hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, orange bell pepper, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds and that same dressing. No avocado here! Can you believe it!? (The only reason was that they were hard as rocks.) I did love the crunch of the pepper. I don’t use them often in salads.
Baby spinach, quinoa, tomatoes, avocado, turkey, cashews, dried cranberries, beets and goat cheese.
Mixed greens, avocado, turkey, strawberries, edamame, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, dried cranberries and goat cheese.
And finally…here’s a meatless/turkey-free combo for you! Baby spinach topped with the frozen Publix Greenwise quinoa blend (steamed in bag and served cold). This blend has squash, carrots, kale and sweet potatoes. To that I added avocado, dried cranberries, toasted pecans and feta. It was a great combo!
And now for the non-salad things that I’ve been eating!
Never not loving smoothies although I rarely take photos of them these day. This was actually a banana-less combo which rarely happens for me! Frozen cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, a medjool date, Wild Friends Almond Cashew Butter, plain greek yogurt and oat milk.
I also eat a ton of yogurt, fruit and granola bowls. Yum, yum. Plain greek yogurt with honey, granola, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, dried cranberries and peanut butter.
It had been FOR-EVER since I had a tuna melt and one day I had minimal fresh things in my fridge so I pulled a can of tuna out of the pantry and sourdough out of the freezer. I can promise you I won’t wait so long to have another one. This was so good!
Avocado toast with butter, mashed avocado and hemp hearts on homemade sourdough. 4% cottage cheese with sliced tomatoes.
Turkey sandwich on whole wheat with mayo, avocado, colby-jack and sweet pickles. I commented on my Instagram story that I cannot believe I used to eat this almost every single day for lunch when I was breastfeeding. It was a serious addiction. I have one from time-to-time now and they’re never quite as satisfying!
It’s rare that I do a warm bowl or leftovers for lunch but this quinoa tofu bowl was so satisfying. There’s a base of quinoa topped with roasted sweet potatoes, air fried tofu, melted shredded cheese, avocado, hummus and spinach sautéed in avocado oil.
Here’s the dinner that turned into those lunch leftovers. Roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes, air fried extra firm tofu, hummus and a greek yogurt spinach dip from Trader Joe’s. I served all of this over quinoa. (I’ve eaten a lot of quinoa lately.)
Chicken thighs marinated in Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce and baked in my Ninja Foodi Oven on a sheet pan with asparagus and mushrooms. I served this over steamed rice with a drizzle of Thai Kitchen Sweet Red Chili Sauce.
Homemade chicken and dumplings that I pulled out of the freezer.
Outdoor girl’s dinner at Fine + Fettle in SouthPark. This was the tartufi pizza with confit garlic cream, artichoke, parmesan and truffle oil.
And sliders with truffle fries. We also shared a caesar salad but who needs to see a salad when you have pizza, fries and sliders!
This was our first time at Fine + Fettle and while it was *fine,* it wasn’t our favorite spot in the area. I would rate Dilworth Tasting Room and Foxcroft Wine above this.
I hadn’t had Villani’s carrot cake in ages so I stopped one day when I was in the area to get a slice for me and macrons for Finn and our nanny.
And that wraps up this edition of what I’ve been eating lately. I am feeling some creativity when it comes to cooking and I’m ready to get back in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to doing more cooking and some baking next week.
What are your current favorite salad toppers? Do you have one thing that you just HAVE to have on your salads like I am with avocado?
What is your favorite grain to prep ahead of time?
Are your lunch cravings seasonal?