14 Cheap Salads to Make for Lunch

Just because a salad is budget-friendly doesn't mean it should lack flavor. Here are our top picks for cheap salads.

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Buffalo Chicken Salad

Delicious, and even better—quick! This buffalo chicken salad is a summer staple at our house. Sometimes we cook the chicken on the grill, then sprinkle the hot sauce over it with the dressing, because you've gotta have that kick! —Cori Cooper, Flagstaff, Arizona
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Warm Squash & Quinoa Salad

Whenever I see butternut squash at the supermarket, I buy one. It's amazing tossed with earthy quinoa, Italian spices and crunchy pine nuts. And don't get me started on the browned butter! Yum. —Carly Taylor, Libertyville, Illinois
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Cool Beans Salad

This protein-filled dish could be served as a colorful side dish or a meatless main entree. When you make it, double the recipe because it will be gone in a flash! The basmati rice adds a unique flavor and the dressing gives it a bit of a tang. —Janelle Lee, Appleton, Wisconsin
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Dilly Potato & Egg Salad

Everyone has a favorite potato salad, and this is mine. As a young bride, I was eager to learn how to cook and make things that my husband would love. I combined my mom's and his mom's recipes, and this potato and egg salad the delicious result. —Angela Leinenbach, Mechanicsville, Virginia
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Roasted Potato & Green Bean Salad

I made this salad to take advantage of seasonal potatoes, onions and green beans. It’s a perfect twist on the tangy German potato salad my mom used to make. Readers of my blog, The Seasoned Mom, are big fans. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
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Edamame Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

This bright baby kale salad is packed with a little bit of everything: hearty greens, a nutty crunch, a zip of citrusy goodness and a big protein punch. It's pure bliss in a bowl. —Darla Andrews, Schertz, Texas
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12-Hour Salad

This recipe was Mom's scrumptious scheme to get her kids to eat vegetables. She never had any trouble when she served this colorful crunchy salad. Mom thought this salad was a real bonus for the cook since it must be made the night before. —Dorothy Bowen, Thomasville, North Carolina
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Sour Cream Cucumbers

It’s been a tradition at our house to serve this dish with the other Hungarian specialties my mom learned to make from the women at church. It’s especially good during the summer when the cucumbers are fresh-picked from the garden. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio
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That Good Salad

When a friend shared this salad recipe, it had a fancy French name. Our children can never remember it, so they say, "Mom, please make 'that good salad.'" Now our friends and neighbors request it for potluck dinners. It really is one of the best salad recipes. —Betty Lamb, Orem, Utah
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BLT Bow Tie Pasta Salad

This is one of our favorite cold pasta salad recipes. I first tried it at a family reunion, and it's become one of my husband's favorite dinners. Sometimes, we leave out the chicken and serve it as a side dish instead. —Jennifer Madsen, Rexburg, Idaho
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California Pasta Salad

As far as cold pasta salad recipes go, this is one of the best. Not only does it travel well to get-togethers such as picnics or tailgate parties, but people absolutely love it when it gets there. —Jeanette Krembas, Laguna Niguel, California
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Pizza Salad

A fun summer dish, this is a different salad that tastes as good as it looks. I love to take it to parties—the wonderful zesty flavor really complements a barbecue! —Debbie Terenzini-Wilkerson, Lusby, Maryland
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Fresh Apple & Pear Salad

This fun combination of ingredients comes together beautifully in one flavor-packed dish. Crunchy apples and ripe, juicy pears are fantastic tossed with crisp, cool cucumbers and a spicy dressing. —Jean Ecos, Hartland, Wisconsin
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Garden-Fresh Chef Salad

For much of the year, I can use my garden's produce when I make this cool salad. In spring, the salad mix and radishes come from my crop. In summer, I use the tomatoes, cabbage and carrots. What a good feeling! —Evelyn Gubernath, Bucyrus, Ohio

Laura Denby
Cooking and writing have been Laura’s passion for 10 years. In addition to Taste of Home, Laura writes about food and culinary arts on sites like Food & Wine, Food Network and Delish. Though she’s a trained professional chef, Laura has branched into the wine and spirits space too. She has worked in multiple vineyards and earned a WSET Level 2 award in wine and spirits. Her work in professional kitchens, love of organizing and eye for the best kitchen products gives her a range of writing experience from cooking techniques to product testing. Outside of work, Laura loves wine tasting, traveling and hanging out with her dog and family.