10 easy ways to add protein to your salad

Flickr/citymomAdd nuts to your salad for an extra protein punch.

Believe it or not, a salad can fill you up and totally satisfy you, especially if you add some protein to it. From grilled chicken to chickpeas, the possibilities are endless when it comes to customising your salad.

Here are 10 ways to make your salad a high-protein meal.

Add grilled chicken to your salad.

Shutterstock / Barbara DudzinskaAdding chicken to your salad will keep you full longer.

Adding chicken to a salad is one of the easiest ways to pack in a quick protein punch. Round out a nutritious and highly satisfying meal by adding avocado, seeds, fruits, and a home-made dressing.

Switch up your salad habit by varying your flavours regularly; from PopSugar’s high-protein BBQ chicken salad recipe to One Green Planet’s super protein chicken kale caesar, there really is something for everyone.

Try a bean-based salad.

White beans are a great source of protein, so they will keep you full longer while adding some texture and flavour to a salad. You can mix beans into a salad you already love, kick a standard garden salad up a notch, or whip up a completely bean-based bowl at home.

In addition to providing protein, Mind Body Green’s healthy three bean salad has a great crunch and is an easy way to add fibre to your diet.

Top it off with nuts.

Marco Verch/FlickrNuts will add both crunch and protein.

Almond slivers, walnut chunks, or pecans can help you add protein to a veggie-based meal; Most nuts are also Whole30 compliant. They’re also a great way to skew your salad toward the sweeter side.

Need ideas? You can mix roasted almonds with oranges for Well and Full’s protein power salad that will treat your taste buds.

Make high-protein salad dressing at home.

Zoe Miller/INSIDERThere’s such a thing as a high-protein salad dressing.

Homemade dressing can help add some protein to your bowl of greens.

Food blog Joyful Healthy Eats published a tasty Thai salad recipe that calls for enough peanut butter to promise 17 grams of protein per serving. Even more, we found recipes for a high-protein, low-fat ranch mixture from The Protein Chef.

Incorporate eggs into your daily greens.

Olga Bondarenko/ ShuterstockTop off your salad with an egg.

Eggs are an inexpensive and effective way to give your salad a solid protein boost; each egg has approximately six grams of protein. An added bonus, topping your plate with eggs might even inspire you to eat more veggies than you normally would: Purdue University researchers found that when study volunteers ate salads with three cooked eggs, they absorbed 4.5 to 7.5 times more vitamin E from the accompanying vegetables than when they ate egg-free greens.

Not into eggs on top of your greens? Feel free to eat them on the side with your salad – you’ll get the same filling benefit.

Adding seafood to your salad will give you protein and needed nutrients.

Laurel F/flickrKale, salmon, and chard go great together.

Add fish, the top-ranked food on the satiety index, to your salad for an easy way to eat more protein. Even more, you’ll treat your body to benefits that come from the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, which are beneficial for your blood pressure, bone, and joint health, brain, and eyes.

Very Well Fit’s recipe combines salmon and spinach for a healthy and delicious salad.

Consider adding chickpeas to your salad.

jules / FlickrChickpeas pair well with kale and other hearty greens.

Vegetarians, vegans, and even meat-eaters love chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, for good reason: Each cup provides over 14 grams of protein.

Though the protein in chickpeas doesn’t qualify as complete (it doesn’t have each of the amino acids), you can mix it with whole grains. Livestrong lists couscous or whole grain bread as standout examples; both would be great additions to your chickpea salad.

Use quinoa as a base for your next salad.

joshuaraineyphotography/iStockUse the seed as a filler in your salad.

Not only does quinoa contain all nine essential amino acids, but it’s incredibly versatile.

Toss quinoa in a warm grain salad or mix it with black beans using Elizabeth Rider’s recipe.

Make a seaweed salad.

ShutterstockSeaweed’s benefits go far beyond protein.

Seaweed is an often overlooked source of protein with two to nine grams per cup (it varies amongst varieties of seaweed), according to Shape magazine.

Plus, a salad made of seaweed is easy to make. Just add vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and a few other flavourings to make PBS’s seaweed salad.

A single cup of lentils has as much protein as three eggs.

Brent Hofacker/ShutterstockLentils should be your new go-to salad addition.

According to the USDA, one cup of lentils has about 18 grams of protein.

Coupled with their high fibre content, you can bet lentils will keep you full and satisfied for ages. Use them as a base for your salad or even sprinkle some on top. They go well with olive oil and tomato, like in Marcela Valladolid’s Food Network recipe.

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