From rice noodles and quinoa to chickpeas and zucchini, skip the healthy salad cliché and try one of these 5 Amazing Fat-Burning Salads without a shred of lettuce in sight. This list of no-leaves-allowed recipes will change the way you see, talk about, and chow down on salads.
1. Sun Dried Tomato Mediterranean Zucchini Noodle Salad
- 3 medium zucchini, spiralized
- 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
- 1 can (15 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and diced
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sundried tomato dressing:
- 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine spiralized zucchini, olives, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the dressing: Place sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, water, and garlic in food processor. With a food processor running, drizzle olive oil through the top, pulsing dressing until completely smooth. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
When ready to serve, toss sundried tomato dressing with zucchini noodle mixture.
2. Quinoa, Roasted Eggplant and Apple Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Toast the seeds over medium heat in a heavy medium skillet, stirring occasionally until the seeds darken in color and become fragrant, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Place the seeds on a plate; cool for 1 minute. Grind the seeds finely in a small food mill or grinder.
Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and the toasted seeds until thick and blended in a small bowl. Stir in the shallots. Set the vinaigrette aside.
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400ºF.
Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Mix in the quinoa. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa stand, covered, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool and fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, spray a large rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Toss the eggplant with 3 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper on the sheet. Roast until tender and browned, stirring once, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl; fluff with a fork. Add the vinaigrette, eggplant, apples, walnuts and cranberries. Toss to blend.
3. Southwestern Pasta Salad
- 1 lb(s) orecchiette, cooked al dente
- 2 yellow peppers, grilled and julienned
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 6 tomatillos, quartered
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 canned chipotle pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
Place cooked pasta in a large bowl; add peppers, onions, tomatillo, corn and lima beans. Place vinegar and chipotle peppers in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add olive oil until emulsified and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad with the dressing and add cilantro.
4. Skinny Caramel Apple Salad
- 1 cup Whole Natural Blue Diamond Almonds (whole)
- 1 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
- 2-4 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping (use sugar-free, if desired)
- 3-4 medium apples (use your favorite)
- 1/3 cup chopped Whole Natural Blue Diamond Almonds
Place the 1 cup of almonds in a food processor or powerful blender and run until almond butter forms. You may need to stop the machine and stir it/give it a rest part way through, and you may need to add up to 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to help it come together. Time varies depending on how powerful your machine is.
Stir together yogurt and 1/4 cup of the homemade almond butter. Add caramel sauce to taste.
Chop and core the apples into bite-sized chunks. Stir into the yogurt mixture. How many apples you use depends on how creamy vs. chunky you want the salad to be. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup chopped almonds. Drizzle with caramel sauce before serving. Store in refrigerator, best served the day it’s made.
5. Honey-Lime Quinoa Fruit Salad
- 1 cup quinoa (I used Red Quinoa)
- 2 cups water
- Pinch of salt
For the Honey Lime Dressing:
- Juice of 1 large lime
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
For the fruit:
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1 1/2 cups chopped mango
- Extra chopped mint, for garnish (optional)
Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
To make the Honey Lime Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the lime juice, honey, and mint together until combined.
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, blueberries, strawberries, and mango. Pour honey lime dressing over the fruit salad and mix until well combined. Garnish with additional mint, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.