Protein provides the building blocks for everything from muscles, to neurotransmitters, to hormones. Getting enough protein in your meals can sometimes be tough, which is why we’ve rounded up the 23 best high protein salads to add to your life.
This list includes plant-based recipes that you can enjoy whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just want to eat more plants. We’ve also included salads that take advantage of the delicious flavor and protein punch of seafood, chicken, and other animal sources.
If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to add more protein to your salads from plant and animal sources, this list has got you covered with everything from simple classics to exciting new flavor combinations.
Keep reading to find a high protein salad that fills you up and satisfies your taste buds!
This quinoa salad is high in protein and rich in delicious flavors that will leave you feeling full and satisfied after every serving. It combines quinoa with feta, tuna, plain Greek yogurt, edamame, and chickpeas for a super charged dose of protein in every bite.
To amp up the flavor and freshness it combines avocado oil (you could sub olive oil), cherry tomatoes, and lemon pepper with fresh herbaceous notes from cilantro. If you’re not a fan of this herb, try adding dill or parsley instead.
It’s super easy to make. The hardest part is cooking the quinoa and roasting the tomatoes, then you just throw everything together and chill in the fridge. Easy as can be!
We think you could serve it over a bed of baby kale or spinach for a little extra fiber and nutrition.
This vegan sushi bowl relies on a delicious baked tofu and edamame as the main protein sources in this beautiful salad bowl.
It combines carrots, cabbage, cucumber, avocado, and nori sheets with a bright sweet ginger soy dressing for a salad that’s easy to make and packed with flavor.
The hardest part of this recipe is baking the tofu (super easy) and preparing the sushi rice. Then it’s just a matter of whisking together the sauce and prepping the veggies. While it provides a list of veggies, you can always get creative with what you have on hand.
If you’re not vegan, this sushi bowl would be amazing with some salmon for an extra punch of protein power.
Is there anything more comforting than a pasta salad? This fresh take on a classic is packed with protein- the author suggests using a high protein pasta made from chickpea or lentils.
It’s then topped with super flavorful shrimp covered in spices and fresh lemon juice.
The salad itself is super simple: cook the pasta, cook the shrimp, and combine with the kale, parsley, tomatoes, and Greek yogurt-based salad dressing. While it might seem heavy, the dressing brings a lot of freshness from lemon and apple cider vinegar.
Super easy and quick, it takes about 11 minutes to prep and cook, you’ll get about 4 servings from this recipe so it’s perfect for your weekly lunches.
This quick and easy avocado chicken salad takes about 10 minutes to throw together and the author assures readers it’s just as delicious even if you’re missing a couple of ingredients, so don’t let that stop you from giving it a try.
In addition to the titular ingredients, it also includes a hard-boiled egg (more protein), spinach, tomatoes, green onions/scallions, olives, and cucumber all topped with a lemon sesame dressing.
If you want to try it for meal prep, there are tips on how to make it last in the fridge.
Here’s another 10-minute, high protein salad to add to your meal planning list. This savory sweet salad combines quinoa, chickpeas, sliced almonds, raisins (we feel like dried cranberries or currants would be great too), kale, and parsley for a fresh and filling meal.
The honey lemon dressing is the perfect complement and super easy to make. This salad is a great base to work from and you can get super creative by combining the quinoa and chickpeas with any veggies or greens you have on hand.
If you’re looking for a way to fill up with flavor, this Mexican inspired 3 bean salad is packed with protein, herbs, and spices to make your taste buds sing. It only takes about 10 minutes to pull everything together and you can use fresh or canned beans.
To get that Mexican flavor there’s cilantro, lime, hot sauce, cumin, and chili powder plus avocado, corn, bell peppers, red onion, and cherry tomatoes.
The freshness of the herbs and lime juice will cut through the spiciness and dense beans. Definitely add this one to your list!
This fresh salad combines the protein power of shrimp and edamame with the brightness of lime juice and cilantro all served over fresh veggies like spinach, red onion, and bell peppers.
It looks super quick and easy to pull together- the hardest part is cooking the shrimp!
We feel like this salad would be great with some avocado for more protein and healthy fats and maybe some quinoa for another plant source. It’s a great base recipe to let your creativity soar.
This delicious salad is packed with so much protein and flavor that we have no doubt it will work its way into your regular meal planning rotation.
It’s made with simple ingredients like quinoa, cashews, edamame, cabbage, kale, cilantro, and green onions, but the real magic comes from the dressing.
It combines peanut butter, sriracha, fresh ginger, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and rice vinegar to create a flavor bomb that also adds another layer of protein to your meal. We feel like this is a dressing you could put on any salad to instantly make it a 10/10.
A chicken salad is a great way to add protein to your life, but this fresh Thai-inspired take on a classic will have your taste buds begging for more. It takes about 35 minutes to prep and cook, but the results will be 100% worth it.
The dressing is an umami flavor bomb, the chicken is tender, and the veggies add a fresh crunch and bright herbaceous that satisfies the pickiest eaters. If you’re looking for a fresh spin on chicken salad, this recipe should be top of your list.
