An Ideal Lunch Salad Recipe

There's all sorts of good stuff in this salad - chickpeas, celery, black olives, pepitas, avocado, blanched broccoli. Full of crunch & substance, it's a salad that can stand up to a few hours in a container without collapsing.

An Ideal Lunch Salad

I took this shot at 7:05 the other morning, just before walking out the door to pack a small mountain of boxes related to our last round of QUITOKEETO. It takes quite a lot to get each package bundled safely and sent on its way, and a proper lunch break on packing days is something I look forward to. We clear the long table, throw down a few sheets of butcher paper, and put out a spread. There's usually a thermos of tea, some fruit, a chunk of Wayne's bread, a bit of cheese, and whatever I've managed to pull together. I try to make things like this. You have to look closely, there's all sorts of good stuff in this salad - chickpeas, celery, black olives, pepitas, avocado, blanched broccoli...I was after crunch and substance. A salad that could stand up to a few hours in a container without collapsing.

An Ideal Lunch Salad

A couple notes....I used arugula because I love it, and it was what I had on hand. That said, shredded romaine would be a nice alternative - more structure and crunch. And, I did about ten minutes of prep the night prior - a bit of chopping, and pulling together the dressing. The dressing, by the way, is great on all sorts of things - broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower. And I bet you could do a potato salad with it that would be A+.

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An Ideal Lunch Salad

3 celery stalks, very thinly sliced
1 cup chickpeas (equivalent 14-ounce can), drained/rinsed
3 handfuls arugula or shredded romaine lettuce
1/3 cup toasted pepitas or almonds
15 black olives, chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 small head of broccoli florets, blanched

Creamy Miso Dressing:
1 medium clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
big pinch of ground cumin
1/3 cup / 80 ml plain yogurt
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, or to taste

1 small ripe avocado, sliced

In a large bowl combine the celery, chickpeas, arugula, pepitas, olives, onion, and broccoli. Set aside. Make the dressing by smashing the garlic into a paste in a mortar and pestle (or alternately, with a knife). Stir in the miso, then add the mirin, and vinegar, and combine until it all comes together. Add the cumin and the yogurt, and stir again before finishing with the heavy cream. Taste, and adjust the dressing if needed.

Before serving, add half of the dressing to the other ingredients and toss well. Keep adding more dressing until it is to your liking, adding the avocado toward the end so it maintains its structure.

Serves 2-4, depending on what else is served.

Prep time: 10 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I can't wait to make this salad, and looking forward to checking out brown rice vinegar. I love rice vinegar but haven't tried that. Thank you!

Maureen Abood

Such a lovely combination of green and crunch. And I have to say, your dressings never fail me - original and delicious.

Karen @ leaf + grain

Love the idea of using miso and yoghurt as dressing! :)


Thanks so much for this! I'm pregnant and have to avoid my usual salads with feta or goat cheese - but I won't miss those a bit with this delicious recipe.


Delicious!! To veganize the dressing I think I'll just use cashew cream and thinn it out a bit. Can't wait to taste it.


This salad looks amazing! I can't wait to try the miso dressing, I keep seeing recipes for it but just haven't mustered the nerve to actually purchase some miso :)

natalie @ wee eats

Oh, that dressing looks just lovely! I've already been craving salads even though we're still in a deep freeze here in my neck of the woods. I think I'll be tossing a big bowl of greens with this dressing sometime very soon.

Katie (A Fork in Hand)

I love how green the salad is! So many times I find myself trying to eat a rainbow of colors, that I lose the green freshness of my salad. It looks amazing, and sounds like a great contrast of flavors and textures. :)

Diane @ Vintage Zest

Lots of good stuff indeed and that dressing sounds divine!

leaf (the indolent cook)

Love this kind of salads! I like to add peanut butter to miso dressing. Hope you have fun on your "packing days".

Eva @ 1 Big Bite

yum! this does look like an ideal salad!

Simply Life

This is my favourite type of lunch - simple and healthy! I must use broccoli in salads more, it tends to take a back seat when it comes salads..

Thanks for this post, Heidi. It's that time of year when I'm feeling a bit out of ideas on the '' front. What's available is limited, and ideas for new combinations are always appreciated. The dressing sounds perfect. Can't wait to try this tomorrow! Also, a tip, re: Broccoli: For the first time in my life I have a microwave and actually learned a great trick for blanching broccoli from a friend: I simply put the chopped florets in a microwave-safe bowl, add about 1/2 inch of water, loosely cover with cling wrap and microwave for about 60 seconds. It seems to steam the broccoli the perfect amount, keeping it bright and crunchy but tender--with the added bonus of not having to haul out a pot, boil water, etc. I find myself adding broccoli (and cauliflower) to salads much more frequently now. I hate it raw, but it's great and fuss-free this way. I've never been a fan of microwaving food, but I figure consuming more veggies probably offsets the downside. Do you have/use a microwave? It's so convenient, but I always feel like I'm cheating :(


The dressing sounds wonderful - how nice that this salad holds up for longer than 10 min!

Belinda @zomppa

Looks great, I like the idea of the miso dressing


Truly a gorgeous salad! That dressing sounds absolutely fabulous!

Little Kitchie

thank you! i'm always looking for new ideas for lunch and here is where i find them. you changed the way i cook and eat, heidi, i wanted to tell you this for a long time. thanks! :)


Heidi, do you think that the dressing would keep for a few days in the fridge?

HS: It will!


It looks so green, fresh, and...fluffy! And the pepitas probably add a fabulous crunch. Mmm, nice and healthy!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

Structure and crunch, that's all I'm looking for in a salad. I love the use of blanched broccoli here as well as the pepitas. Makes for a great combo!


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