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5 Kick-Ass Lunch Salads

5 Kick-Ass Lunch Salads

Eating out everyday for lunch can really rack up some serious cash. It’s important to make a plan and prepare everything at the beginning of your week. I’ve created this 1 week salad meal plan as a guideline for you to create 5 kick-ass salads to keep your stomach full and your body healthy.

You will find 5 salad builds, a grocery list, and a prep guide.


Some basic tools I use to make life easier-

My most favorite tool to use for making dressing is my hand blender. I throw everything, mostly whole, in a mason jar, use my hand blender and voila homemade salad dressing, without all that preservative artificial crap, and totally easy peasy. Putting dressing in the blender or food processor is a Headache. I won’t do it! Mainly because they are a pain in the ass to clean.

For this project I also tested out a few different lunch salad containers. A 4oz glass container from Lifefactory, and a couple plastic containers made especially for salad hauling by Rubbermaid and a container made by a New Zealand Company called Sistema. I think the plastic containers were great especially with the separate compartments for water based vegetables and providing a space for your dressing. Those are huge plusses. The Lifefactory container is an awesome glass container, but it’s expensive and you have to put your dressing in a separate container.  I have used Lifefactory products for my kiddo and they are pretty cool looking and eco friendly. The small stainless steel container I used is made by Greentainer. Either way you go all really great products.


Salad Builds -

Kale Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Tangy Lemon Vinaigrette

1 Fat handful of Kale

1/3 cup Quinoa

1-2 T carrots

3-5 cucumber

Sprinkle of pepitas

1/2 Avocado, spritzed with lemon

Sprinkle of Hemp & Chia seeds (optional)


Romaine Awesome Salad with Italian Herb Dressing

1 fat handful Romaine

1 T Green Onion

5-6 Slices Radish (any variety)

3-5 slices cucumber

1-2 T carrots

1/2 Avocado, spritzed with lemon

Sprinkle of pepitas

1/2 of a chicken breast


Black Bean Garden Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing

1 fat handful Romaine and Spinach

1 tiny handful Red Onion

Handful cherry tomatoes

Handful mushrooms

1-2 T carrots

1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 Avocado, spritzed with lemon

Small handful cilantro


Power Lunch Salad with Italian Herb Dressing

1 fat handful Kale & Spinach

1/3 cup Qunioa (cooked)

1/4 cup Roasted/raw chickpeas

3-5 slices cucumber

1-2 T carrots

1-2 T green onion


Blackberry Kale Salad with Tangy Lemon Dressing

1 fat handful Kale

1/2 cup blackberries

1/3 cup quinoa

3-5 slices cucumber

1/2 Avocado, spritzed with lemon

Walnuts to garnish

1/2 Chicken breast




Tangy Lemon Vinaigrette

¼ cup EVOO

1 lemon zest

1 lemon, juiced

2 cloves of garlic

½-1 tsp coconut sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)


Italian Herb Dressing

¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar

½ cup evoo

2-3 tsp coconut sugar

2 cloves garlic

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Handful of fresh Basil

Handful of fresh Parsley

Small handful fresh oregano


Avocado Cilantro Dressing

½ and avocado

½ cup water

1 clove garlic

1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

¼ tsp salt

Handful of Cilantro


Grocery List

Serves 1-2ish


  • Baby Kale (1 small container)
  • Baby Spinach ( 1 small container or bag)
  • Romaine (1 Head or bag)
  • Carrots (4)
  • Cucumber (1-2)
  • Avocado (2)
  • Lemon (2)
  • Garlic (1 head)
  • Green onion (1 bunch)
  • Red onion (1 small)
  • Radish (1 bunch)
  • Basil (1bunch)
  • Parsley (1 bunch)
  • Oregano (1 bunch)
  • Cilantro (1 bunch)
  • Blackberries (1 package)
  • Mushrooms (2 whole button mushrooms)

Nuts & Seeds

  • Hemp
  • Chia
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts


  • Quinoa (6 oz)

(Money Saving Tip - Buy grains, nuts and seeds and dried fruits in the bulk section of your grocery store, and get exactly the amount you will eat).


  • Black Beans (1 can)
  • Chickpeas (1 can)
  • Chicken breast (¾ lb fresh)

Vinegars, Oils & Spices

  • Apple Cider Vinegar (Small bottle)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( Small bottle)
  • Low sodium Vegetable Broth (1 box)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Coconut Sugar (1 pkg)

These are Staples in my home. I usually buy larger containers to last me a while, but for this weeks lunch Salads these sizes will be ok. It depends on your needs.


Prep List

Clear some time in your busy schedule to pre all your ingredients. It's going to take some upfront work, but it'll be less of a headache though the week, plus you will have 5 delicious healthy salads to enjoy throughout the week.  

Season and cook chicken, - method: heat 1-2 T oil in a dutch oven or deep pan, I like to use salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add seasoned chicken and sear on each side for a few minutes each side. Add a half cup water (or broth) to pan and cover for 10-15 minutes. Make sure internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees. Remove chicken from pan, let rest for 5 minutes, then divide into 2 portions. Refrigerate 1 portion to use toward the beginning of the week, freeze other portion and pull out of freezer to thaw in the refrigerator overnight the day before your going to eat it.  

Cook 6 oz (¾ cup) quinoa - first rinse thoroughly, place in small pot with lid with 12 oz (1 ½ cups) of low sodium vegetable broth or water. Bring to a boil on high, then cover with lid, and reduce heat to low. Cook 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Salt & pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container.


While that is cooking…

Wash and chop greens if needed (place in large zip lock bag with a paper towel to preserve freshness) if you bought pre-washed greens in plastic bags or plastic clamshell containers, add a paper towel to each as well. We want your greens to make it till the end of the week!

Julienne or slice carrots, (I do not recommend shredding, too high in water content and will be mush if by end of the week)

Slice cucumbers (skin on is ok, put in ziploc bag or airtight container). Slice radish and green onions, and mushrooms place in separate containers for storage. Slice red onion (I recommend putting an airtight container and not a plastic bag, I learned the hard way and my fridge smelled like onions the rest of the week).

Tips -

Do not wash blackberries until you are going to use to keep from molding.

Do not cut avocados until morning of, I like to squeeze lemon or lime juice and salt on avocado halves to preserve till lunch time. No one likes brown avocadoes!

Prep Dressings

2 methods -

  1. You can finely chop all the ingredients and toss into separate mason jars and shake. Cover and refrigerate for a week
  2. You can put all ingredients into mason jar and use hand blender to emulsify the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for a week.

In the refrigerator the olive oil in the dressing will get hard and look a little lumpy. If you set it out at room temperature it will turn back into liquid, just give it a stir and add to your salad.

Give this plan a shot. Let me know how it goes, and feel free to ask me any questions. I am more than happy to help!


Much Salad Love


~Carrie, @lettucebedifferent 




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How to Build A Salad

How to Build A Salad