The ketogenic diet is a very-low-carb, high-fat eating method that’s popular for weight loss.

It typically involves limiting carb intake to 20–50 grams per day to stimulate ketosis — a metabolic state in which your body starts using ketones for energy instead of glucose (1).

However, because it can be restrictive, you may wonder what salads you can eat on a keto diet. Notably, keto salads should be low in carbs but high in healthy fats and protein.

Here are 7 simple and delicious keto salads, plus recipes.

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This grilled chicken salad is not only high in protein but also a great source of healthy fats like oleic acid from its olives, extra virgin olive oil, and avocado.

Numerous test-tube and animal studies link oleic acid to reduced inflammation, enhanced immunity, and potential anticancer effects (2, 3, 4, 5).

Ingredients (serves two) (6):

  • 1/2 pound (225 grams) of chicken thigh, grilled, sliced
  • 4 cups (200 grams) of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 of a medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 of a medium avocado, sliced
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) of olives, pitted, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Coat the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until brown. Once cooked thoroughly, remove the chicken from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, arrange the lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and olives as desired. Once the chicken has cooled, add it to the salad.
  4. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and additional olive oil if desired.
nutrition facts

Per serving (serves two):

  • Calories: 617
  • Protein: 30 grams
  • Fat: 52 grams
  • Carbs: 11 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams

This healthy taco salad is ready in under 30 minutes.

It boasts several calcium-rich ingredients, such as sour cream and cheese, to provide 31% of your daily needs per serving. Calcium plays a key role in heart health, nerve signaling, and muscle function (7, 8).

Ingredients (serves two) (6):

  • 1/2 pound (225 grams) of ground beef
  • 2 cups (100 grams) of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 of a medium avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of diced red onions
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown.
  2. Add cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Let the beef cool slightly.
  3. Mix the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and onion, and serve on two plates.
  4. Top the salad with beef, then garnish with cheese and sour cream.
nutrition facts

Per serving (serves two):

  • Calories: 555
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Fat: 47 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams

This delicious pesto-salmon salad is simple and ready in under 20 minutes.

Salmon is one of the best sources of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. These fatty acids are considered essential because your body cannot create them, meaning that they must come from your diet.

Studies link EPA and DHA to health benefits, including reduced inflammation, heart disease risk, and cancer risk (9, 10, 11, 12).

Ingredients (serves two) (6):

  • 1/2 pound (225 grams) of salmon or two 4-ounce (225-gram) salmon fillets
  • 8 ounces (220 grams) of baby spinach, raw
  • 4 tablespoons (60 grams) of green pesto
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400℉ (200℃) and grease a baking dish with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil.
  2. Place the salmon skin-down on the baking dish. Spread the pesto evenly on top. Squeeze the lemon juice over the pesto and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake the salmon for 15–20 minutes, or until it flakes easily.
  4. While the salmon is baking, sauté the spinach in a pan with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil for 2 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted.
  5. Once cooked, remove the salmon and serve it over the spinach.
nutrition facts

Per serving (serves two):

  • Calories: 340
  • Protein: 29 grams
  • Fat: 23 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams

This simple avocado-shrimp salad is keto-friendly and ready in under 30 minutes.

Shrimp is high in protein and nutrients like iodine. Iodine aids brain health and is required for making thyroid hormones, which regulate your metabolism (13, 14).

Ingredients (serves two) (6):

  • 1/2 pound (225 grams) of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1/2 of a red onion, diced
  • 2 cups (100 grams) of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon or lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, then add the butter and shrimp. Cook thoroughly and set shrimp aside on a plate.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the lettuce, avocado, and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon or lime juice, then toss.
  3. Garnish with shrimp and serve. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
summary

Per serving (serves two):

  • Calories: 449
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Fat: 35 grams
  • Carbs: 10 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams

This creamy keto salad with egg, mayo, and avocado is a great option for picnics and on-the-go meals.

What’s more, it’s very nutritious. In particular, eggs are high in protein and fat, very filling, and rich in micronutrients like choline, zeaxanthin, and lutein (15).

Ingredients (serves two) (6):

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 of a medium avocado, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) of chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: lettuce for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the eggs, mashed avocado, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve the egg salad as is, or scoop the mixture onto a bed of lettuce.
nutrition facts

Per serving (serves two):

  • Calories: 271
  • Protein: 13
  • Fat: 23
  • Carbs: 2
  • Fiber: 2 grams

This spinach salad with bacon and eggs makes a great meal any time of day.

Interestingly, it’s high in nutrients essential for eye health, such as vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A helps maintain your eyes’ light-sensing cells, while lutein and zeaxanthin act as a natural sunblock to protect against blue light (16, 17, 18).

Ingredients (serves two) (6):

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, sliced
  • 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of cooked bacon, sliced or crumbled
  • 4 cups (170 grams) of baby spinach, raw
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22.5 grams) of red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Boil the eggs in a saucepan until the whites and yolks solidify. In the meantime, cook the bacon on the stovetop in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil until crispy.
  2. Once cooked, set the eggs and bacon aside. In a small bowl, whisk the Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.
  3. Place the bacon, eggs, and spinach in a large salad bowl. Add the dressing, toss, and serve.
nutrition facts

Per serving (serves two):

  • Calories: 397
  • Protein: 21 grams
  • Fat: 33 grams
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram

Though the keto diet is often associated with animal products, it can be adapted to fit plant-based diets.

This keto salad is suitable for vegans or vegetarians and rich in nutrients.

For example, a single serving boasts over 300% of your daily needs for vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting, strong bones, and heart health (19, 20, 21).

Ingredients (serves two) (6):

  • 4 cups (170 grams) of baby kale, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced or cubed
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) of pine nuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon (8 ml) of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the kale and olive oil. Massage the oil gently into the kale for 1–2 minutes, or until the leaves have softened.
  2. Add the pine nuts, lemon juice, and avocado, then toss. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Serve immediately.
nutrition facts

Per serving (serves two):

  • Calories: 286
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Fat: 26 grams
  • Carbs: 14 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams

The keto diet typically restricts carb intake to 20–50 grams per day to reach and maintain ketosis (1).

Thus, your keto salad should limit carb-rich foods, instead incorporating healthy, high-fat ingredients. High-carb items to avoid include (6):

  • Fruit: most fruit, except avocados
  • Dried fruit: all dried fruit, including raisins, dates, and prunes
  • Bread and grains: rice, farro, quinoa, bulgur, croutons, and more
  • Legumes: beans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, and others
  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, yams, and more
  • Pasta: all types of wheat-based pasta
  • High-sugar add-ins: candied nuts, jam
  • Certain dressings: low-fat, fat-free, and/or sweet dressings like honey mustard

To increase the fat content of your salad, simply drizzle your salad with olive oil or avocado oil. You can also add healthy, high-fat toppings like avocado or cheese.

summary

Avoid ingredients like croutons, pasta, fruit, and starchy vegetables in your keto salad, as they’re too high in carbs.

The keto diet restricts carb intake to promote weight loss through ketosis.

Although it limits several food groups, you can still create delicious salads using keto-friendly ingredients and dressings.

If you’re interested in this diet, try incorporating a few of these salads into your routine.