If you’re like me, it’s a struggle to find something healthy to eat for lunch every day. By the time the noon hour rolls around I’m always craving lots of greens loaded with something crunchy, something creamy, perhaps something little a fruity and of course always a tangy crumbled cheese.
Below I’ll share with you my 5 favorite meal prep salads that can be easily prepared in just 30 minutes!!! That’s right friends…5 different salads + 5 different dressings – ready in JUST 30 MINUTES.
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First, let me introduce you to the stars of the show…
This is one of my favorite quick and healthy meal prep salad lunches during the week! I take the classic calorie loaded version and make it easier and healthier by including quinoa, avocado, tomato, cucumber, pecan and hard boiled egg, tossed in a creamy, tangy Gorgonzola vinaigrette.
In this quick and easy meal prep favorite you’ll fine thinly sliced honesycrisp apples paired with tangy Gorgonzola, crunchy toasted pecans and a hearty helping of quinoa. Toss it with a white balsamic vinaigrette and you’ve got the perfect lunch to fuel through your busy day!
Fresh lemon juice makes this simple, veggie forward salad an absolute delight for your taste buds! Green lentils, cucumber, tomato, onion, chickpeas, avocado and feta cheese will give you that classic Mediterranean salad.
The classic summer combination of strawberries and goat cheese comes alive in this healthy lunch time meal! I like to bulk up this salad by adding green lentils and walnuts and tossing it in a Dijon mustard vinaigrette!
Dried cherries and crumbled Gorgonzola are a match made in heaven which makes this salad a real sight for sore eyes around lunch time. It’s filled with hearty green lentils and crunchy toasted walnuts, then tossed with a mustard balsamic vinaigrette!
I realize this may look like a lot of prep and might seem a bit overwhelming, BUT I promise I will walk you through each step and in the end you’ll be surprised just how simple it really was! It will take you just 30 minutes to prep and you will be patting yourself on the back all week as you reach for a healthy, satisfying lunch each day!
- 10 cups spring greens
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 avocado, sliced into 8 wedges
- 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
- ½ cup halved grape tomatoes
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
- ½ cup sliced strawberries
- ¾ cup cooked quinoa
- ½ cup cooked green lentils
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon + ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon Rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ cup pecans
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup dried cherries
- ¼ cup canned garbanzo beans
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon Gorgonzola
- ¼ cup goat cheese
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- hard boiled egg, sliced into 4 wedges
- Start by adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil to each of your 5 small mason jars.
- Then add 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar to jars 1 and 2.
- Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to jar 3.
- And add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar to jars 4 and 5.
- Then add a 1/4 of a teaspoon of Dijon mustard in jars 1, 2, 3 and 5.
- Then add 1/2 a tablespoon Dijon mustard to jar 4.
- Add a 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme to jars 1, 2, 4 and 5.
- Add a 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary to jar 2.
- Add a 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano to jar 3, 4 and 5.
- Add 1 tablespoon crumbled Gorgonzola to jar 1.
- Add a large pinch of salt and pepper to each jar.
- Shake each jar until dressing is well combined. Set aside.
- Add 2 cups of greens to each plate or meal prep container.
- Add 1/4 cup cooked quinoa to salads 1, 2 and 5.
- Add 1/4 cup cooked lentils to salads 3 and 4.
- Add 1/8 cup sliced red onion to salads 1, 3 and 5.
- Add 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers to salads 1 and 3.
- Add 1/4 cup halved tomatoes to salads 1 and 3.
- Add a 1/4 cup chickpeas to salad 3.
- Add a 1/4 cup pecans to salads 1, 2 and 5.
- Add 1/4 cup walnuts to salad 4.
- Add half sliced avocado to salads 1 and 3.
- Add sliced strawberries to salad 4.
- Add 1/4 cup dried cherries to salad 5.
- Add 1/4 cup Gorgonzola to salads 1, 2 and 5.
- Add a 1/4 cup feta to salad 3.
- Add a 1/4 cup goat cheese to salad 4.
- Add hard boil egg to salad 1.
- Add sliced apples to salad 5.
ALL DONE! Now you have 5 different salads with 5 different dressing that you prepped in just 30 minutes!
Tips for making the best meal prep salads:
- Use this meal prep guide as a blueprint! If there’s an ingredient you don’t like, substitute it for something that you do. The point of this guide is to show you just how easy it can be to put together a week’s worth of healthy, satisfying, veggie loaded lunches when you make a plan and take 30 minutes out of your weekend to make it happen. Sticking to the ingredient list isn’t as important as creating a delicious meal you’re excited to eat!
- Buy fresh, locally produced foods whenever possible. Fresh ingredients are going to go a long way to making your salads even more delicious. Check your local farmer’s market for fresh spring greens on Saturday. See if a farm in your area offers a CSA so you can have veggies delivered right to your front door each week. Stop by the strawberry stand on the corner and pick up a bucket of ripe berries. Buy cheese from your local cheese maker. Supporting local producers in your area means you’re supporting their families and your community by investing them. And many times it also means your ingredients are free from pesticides, chemicals and additives that you’ll find in commercially farmed foods.
- Feel free to bulk up these salads with grilled chicken, baked salmon or crispy bacon! These salad recipes would go great with your protein of choice – rotisserie chicken, canned tuna or even marinated tofu would be a great addition to any of them.
- Break the meal prep down into steps. I get that meal prep can be overwhelming, but once you start it’s hard to stop! If it seems daunting to you, break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Cook your quinoa and lentils on Friday night when you’ve got a couple free minutes. Then chop all your veggies on Saturday afternoon while you’re toddler is napping. Then by the time Sunday rolls around, it will take you just minutes to throw together these 5 salads!
- Utilize the bulk section of the grocery store for this salad meal prep! If you’re concerned about having leftover ingredients after meal prepping, the bulk section of the grocery store is a great place to go when you need a small amount of something like quinoa, lentils, walnuts, pecans, dried cherries, etc. I typically have all of those things stocked in my pantry because I use them frequently, but your pantry might look a little different and that’s okay!
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