We’ve tried to include a nice range of plant-based and omnivore options on this list to suit everyone’s different ways of eating and this vegan protein packed salad is great whether you’re vegan or just trying to eat more plants.
The protein comes from both marinated tempeh (fermented tofu) and baked tofu, plus a nice sprinkling of hemp hearts and chickpeas. It’s all topped on a bed of arugula, broccoli, avocado, and cucumber and drizzled with a tahini dressing.
It takes about 10 minutes to prep, plus the 30 mins of baking time for the tofu. Once that’s done, all you have to do is toss it together and enjoy!
This recipe for chicken salad is a fun spin on a classic because it gives you the option to serve spoonfuls of the mix on rounds of cucumbers for an easy finger food.
You can bring it to potlucks, picnics, or pack a few chicken salad bites for a lunch you can eat with your hands.
It takes about ten minutes to make this recipe that combines chicken with cream cheese, crunchy celery, green onions, and hot sauce.
We feel like there’s a lot of room to get creative here with what you add to the mix, but the cream cheese and chicken are packed with protein and flavor!
This salad takes a little more cooking time thanks to the addition of roasted veggies like squash and cauliflower, which give a lot of substance to this salad.
The plant-based protein comes from quinoa and lentils in the salad plus the tahini and nutritional yeast in the dressing.
The prep time is about 20 minutes for all the chopping and to make the dressing and it takes about 40 minutes for the veggies to roast. That said, once everything is made you get a huge salad that you can portion out for the week.
If you’re looking for a way to add some freshness to your barbecued chicken, this salad is an awesome choice. The hardest part of the recipe is grilling the chicken, then you just have to combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl for a protein-packed summer salad.
The salad base is romaine lettuce, red onion, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers topped with ranch dressing. If you want to add some crunch, you can sprinkle it with some tortilla chips.
When we think of a high protein salad, a classic chicken salad is always top of the list.
But if you want a lighter version without eggs or mayo, try this recipe made with Greek yogurt, chicken, grapes, and belly peppers. It’s super quick to combine everything together, taking only about 10 minutes.
You can serve it over a bed of greens for freshness or quinoa for another punch of protein and texture (you can even do a half and half mix of greens and quinoa).
Another super easy way to make a high protein salad is with a classic tuna salad. These are always so easy to make thanks to the help of canned tuna. This version is pretty classic combining mayo, capers, lemon juice, celery, dill pickles, red onion, parsley, and red peppers.
Like chicken salad, it takes about 10 minutes to pull together, and you can serve it over greens, quinoa, rice, or a combination of your favorites. You can also use this recipe as inspiration and get creative with what you have on hand.
Adding tuna to a pasta salad is a great way to make it high protein. This version of a pasta salad uses a light and bright lemon garlic dressing instead of mayonnaise, so it tastes refreshing. The feta cheese also adds another briny hit of protein.
In addition to the pasta and tuna, it has loads of veggies like cucumbers, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, olives, and parsley.
It’s pretty quick and easy to pull together with 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes to cook the pasta. It makes a great lunch or picnic dish!
17. Ahi Tuna Salad
While most tuna salads use canned tunned, this version is a little fancier since you’ll actually be searing and slicing your own ahi tuna.
It gives this dish a real polish, but it can still be made in under 30 minutes! The star is the tuna followed closely by the tangy carrot ginger dressing.
It’s all served over a bed romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumber, green onions, avocado, and shredded cabbage for a flavorful, protein-packed salad.
This spin on a classic Caesar salad is packed with protein from crumbled bacon, hard-boiled egg, chicken, and nutritional yeast. There’s a recipe to make your own Caesar dressing, but you can also go with a store-bought version to save some time.
The grilled flavor of the chicken combined with the crispy romaine lettuce and all the savory elements are sure to make this salad a crowd-pleaser.
Even though this recipe is made with chicken, it would be super easy to make it plant-based by subbing the chicken out for chickpeas and still keep the protein power.
The chopped cashews add another punch of protein while the ginger lemon dressing brings everything together.
The veggies are pretty standard, but the mandarin slices add a touch of citrus sweetness to the salad. It’s another quick and easy option that only takes about 20 minutes to prepare.
This vegan twist on a chicken salad uses soy curls for a punch of protein. It’s quick to pull together, taking about 15 minutes and has that classic chicken salad flavor with a vegan spin.
Packed with protein from chickpeas and avocado, this salad is bright and fresh too thanks to the lemon dressing. The avocados add a creamy texture that can’t be beat! Perfect for busy nights since it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare.
Dinner is ready in 10 minutes with this chickpea and tuna salad! If you want to keep it plant-based, just add an extra can of chickpeas. It’s got those classic tuna salad flavors you love from celery, dijon, capers, and dill.
This recipe combines ham, egg, and avocado for a healthy twist on a classic egg salad. It takes about 20 minutes to pull together and has a bright flavor thanks to the lime juice. Serve over greens or quinoa for a full meal.