Our Top 10 Keto Friendly Salads

The most delicious and healthy way to get more veggies in your diet is with a keto salad recipe. But why must we have the distinction of “keto salad”? Aren’t all salads — with their leafy green and oily dressings — low-carb and keto-friendly anyway?

Not necessarily.

Many popular salads come with sugary dressings, bread, and croutons that turn one of the healthiest meals you can consume into a delivery mechanism for more carbs and unhealthy ingredients. Fortunately, your salad doesn’t have to be this way, and it can still be delicious.

In fact, by using only low-carb, keto-friendly ingredients, you can get all of the health benefits you expect from eating a salad without missing out on your favorite flavors.

To learn how, check out the low-carb salad recipes below and follow them step by step or customize them in any which way you’d like. You can’t go wrong with these keto salads.

Charred Veggie and Fried Goat Cheese Salad

This keto salad is so good that you won’t even need dressing. The flavor of the charred red bell peppers and portabello mushrooms combined with the richness of the fried goat cheese provide the perfect toppings for the tangy flavor of arugula.

While you are indulging in this culinary masterpiece of a salad, you will be reaping the health benefits of arugula as well. Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable that contains compounds like sulforaphane that help fight against multiple types of cancer.

Charred Veggie and Fried Goat Cheese Salad

Arugula is also a great source of dietary nitrate, a natural compound that has been shown to improve muscle oxygenation. Some researchers believe that the dietary nitrate in arugula can even enhance the quality of life for those with cardiovascular, respiratory, or metabolic diseases who find the activities of daily life to be physically difficult.

On top of that (literally and figuratively), the goat cheese in this keto salad will provide you with vitamins, minerals, and protein in a much more easily digestible (and arguably more delicious) package than cow’s milk cheese.

Altogether, this keto salad is one of my favorites because of how delicious and healthy it is. It’s so good that I had to put it first on this list.

See How To Make It

Crispy Pork Salad

This salad has every flavor and texture that your palate is looking for — protein, umami, and fat from the pork belly, fattiness from the cheese, crunchiness from the walnuts, and sweetness from the pear. When you put it all together into one salad, you have a dish that will never get old.

What’s even more incredible about this keto salad is what happens once a bite of this salad hits your intestines. After passing through the stomach, the plant fibers from the mixed greens will start to go to work feeding your gut bacteria and improving your gut health.

Crispy Pork Salad

Meanwhile, the diverse array of nutrients found in the mixed greens— from vitamins like A, C, K, B6,  and folic acid to antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin to minerals like magnesium and potassium — will be digested and go to work throughout your body, staving off disease and improving health. Plus, mixed greens are so low in carbs that it’ll be almost impossible to eat too many of them on keto — so have a little extra if you’d like.

Make sure you don’t skimp out the walnuts either. These nuts are widely known as one of the healthiest nuts because of their potent antioxidant activity and the ability to fight off disease.

Another great thing about this salad is that it can be easily customized to fulfill your macronutrient needs as well. Need to reduce your carb intake? Take out the pears. Need more fat and protein? Have more pork belly and blue cheese. What about fat? Add some extra olive oil to the dressing.

See How To Make It

Oven Roasted Caprese Salad

The beauty of this, a warm twist on an Italian classic, is that it is much more filling but with all of the traditional flavor of a Caprese salad. Because the salad base is fiber-packed spinach, it satisfies your appetite with a reasonable portion.

Spinach is also one of the healthiest greens that you can use as your salad base. It will provide you with essential nutrients like niacin, zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.

Oven Roasted Caprese Salad

This leafy green also comes with an abundance of antioxidants that help prevent heart disease and protect your body from free radicals, particularly in the colon. In other words, spinach is loaded with good things for every part of your body!

The benefits of this salad as a whole, however, don’t stop at spinach. The garlic and grape tomatoes, for example, both will provide your body with potent plant compounds that improve heart health, reduce cholesterol, and protect cells throughout the body.

Next time you are hankering for some mozzarella cheese and tomato, consider going all the way with this keto salad. You’ll satisfy your cravings for these fresh Italian flavors while treating your body to some of the healthiest keto-friendly ingredients.

See How To Make It

Spinach Watercress Keto Salad

Need something quick and simple that’s loaded with flavor and healthy fats? This keto salad is exactly what you are looking for.

The lemon juice and parmesan cheese give it all the flavor it needs to keep you coming back for more greens. Plus, the addition of sliced avocado adds health benefits to this salad that you’ll rarely find in any other salad.

This is due to the fact that avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, potassium, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.

Spinach & Watercress Keto Salad

In fact, they are so good for us that studies on avocados have shown that they reduce total cholesterol levels significantly, reduce blood triglycerides by up to 20%, lower LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol by up to 22%, and increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by up to 11%. Watercress is another nutritional powerhouse that you’ll get from eating this salad,  providing you with powerful antioxidant properties and vitamins K, A, and C.

