Registered dietitian Samar Kullab shared three high-protein salad recipes with Insider.
Kullab said she thinks about also getting fats and carbs into her meals.
Her all-time favorite salad is a finely chopped, herby Arabic salad with sumac dressing.
If you want to eat more vegetables without compromising on protein, whipping up a high-protein salad might be the answer.
Samar Kullab, a registered dietitian nutritionist and content creator based in Chicago, shared her three favorite high-protein salads with Insider. She considers herself a flexitarian, meaning she focuses mostly on plant-based foods but eats animal proteins here and there.
When you're putting a meal together you should be thinking about its macronutrients: protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, Kullab said.
"You want to make sure you get enough protein because protein is what's going to help keep you full the longest," she said.
Spring Roll Salad
Kullab makes a spring roll-inspired salad with chicken for protein, as well as fresh vegetables, and lots of kelp noodles, which are made of seaweed and are low-calorie.
She likes to shred her chicken either using her hands, a knife and fork or by putting it in a KitchenAid.
To make the noodles, rinse a portion under cold water and soak them in a bowl with water and one teaspoon of baking soda for about six minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
Kullab sprinkles crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, cilantro leaves, and lime juice on the top of the salad to add texture as well as extra flavor and nutrients.
For the dressing, which she said is packed with healthy fats, she mixes peanut butter, olive oil, garlic, ginger, sriracha, and vinegar together in a food processor.
This salad is great if you are volume eating, she said, because it can be packed with as many noodles and veggies as you like, because they are low-calorie. Volume eating is a weight loss strategy where a person eats large amounts of low-calorie food to feel full, while reaching a calorie deficit.
1 package kelp noodles (plus 1 tsp baking soda for soaking)
1 1/2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 cup Persian cucumbers, cubed
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup avocado, cubed
1 jalapeño, diced
2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp liquid aminos (or 1 tbsp soy sauce)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1-2 tbsp chili sauce or sriracha
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp miso
Juice of 1 lime
Water to thin (2-4 tbsp if needed)
Chicken Fattoush Salad
Kullab's all-time favorite is an Arabic salad called fattoush, which she said is bright and colorful.
"The more color in the salad, the more nutrients you're getting," she said.
Kullab chops the vegetables, such as cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce, into small bite-sized pieces, because sometimes it's exhausting to eat a large salad, she joked.
She adds chicken breast for protein and sprinkles toasted wholegrain pita chips on top for some added complex carbohydrates.
You can easily make them at home by tossing some olive oil and sea salt on a whole pita, breaking it up into smaller pieces, and cooking it in an air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four minutes.
4 oz chopped romaine lettuce
3 Persian cucumbers, diced
1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
2 stalks of green onion, diced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup diced cooked chicken
1.5 tbsp sumac
1.5 tbsp dried or fresh mint
1 tsp kosher sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of a lemon
High-protein pasta salad
Kullab recommends using around six ounces of high-protein pasta as a base for this salad, both for protein and complex carbohydrates. She uses Barilla's Protein+ penne, which contains lentils, chickpeas, and peas.
Then she adds in vegetables including spinach and cucumber, as well as Kalamata olives, an orange bell pepper, and some jalapeño. You can add any additional protein source you like to the salad, she said.
The salad dressing she makes also contains olive oil, which she said is a healthy fat.
6 oz pasta
1/2 red onion
1 orange bell pepper
1 jalapeño (optional)
2 Persian cucumbers
1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
3 cups spinach
Protein of your choice (e.g. chicken)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
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