Are you tired of making the same old salad? If you’re sick of using the same ingredients (we’re looking at you, lettuce), we hear you. But guess what? You don’t need leafy greens to make a nutritious side dish. In fact, omitting lettuce altogether won’t just change up your typical salad bowl, it may even help you incorporate new and delicious vegetables into your diet.
We’ve compiled three healthy, delicious salad recipes that are easy to toss together — and that don’t require any lettuce. Add some lean protein on top to make any of them a complete meal, or pair one with your main course for the perfect side dish.
An added bonus: Each one of these recipes contains a wealth of non-starchy vegetables, which are excellent sources of dietary fiber. As Jenny Craig’s registered dietitian, Briana Rodriquez, explains, fiber is important in a few ways. First, eating enough dietary fiber can benefit your gastrointestinal health by helping to move food through your digestive system.1 Second, dietary fiber can help lower your LDL cholesterol levels, known as the “bad” type of cholesterol.1 Finally, the fiber found in vegetables helps you feel fuller on fewer calories, making these recipes great choices to support your weight-loss goals.
Pro tip: Wash your veggies and dry them well before putting them in the fridge. You’ll be one step closer to a quick and healthy salad, no lettuce required!
If you’re following a Jenny Craig program, most of these items can be found on the Fresh & Free Additions list. Bon appétit!
Blanched Asparagus and Mushroom Dijon Salad
This dish is one delicious way to add more healthy produce to your day. Asparagus and mushrooms are packed with antioxidants and nutrients to help support your health. Plus, these veggies pair extremely well together. This recipe can be flexible, based on how much time you have in the kitchen. Chop the asparagus spears into smaller pieces, or to save some time, leave the asparagus uncut: Simply toss the dressing with the mushrooms and spread everything over the spears.
- 5-10 asparagus spears, chopped
- ½ cup chopped baby portabella mushrooms
- ½ small lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
Blanch asparagus in boiling water until al dente, about 5 minutes. (Or, use a microwave: Place the asparagus on a plate with some water and cook on high for 2–3 minutes.) Immediately after cooking, submerge the asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and place in a single-serving salad bowl with the mushrooms. Whisk the lemon juice and mustard together and pour over veggies. Toss until vegetables are evenly coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Red, White and Orange Watercress Salad
This is one colorful salad! Containing vitamins A, K and calcium, watercress is an incredibly nutrient-dense vegetable.2 And the other ingredients are just as good for you: Radishes are a solid source of vitamin C, carrots contain plenty of vitamin A, and mandarin oranges have a low glycemic index to help keep your blood sugar stable.3,4,5 (If you’re a Jenny Craig member, two small mandarin oranges count as one fruit serving.)
- 1 cup watercress
- 2-3 radishes, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced into thin rounds or matchsticks
- 1 mandarin orange, cut in half
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Place watercress, radishes and carrot in a single-serving salad bowl. Juice one half of the orange into a separate small bowl and set aside. Peel the other orange half, slice and place in the bowl with the other veggies. Whisk orange juice with the olive oil, then pour over veggies. Toss until the vegetables are coated. Add pepper to taste.
Green Beans and Bell Peppers with Hot Sauce Vinaigrette
Whip up this dish when you’re in the mood for something a little spicy that is low in calories but high in nutrients. Not only does 1 cup of raw green beans contain almost 2 grams of protein, but this vegetable is also packed with fiber — 4 grams in just 1 cooked cup.6 Bell peppers are full of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and potassium.7 The vinaigrette adds a kick, and it may also support your weight loss efforts — research indicates that the capsaicin found in peppers and hot sauce may help reduce appetite and slightly boost metabolism.8
- 5-10 green beans, trimmed
- ½ cup diced red and orange bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Cholula
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Blanch green beans in boiling water until al dente, about 5 minutes. (Or, use a microwave: Place the green beans on a plate with some water and cook on high for 2–3 minutes.) Immediately after cooking, submerge the beans in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain green beans and chop into bite-size pieces about 1 inch long. Place green beans and diced peppers in a single-serving salad bowl. Whisk the hot sauce, olive oil and lime juice together and pour over veggies. Toss until vegetables are evenly coated.
We hope these simple recipes help you change up your typical salad routine. Give them a try and let us know what you think in the comments below!
 https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/green-beans - heart-health
 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/bell-peppers - vitamins-and-minerals
Nicki is a journalist with expertise in healthy eating and exercise. The former editor in chief of Competitor Running and managing editor of Women's Running magazines, she writes articles and designs recipes for a variety of websites and publications. She also loves cycling and making music and is wild about cats, dogs and other animals.
Favorite healthy snack: anything with nut butter!
Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RDN
Briana is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, Calif. She is passionate about using food as functional and preventive medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
This article was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and reviewed by a certified professional.
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