Overall, this keto salad is one of the quickest ways to meet your macros, tantalize your taste buds, and improve your health at the same time. Feel free to add more parmesan cheese (for more fat and protein) or more avocado slices (for more fat) if you’d like.

See How To Make It

Keto Mixed Green Spring Salad

This simple low-carb salad features our 5 Minute Keto Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing — a subtly sweet and tangy dressing that compliments the flavors of the parmesan, bacon, and pine nuts beautifully. Although pine nuts do cost a small fortune, you may find that they provide a unique flavor to this salad that you just can’t do without.

Even if you are not a big fan of the flavor, you may still want to include pine nuts in your diet because of their unique health benefits.

Mixed Green Spring Salad

For example, they contain pinolenic acid, a plant compound that has been found to trigger the release of an appetite-suppressing hormone. This means that pine nuts may help you lose weight by making you feel fuller with fewer calories. On top of this, these nuts also have plenty of magnesium and anti-aging antioxidants that help support your overall health and vitality.

When you combine these health benefits with what you’ll get from the mixed greens, it’s hard to pass this salad up. It’ll be particularly hard to pass up this salad once you realize that it gives you the perfect excuse to eat more bacon.

See How To Make It

Crispy Tofu and Bok Choy Salad

Sometimes it’s good to switch it up and have a vegan meal for ethical and health reasons. Although meat and cheese are healthy, they may be replacing calories in your diet that could be coming from novel vegan food sources with different nutrient profiles. This vegan keto salad, for example, has many nutrients that aren’t found in high quantities in meat and cheese.

Bok choy, the base of this salad, is one of the most nutrient-dense veggies you can eat. In fact, Bok choy ranks sixth on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) for fruits and vegetables.

Crispy Tofu and Bok Choy Salad

In other words, It is one of the veggies with the most nutrients per calorie. Among these nutrients are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin b6,  potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium, niacin, folate, choline, beta-carotene, vitamin K, and a whole host of antioxidants. Altogether, these nutrients are what give bok choy the ability to protect us from cancer, osteoporosis, inflammation, heart disease, and infection.

You’ll also be receiving other health-promoting nutrients from eating tofu instead of meat with this salad.  Although soy consumption sparks a lot of controversies, it is a highly nutrient-dense food that is packed with protein and minerals. It also has a high isoflavone content, which are natural plant compounds that may improve heart health, reduce the risk of certain cancers, and optimize blood sugar levels.

In general, if you are looking for a vegan meal that is healthy and delicious, then look no further than this keto salad. It will fill you up without needing any meat or cheese.

See How To Make It

Thai BBQ Pork Salad

Some people just can’t get themselves to enjoy a salad that is packed with leafy greens. The thought of chewing on leaves just turns some people off, so what should they do? Try this salad. The pulled pork and Thai BBQ sauce will bring so much substance that you won’t even realize that you just a serving of romaine leaves.

Additionally, the sauce serves as the perfect delivery mechanism for the health-promoting properties of lime, the potent antioxidants in tomato paste, the healthy fats in peanut butter, and the anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties of cilantro.

keto salad: Thai BBQ Pulled Pork Salad

Below this health-boosting Thai BBQ sauce will rest pulled pork, which has many health-enhancing nutrients of its own. For example, you’ll get a significant amount of creatine, taurine, and glutathione. Creatine is essential for the proper function of brain and muscle cells, while taurine supports healthy heart and muscle function. To top it off, the glutathione will help protect your cells from the damage caused by energy metabolism.

When you put the pork together with the Thai BBQ sauce and romaine leaves, you’ll have a nutritious salad that doesn’t even seem like it should be healthy. In fact, this recipe will provide undeniable proof that food can be both delicious and healthy at the same time.

See How To Make It

Red Pepper Spinach Salad

All you’ll need for this keto salad is spinach, keto ranch dressing, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. Although it looks simple on paper, this recipe provides your palate with a wide range of flavors and your body with a diverse array of benefits.

You already know a bit about how healthy cheese and spinach is for us, but did you know that red pepper flakes add a little more than just a spicy kick? Capsaicin, the plant compound responsible for the spiciness of red pepper flakes, also benefits the body in three ways:

keto side salad

  • By decreasing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • By stimulating blood flow through the membranes, causing mucus secretion to become thinner. This action helps combat the common cold and sinus infections.
  • By acting as a digestive and anti-ulcer aid.

And if you aren’t a fan of spicy food, then this salad provides you with a great way to get the benefits of capsaicin without its spiciness ruining your eating experience. This is because the healthy fats in the keto ranch dressing and the parmesan cheese will help dissolve the spice so it won’t stick around in your mouth.

