Protein for Salads


About six months ago, we started Salad Mondays at our house. It came about because I wanted my husband to eat more vegetables. Sure, I can also make vegetable side dishes from time to time, but I wanted to have a quick and easy way to do salads without having to do too much thinking on a Monday.

However, due to my husband’s allergies and a few other reasons (to be listed shortly), it’s very hard for me to get protein in these salads for dear hubby. I can top mine with chicken or turkey any time!

Until yesterday.

Because I made him a Big Mac Salad.

That’s right. I found *this recipe* for a Cheeseburger Salad with Big Mac Dressing. And, yes, it does taste just like the sauce on a Big Mac!

At first, I was a little leery about putting ground beef on a salad. That just sounded weird. But after thinking about it, we eat taco salads topped with ground meat with taco seasoning all the time!

And when I was taking our bowls back to the sink, it sort of smelled like McDonald’s in there! It was a combination of the cooked ground beef smell and the dressing from the bowl in which I made it.

I completely forgot to take a photo, but this is a salad that will be going into our rotation.

The only things I changed from Andie’s recipe:

  • I halved it because leftover salad just doesn’t sound good!
  • I used non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream because it’s what I had on hand (It added a little extra protein, too!)
  • I used white wine vinegar instead of white vinegar.
  • I finely chopped a dill pickle instead of buying relish. (We never use it, so why buy it!?)

I don’t think these minor changes affected the flavor of the salad in any way.

I cut my tomatoes in wedges and arranged them around the outside edges of the bowl, just in case Rob didn’t want them. He normally doesn’t eat raw tomatoes. I also cut a couple of small dill pickles in half and put them around the bowl for the same purpose.


Now I’m in search of more novel ideas to make Rob’s salad nights more protein-filled for him. Normally, the salads I made him included veggies, shredded cheese or blue cheese crumbles, some bacon bits (the real ones, not the soy ones), and a few croutons. I him put on his own dressing.

Here are ideas that I know will be suggested that I can’t do:

  • Flank steak – He doesn’t like this cut of meat.
  • Poultry, fish or shellfish – He’s allergic.
  • Beans – He’s allergic to some and doesn’t fancy others.
  • Chickpeas – He’d probably eat a salad with these if I put it in front of him, but would say that he wouldn’t want it again.
  • Eggs – While he likes yolks in fried or scrambled eggs, he doesn’t like the yolks when their hard-boiled. I can add hard-boiled whites, though!
  • Nuts – I’m going to try this one, but when I’ve asked if he’s wanted them in a salad in the past, he always says “No.”
  • Cheese – I already add this, but it doesn’t offer a lot of protein and if I added more, that’s just adding more fat, too.
  • Tofu – Neither of us are fans. I don’t mind it because it takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it. But I just don’t get the whole processed soy thing. If I’m going to eat something processed, I want it to be something I really enjoy!

Ideas I came up with while writing this post:

  • Barbecued Pork Salad – I don’t like BBQ sauce, so I’d be making this for just him. Does anyone have a recipe that I can use to know what else to add?
  • Taco Salad

So my question for you today is:

What protein ideas do you have for salads?

Recipe sharing encouraged!



13 responses »

  1. My friend makes a hamburger salad, it’s basically a hamburg without the bun. I loved the idea, since I adore taco salad. Chicken salads I really love too. You have fish tacos, so why not fish on a salad?

  2. I’ve put a hamburger or turkey burger on my salad before and loved it. Of course I love chicken and fish on my salad, too but that’s out for him. I’ve also seen people make pulled pork or beef in the crockpot and throw that on top of a salad. 🙂

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  4. My most favorite salad recipe is spinach leaves, mandarin oranges, sliced strawberries, feta cheese, green onions, walnuts, bacon, and raspberry vinaigrette. It usually comes with chicken, too, but I’ve made it plenty of times without the chicken. You could always serve it on the side as it doesn’t offer a ton of protein other than the bacon and walnuts. It is the perfect summer salad for me!

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