14 Make-Ahead Lunch Salads That Are Anything But Sad

Enjoy the healthy, delicious — Instagrammable! — work lunch you deserve.

salads lead
During the workday, lunch is something to look forward to. If you’re not big on breakfast, it’s your first meal of the day and even if you did chow down on a morning meal, by the time noon rolls around, dreams of stuffing food into your face are probably floating around in your mind.

But, alas, the never-ending problem with work lunches: Making a healthy lunch every morning before can be impossible. And in comes Sweetgreen (and a Sweetgreen-sized dent in your bank account). But not anymore, friends: Here are 14 recipes for salads you can make the night before (or earlier!) and grab on your way out the door in the morning. They are guaranteed to make your lunch break the happy hour it is supposed to be — and help to deal with your eating-out addiction. 

Cucumber, Black Bean, Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salad
via PopSugar

Up your traditional salsa by throwing in some beans and avocado and voila: You’ve got a beautiful, protein-packed salad. Not only will it taste amazing, the reds from the tomatoes, greens from the cilantro and avocado and yellow from the corn creates a salad almost too pretty to eat. We said almost.

Chicken and Wheat Berry Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Arugula 
via Domesticate Me

Confession: Until finding this recipe, I had no idea what wheat berries were. But a salad combining arugula, Brussels sprouts and chicken was too tempting not to click on. (If you are curious they are simply little protein- and fiber-packed kernels of wheat.) If you’re gluten-free, I am sure it would be easy to substitute an alternative grain in this salad. Vegetarian? Take out the chicken. Boom. No reason not to try it!

Black Rice, Beet and Kale Salad
via Yummy Beet

For a more hearty choice, try out this combination of black rice, beets and kale. Bonus: The colors of this combo make for a very Instagrammable lunch option.

Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette 
via Healthy Aperture

If you didn’t know, June is the height of strawberry season. Pretty sure you don’t want to let that all those perfect berries go to waste, which is where this strawberry-packed, citrusy make-ahead salad comes in.

Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad
via Seasonal Cravings

Putting a spin on traditional Tabbouleh, this recipe makes use of pulsed cauliflower instead of using a grain like bulgur. #Winning

Mom’s Edamame Salad
via Happy and Yummy

As a self-proclaimed sushi addict, I have dined at more than my fair share of Japanese establishments and sucked down a lot amount of edamame. If you too are an edamame addict, this salad satisfies should definitely be on your must-make list. You can easily throw some grilled chicken of tofu on to bulk it up.

Mushroom, Lemon and Lentil Salad
via Delicious Everyday

Calling all mushroom lovers! This one is for you: Loaded with mushroom mix, and easily topped with any protein you’d like to add, this one is a winner in the lunch department.

Kale Salad with Blueberries
via Natasha’s Kitchen

It doesn’t get much more healthy than combining to of the most popular superfoods around: kale and blueberries.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad 
via Cool Mom Eats

If you’re a fan of a good pasta salad, you won’t be let down by this cold, soba-noodle rendition. Working in veggies like carrots and bell peppers along with ginger and lime vinaigrette, this salad will make all your coworkers jealous of your oh-so-pretty (not sad at all) desk lunch.

Spiralized Greek Cucumber Salad
via Skinnytaste

Skip the lettuce all together, embrace your inner child and base your salad with spiralized cucumber. Toss with tomatoes, olives, onions, peppers and feta and you have a traditional, untraditional Greek salad. Plus, it’s fun to eat.

Fresh Chickpea Salad with Lemon and Dill
via Inspired Taste

Sometimes simple is better than complicated, and that’s exactly what you’re getting with this chickpea salad. Chickpeas pack a serious punch of protein, making this salad a great lunch-hour pick-me-up.

Tropical Lentil Lunch Bowl
via Sweet Peas and Saffron

Feel as though your vacation week isn’t coming fast enough? Perhaps this tropical lentil lunch bowl can give you a taste of vacation (see what we did there?). Between the mango chunks and the coconut-lime dressing, this salad bowl will make you feel like you’re lounging under a palm tree instead of slaving away under fluorescent lights.

Chicken and Vegetable Salad Rolls 
via Cooks with Cocktails

Say goodbye to your fork and switch it up from a traditional salad to these nifty make-ahead salad rolls, which work tons of veggies into rolled rice paper. (Because we all know: A regular ol’ salad every day can lead to some serious lunch fatigue.)

Sushi Salad
via Two Peas & Their Pod

As I said before, sushi may or not be the love of my life, so a sushi salad is the kind of food that will make me jump on a couch like Tom Cruise. In this salad, which really more resembles a rice bowl, everything you would find in a vegetarian sushi roll is mixed into a mouth watering dish that any sushi fan could easily eat on the daily. Serve over greens for an added nutrition boost, and make sure to wait to add the avocado until you’re ready to eat.

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