See How To Make It

Vegetarian Keto Salad

Like the low-carb Thai BBQ pork salad, this vegetarian keto club salad is perfect for anyone who is not a big fan of leafy greens. This is because each bite of greens will be accompanied by eggs, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, dressing, or some combination of these tasty ingredients. It’s so good that you’ll forget it’s a healthy keto salad.

The best part is that it is even better for your body. Not only will you get one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables in leafy greens, but you will also be having one of the most nutritionally dense animal products as well — eggs.

keto salad recipes vegetarian

In fact, eggs are so healthy that they are regarded by many health specialists as one of the only foods deserving of the title “superfood.” Other health professionals refer to eggs as being like “nature’s multivitamin” because of their high mineral, B vitamin, vitamin D, vitamin A, choline, and antioxidant content.

Not to mention, the eggs go so well with the creamy keto salad dressing that you’ll forget that your meal has no meat in it. If you’d like to make it even tastier, you can always add some bacon to it.

See How To Make It

Keto Caesar Salad

With this low-carb salad, you can have all of your favorite Caesar salad flavors with none of the carby croutons. In my opinion, our 5-minute keto caesar salad dressing is what takes this low-carb salad above and beyond any other Caesar salad that I’ve had.

The secret behind its unmatchable flavor and health benefits lies in the anchovy paste and dijon mustard. The anchovy paste adds a potent saltiness to the salad with its high mineral content.

keto salads for lunch: caesar

It also will help you meet your daily requirements for thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. The dijon mustard compliments the anchovy paste with its sharp, strong, and mustardy bite. It will also provide you with a good source of minerals like selenium and magnesium and phytonutrients that have been found in animal studies to have powerful anti-cancer effects.

In other words, you can’t go wrong with this keto caser salad. It is packed flavor and essential nutrients that will help you enhance the results of your ketogenic diet.

See How To Make It

How To Meet Your Macros with These Keto Salad Recipes

Salads are arguably the simplest way to meet your fat and protein needs because they are so easy to make and customize. On top of that, they also provide you with the most convenient method of increasing the vegetable, fiber, mineral, vitamin, and antioxidant content of your keto diet, which will help you improve your overall health and vitality while you get the results you want.

Keep in mind, however, that these low-carb salads are not explicitly designed to meet your goals. You may need to make some adjustments to these recipes to make it into a keto meal that meets your macronutrient needs and flavor preferences.

Here are some of the simplest ways to customize your keto salads:

If you want to add more fat without any extra protein or carbs:

  • Add extra avocado oil, MCT oil, or olive oil to your salad or salad dressing.
  • Add sliced avocado.
  • Top off your salad with some dehydrated coconut.
  • Make your favorite salad dressing and add an extra serving of it to your salad.

Here are some of our favorite keto dressings:

If you want to add more fat and protein:

  • Add fatty meat like bacon or pepperoni to your salad
  • Crumble up some nuts and put them on your salad
  • Put some fatty fish like salmon or sardines on top of your salad
  • Top off your salad with some seeds (e.g., pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds)
  • Mix in your favorite cheese(s)

If you want to add more protein to your salad without too much extra fat:

  • Top your salad with less fatty meats like chicken, steak, or turkey.
  • Add tofu, tempeh, or nori to your salad.

If you want to add more flavor, textures, and health benefits to your salad:

But how do you figure out which recommendation to follow? First, plug your information and goals into our keto calculator. By doing so, you will be able to find out exactly how much fat, protein, carbs, and calories you need to aim to eat every day while you are on the ketogenic diet.

Once you get a grasp of the ketogenic diet and what keto recipes you want to make to meet your macronutrient needs, we suggest tracking your calories for the first couple of weeks with an app like MyFitnessPal. (We put together a guide on tracking carbs and calories on keto that will show you exactly how to do this.) After you’ve figured out your macronutrient goals and started tracking what you eat, you will have a better idea of how you can customize your keto salads to make the ideal meal for you.

Putting It All Together — The Top 10 Keto Salad Recipes

The main ingredients of salads — leafy greens, veggies, meat, and cheese — are all keto-friendly, but it’s the sugary dressings, croutons, and bread that neutralizes all the good you can get from such a healthy meal. Fortunately, you don’t need the croutons or sugary dressings to make your salad delicious, even if you are not a fan of leafy greens. All you need is your favorite meats, cheeses, low carb vegetables, and keto-friendly dressings to make salads into your favorite keto meal.

Need some inspiration? Here are the links to the top 10 keto salads we went over in this article:

And if you would rather use a different dressing than the recipe recommends, here some of our favorite keto-friendly dressings:

Feel free to customize these salads and salad dressings in any way you like to meet your macronutrient needs and flavor preferences. There are so many potential combinations that you will never get tired of having salad while you are on the ketogenic diet.