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Best Main Dish Salads

Updated on October 6, 2010

The trick to making a great main dish salad is to keep it light while making it substantial enough to be an entire meal. This generally involves lots of greens and veggies, with just the right balance of proteins and carbs.

Here are a few recipes that have become staples on our summer menu.

Steak and Caesar Salad


  • romaine lettuce, washed
  • black olives
  • cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions
  • red onion, coarsely chopped
  • shredded or shaved parmesan cheese
  • croutons
  • Caesar salad dressing*
  • leftover cooked flank steak or London Broil


  • raw flank steak or London broil
  • marinade of your choice*


If you're starting your steak from scratch, put it in the marinade and let it sit for approximately two hours. Then put it on the grill or under the broiler and cook 7-10 minutes each side or until desired doneness. Let the steak stand at least 10 minutes after removing it from the heat

Cut the romaine into horizontal 1" strips (just grab the head of lettuce and cut across) and combine in your salad bowl with the black olives, onions and tortellini. Add some shredded parmesan, if desired. Toss with dressing to taste.

Cut the steak into thin strips on the diagonal and place on top of the salad followed by shaved parmesan and the croutons.

*For this recipe, it's perfectly fine to buy premade salad dressing and marinade. If you choose to make them from scratch, here's a great marinade for the London Broil and here's a classic Caesar dressing recipe.

Chicken Taco Salad


  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • chopped jalapenos
  • diced tomatoes
  • sliced black olives
  • shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
  • French or Catalina salad dressing
  • taco seasoning
  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Fritos
  • taco bowls (optional)


Rinse the chicken breasts and coat with the taco seasoning. (A plastic bag can help with this.) Grill or bake at 375 degrees until fully cooked through -- approximately 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken. Let cool slightly. Cut the chicken into slices on the diagonal.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, olives and jalapenos. Toss with dressing to taste. Portion the salad mixture on plates or in taco bowls. Top with the sliced chicken, some of the shredded cheese and some crushed Fritos. If serving on a plate, surround the plate with more Fritos.


How to Make Homemade Croutons


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    • Ivona Poyntz profile image

      Ivona Poyntz 6 years ago from UK

      The chicken taco salad looks impressive: might give it a whirl for a dinner party.

    • lrohner profile image

      lrohner 7 years ago from USA

      It's good either way--although I prefer it warm.

    • philosophos profile image

      philosophos 7 years ago

      I've had Chicken Caesar Salad but not Steak and Caesar Salad.

      Is the steak served cold or hot?

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Both sound soooo good, thanks! And those croutons look great too!

    • QouSay profile image

      QouSay 8 years ago

      Damn! I'm hungry.. hahahaha