2 Favourite, Filling Salads

Full-meal salads are my absolute go-to during the summer months. And, with the growing trend of salads-in-a-jar, I can see that others are catching on. The secret to a perfectly balanced, full-meal salad (that will actually fill you up) is to include whole grains, protein, and healthy fats along with all those veggies. I also like to include a sweet note (such as fresh or dried fruit) and something crunchy for texture. Often foods will do double duty, such as chopped nuts providing protein, healthy fat, and crunch.

Baby- and Kid-Friendly Version: Serve each salad component “deconstructed”, in it’s own little pile. Serve a small dish (ramekin) of the dressing on the side. Or, do a make-your-own salad bar with the ingredients. There is no extra work for baby-friendly, finger-foods – just place pieces on your baby’s tray.


Protein Food Ideas:

  • Beans and lentils, canned or cooked from dry
  • Edamame
  • Tofu cut into cubes or fingers
  • Grated or cubed cheese
  • Leftover meat and poultry, e.g. shredded chicken, sliced steak
  • Chopped or slivered nuts
  • Seeds, e.g. pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts
  • Hard boiled eggs

Whole Grain Ideas (Starch Foods):

  • Cooked and cooled pasta
  • Buckwheat (soba) noodles
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Farro
  • Pot barley
  • Cooked and cubed sweet potatoes

For inspiration, here are two of my favourite full-meal salads. You’ll notice that there aren’t amounts listed for the salad ingredients – make as much or as little as you want.

Black Bean Salad

black bean salad_medmed


Brown rice

Black beans

Bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)

Corn (cooked from frozen or cut off the cob)



1 TBSP            Vegetable oil (I particularly like avocado oil)

1 TBSP            White wine vinegar

2 TBSP            Lime juice

1/4 tsp           Ground cumin

1/8 tsp           Cayenne pepper (optional)

Pinch              Salt

Lentil-Farro Salad

lentil farro salad_medmed


Farro, cooked and cooled

Green lentils*, cooked and cooled

Grated carrot

Grated beet

Kale, cut into thin ribbons and massaged with a dash of oil, vinegar and salt

Slivered almonds



1 TBSP            Good, extra virgin olive oil

3 TBSP            Balsamic vinegar

Fresh cracked pepper

Pinch              Salt

* Do you have difficulty digesting beans? Give lentils a try, they’re less “musical”, and check out my tips for making beans and lentils less gassy.

Carrot Salad

carrot salad

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the classics. Carrot salad is perfect for this time of year - when we're tired of eating Winter fare but we're still waiting for Spring and Summer's local bounty.

Naturally sweet, this is a salad that many non-salad eating picky kids will actually eat.

It's also a very forgiving recipe - make more or less salad as you wish. Reduce the honey if you find it too sweet, or reduce the amount of dressing if you prefer your salads lightly dressed. Enjoy!

Carrot Salad Ingredients

3 cup grated carrot

1 cup raisin, seedless (sultana)

1 tbsp honey (wait to offer babies honey until after 12 months)

6 tbsp mayonnaise (plain yogurt works well too)

1 tsp lemon juice (fresh is best)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

Carrot Salad Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine grated carrots and raisins, tossing lightly.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour mixture over carrots and raisins. Stir carefully until well combined.
  4. Chill thoroughly before serving.
  5. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Version (for kids who don't like their foods to touch) :

  • Set aside some grated raw carrot and raisins. Serve in their own small piles on the plate.
  • Set aside a small amount of the dressing in a small dish.

Get more healthy, easy, tasty recipes here.