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  • Writer's pictureRobin Rhine McDonald

How to turn 30 min into days of hearty salads

Growing up, a "salad" for me was iceberg lettuce and Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. Sometimes I'd tolerate some chopped up tomatoes in there. By and large, I viewed salads as basic, unsatisfying, and certainly not something I'd want to have for myself as a regular meal option.

I've since realized that a salad can be a very filling, delicious, and easy meal option.

Figuring out what to meal prep for lunch and when to take the time to do it can be challenging, and well, unappealing.

This is a SUPER simple way to prepare healthy, tasty lunches with minimal effort!

I did this process just last night. I used the marinade from our dinner to cook up some chicken breast in the instant pot (took 20 min to cook). While the chicken was cooking, I chopped up some veggies (cucumber & tomato), added the acorn squash from dinner, and threw it in a container. Once the chicken cooled I added it on top along with some goat cheese. Then I used the Primal Kitchen Honey Mustard dressing. EASY!

First thing to do is pick what kind of salads you want to make. Here are some great ideas:

(for those of you who are specific recipe followers, I recommend searching for "Paleo [insert season or specific ingredient] salad" and going with those options. This process is meant to minimize ingredients and make things quick and easy. Sometimes online recipes can be more involved and time consuming.)

- Chicken taco salad

  • Organic Romaine lettuce

  • Organic Chicken breasts

  • Organic tomatoes

  • Avocado

  • Red Onion

  • Siete tortilla chips (optional)

  • Cilantro (optional)

  • Dressing can be lime, salt, and olive oil or the Primal Kitchen Cilantro Lime dressing

- Sweet and savory steak salad

  • Organic spinach

  • Grass fed steak (can be slow cooked, or I love using Cuisine Solutions pre-cooked and sliced grass fed steak from Costco)

  • Grapes

  • Pecans

  • Goat cheese

  • Balsamic dressing (you can make your own or go with the Primal Kitchen one. I like Primal Kitchen because they use avocado oil instead of inflammatory oils like canola or soybean oil)

- Cobb salad

There are so many other salad ideas you can make as well. All you really need to think up is:

  • A base

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Mixed Greens

  • Romaine lettuce

  • Arugala

Some sort of quality protein option

  • Chicken

  • Steak

  • Shrimp

  • Eggs

  • Pork

A crunchy factor

  • Nuts

  • Cucumbers

  • Celery

  • Seeds


  • Onion

  • Tomato

  • Cucumber

  • Celery

  • Any leftover dinner veggies

  • Cabbage

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Broccoli

Healthy carb

  • Sweet potato

  • Acorn/Kombocha/Pumpkin squash

  • Grapes

  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Peaches

  • Berries


  • Avocado

  • Goat cheese


I have a go to dressing that I make for almost every salad.

Or, I'll do something simple that goes with the theme, like that lime and olive oil suggestion above.

The easiest is using quality dressings like Primal Kitchen. Super important to get dressings that don't use inflammatory oils like canola, soybean oil, or the like.

Okay! Once you've decided on the kind of salad you're going to make, preparing usually takes less than 20 minutes!

Simply cook whatever meat you've chosen (or if you got a pre-cooked option like the Cooks Venture steak, you're already all set!).

For chicken, if I have the Primal Kitchen recipe, I'll marinade it and then either bake it in the oven, or cook it in my instant pot. This will take more than 20 min to cook, but less than 5 min to prepare.

If you've chosen veggies or healthy carbs that require cooking like sweet potatoes or brussel sprouts, I recommend using an instant pot OR including those foods in your next meal and just cooking double the amount so you can use it in your salad the next day. That way you're cooking multiple meals at one time.

Next, you chop all your veggies. Simple.

Select or make your dressing.

Once you've got your meat cooked, your healthy carbs ready, and your veggies chopped, it's just a matter of assembly! You can put each in containers and make the salad each night or each morning before work, right before you'll eat it, or you can make the salads in different containers that you just grab as you need them!

For those avocado salads, I recommend assembling everything but the avocado until just before you're ready to eat.

Other than that, this is a fun, easy way to get creative with your meal prep.


And be sure to tell me what fun salad combinations you discover!

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