Dig into a healthy hearty, protein-packed salad with a creamy tahini -balsamic dressing that will keep you satiated all afternoon.

Sad salads are the worst.

I want to know whose idea it was to throw some iceberg lettuce in a bowl with carrot shreds and call it a day. Seriously, it gives salads a bad rap. And what’s worse is that so many restaurants claim to have a “vegan option” and then you find out that it’s some soggy lettuce with a bad vinegar dressing.

I’m not here for it.

What I can get on board with, especially now that the sun is making an appearance, is a hearty, protein-packed salad.

There’s a bowl-making place in my town that I recently discovered and have had to restrain myself from going there every day. They have fresh produce, roasted veggies, protein options, and endless toppings. So good. It’s similar to the Chipotle concept where you select your elements, but with a health-focused spin. Unfortunately, it’s a bit pricey for the every-day lunch. So, I decided to make my own!

Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a great salad. This formula can also be adapted to bowls.

protein + roasted veg + starch + greens + fat + crunchy topping + dressing

= the ultimate salad or bowl

Obviously this can be adapted and other things added in, but I find that when these elements are included, I’m much more satisfied with the meal.

I made a big batch of this over the weekend and plan to utilize it as a salad, but I also like to mix it up. One of my favorite ways to meal prep is preparing ingredients that have multiple uses. This salad can be easily transformed into a quick on-the-go wrap. I usually store the ingredients separately to make it easy to throw together and ensure nothing gets soggy.

Okay now time for the recipe! There are a few different elements you’ll be working on but you can multi-task to put this together in less than an hour. Try doubling the recipe for even more efficiency.

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Healthy Hearty Salad with Balsamic Dressing



Roasted Veggies

  • Half a head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 of an onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large carrots sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 tbs olive oil

Baked Tofu

  • Block of tofu sliced into 6 pieces
  • 4 tsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup


  • 3 small yellow potatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tbs olive oil


  • 3 tbs tahini
  • 1.5 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp maple syrup
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbs water

Optional Toppings

  • Avocado
  • Fried onions
  • Green onions


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add liquid aminos and maple syrup to a flat dish and mix. Slice the tofu and place in one flat layer in the dish. Let sit for 10 minutes, then flip. Let sit for another 10 minutes.
  3. In the mean time, chop cauliflower, carrots, onions, and garlic. Add to a large bowl and add the olive oil and seasonings. Mix until evenly coated.
  4. Add a silicone mat to a baking sheet and spread veggies out in an even layer on one half of the sheet. Add the tofu to the other side
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the tofu and mixing the vegetables half way through.
  6. Dice potatoes in the vegetable bowl, add oil and spices. Mix until evenly coated. Cook in an air fryer at 400 degrees F for 17 minutes, shaking occasionally. If you don’t have an air fryer, they can be cooked in the oven instead. Adjust based on oven power.
  7. To make the dressing, simply add the tahini, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, lemon, and water into a jar. Shake until everything is combined. More water can be added based on dressing preferences. 
  8. Put everything together over a bed of spinach or your favorite greens. Add some toppings and enjoy!


Feel free to switch things up based on what you have around! You could use different veggies, swap the protein, and adjust toppings as desired


  • Calories: 477
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Sodium: 767mg
  • Fat: 17g
  • Carbohydrates: 49g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 31g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: vegan, salad, protein

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