All-Star List of Protein for Salads
We’ve all been there: it’s 3pm in the office, and you’re hangry. Somehow you happen to find yourself in front of the pastry box/vending machine/free candy...and before you can say “salad spinner” you have inhaled all of the things and are riding the satisfaction high, on your way to a hard sugar crash.
How can this be avoided? What magical elixir exists to get you through such times? (Hint: it's not Five Hour Energy).
It’s what adults add to salads (...and bowls). It’s what transforms a salad from a sad side dish into a nutritional powerhouse. By adding satisfying and filling protein to your lunchtime salads, you will tackle your afternoon #likeaboss.
And while chicken has always been salad’s favorite child, there are a tons of other delicious proteins you can rock the afternoon with. Whether you’re paleo or plant-based, there are types of protein for all ways of eating; mix and match sources until you hit your hangry-no-more amount. Here are a few of my favorites:
Pronounced “keen-wa." Quinoa, a gluten-free seed known for it’s high protein content in relation to other grains, can add some serious substance to your salad. And you don’t have to be a hippy or a hipster to eat it.
Ok. I admit it. At first glance, fish and salad together sounds kinda gross. But I promise it can be more refined than you think. Gourmet even. Think perfectly seared salmon on a bed of spinach. The omega-3s are an added bonus.
No, I'm not advocating for egg salad. It’s eggs on salad. There’s a difference. Don’t underestimate the power of the humble, hard boiled egg. Historically, they might not be the most glamourous protein source (scary salad bars may come to mind) but it’s time to get over it and just #putaneggonit.
If you can tolerate it and it’s well-sourced (ideally organic and from grass-fed cows), cheese adds a layer of creamy tang that can really tie a salad together. Cheese is not just a topping, it’s a protein all into itself. It is guaranteed to make your salad experience a gouda time (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Pronounced “Tem-Pay.” Tempeh who? Tempeh, a cake-like product made from fermented soybeans, sounds downright scary and can taste pretty blah. But it can become delicious if seasoned well and cooked until crispy on the outside (crispiness is a requirement in our book). Try it and you won’t care that you can’t pronounce it.
MEAL PREP TIP!
To keep things simple, we like to batch-cook a couple of types of protein over the weekend and use them throughout the week.
A FEW MORE OF MY FAVORITES
MEAT and FISH
shredded chicken thighs
ground turkey, chicken or beef
pork loin or tenderloin
canned tuna or salmon
EGGS AND DAIRY
hard or soft boiled eggs
Looking for more about buying salad ingredients:
Where to Buy Salad Ingredients
The Loveleaf Guide to Salad Greens
Fully Stocked: Essential Salad Ingredients for the Pantry
How to #Own Your Grocery Budget