By Vanessa Greaves

It's easy to eat healthy when your taste buds are happy with what's on the plate. That's especially challenging when it comes to salads. Because even if you hit the right balance of produce and protein, how do you keep your mouth interested without drowning your good intentions in high-calorie dressing? Here are 11 healthy salad ideas that show you how to keep things tasty when salad is what's for dinner.

11 healthy salads that we crave for dinner!

There's a whole lot of crisp veg going on underneath those rice noodles and grilled shrimp. Fresh herbs and a ginger/garlic/Sriracha sauce liven things up, and peanuts add a satisfying crunch.

Photo by lutzflcat

You can fool your mouth into eating less meat when it's presented on a big pile of dark greens, fresh basil, and juicy tomatoes. Cut the mozzarella cheese into small pieces to keep calories in check.

Photo by Molly

Beans add extra protein and fiber, and a spicy rub amps up the flavor of the grilled chicken in this healthy taco salad recipe. Go easy on the sour cream or substitute yogurt for a creamy, tangy finish.

Photo by Stirring up Trouble

Here's a healthy chicken salad with crisp greens and crunchy vegetables playing off luscious mango for a textural win-win. Tropical dressing cheers things on from the sidelines where it belongs.

Photo by SugarPlum

When dressing on the side doesn't make sense, just make sure it doesn't smother your salad with fat. Low-fat sour cream or yogurt gives this curry dressing just the right creaminess to lightly hug everything together.

Photo by LilSnoo

Cucumber, tomato, mint, and arugula meet a surprise guest in lemony purslane. An unusual sumac-laced dressing gives a hit of fruity, astringent flavor for a "wow, what's that?" experience. Top with grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas for protein.

Photo by MissFaharari

Fresh seasonal berries are naturally low-carb and packed with nutrients. Toss them in by the generous handful; they play well with whatever healthy protein you've got going, and their juiciness can take the place of salad dressing.

Photo by TheBritishBaker

Hello, healthy grain salad. Quinoa's been called one of the best plant-based protein sources out there. And it's gluten-free, easy to digest, and soaks up flavors like a sponge. So, into the salad it goes.

Want a super-quick healthy salad dressing? Simply shake together 1 part lemon juice with 3 parts olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Photo by mickdee

Avocados fall squarely into the good-for-you column, and they seem to keep you fuller, longer. Instead of serving the avocado on the side, go on and make it the bowl with this healthy tuna salad recipe.

Photo by bd.weld

Here's a healthy salad that's loaded with superfoods -- fresh spinach, red cabbage, pecans, mandarin oranges, leeks, and dried cranberries. It's also a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken. "Hearty, delicious super-easy healthy green salad reminiscent of traditional chicken chow mein," says TheRecycleChef. "Add a splash of your favorite Asian dressing and you have a complete meal."

Photo by lutzflcat

Grilled za'atar-marinated chicken tenders are served over a romaine salad loaded with veggies and drizzled with a lemon-tahini dressing. "Experiment with Middle Eastern flavors in this nutritious dinner salad," says Bibi. "Use purchased za'atar seasoning blend or use your own."

Photo by Bibi

Check out our complete collection of Healthy Salad Recipes.

If you're looking to eat healthier, you might like 26 Recipes That Have America Loving The Mediterranean Diet.