Tired Of Salads? Try These Vegetable Alternatives To Spice Up A Healthy Diet


Mariana Medvedeva


May 31 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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The food you eat is tied to mental and physical health, and finding diverse options for healthy food can be challenging for many. Many people equate salads with eating healthy, however, eating salads can get old quickly. And even if you love a good green mix, sometimes, you want a variety of options.

To close out Women’s Health Month, let’s consider a few vegetable alternatives to get out of the salad rut:

Buddha Bowls 

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Also known as “macro bowls,” these typically consist of several small portions of cold food. Think of them as Hawaiian poke bowls, but vegetarian. The name allegedly derived from villagers filling Buddha’s bowl with food as he made his rounds. The bowls are highly nutritious, consisting of vegetables (cooked, pickled, and raw), leafy greens, legumes, grains, and a sauce. You can mix and match the bowls and never eat the same thing twice. Check out this guide to get started on your Buddha bowl.

Warm Salads

As the name suggests, warm salads contain cooked vegetables prepared to your preference, such as grilled, fried, steamed, or sauteed. They’re an excellent gateway into healthy eating if you aren’t opposed to vegetable alternatives but prefer a hot meal. One example is this mushroom and carrot salad, a warm Asian salad with tofu and vegetables, or (my personal favorite) a roasted Greek salad. Add chicken, fish, or steak to any warm salad recipe if you’re in the mood for extra protein. Warm

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Spaghetti Squash

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Spaghetti squash is a great vegetable alternative, especially if you’re reducing carbs. When cooked, the squash’s inside “meat” breaks into ribbons, mimicking spaghetti and making it a healthy and tasty alternative. It takes about 40 minutes of baking at 400 degrees to soften the squash. Make sure you have an extra sharp knife to cut into the squash. After it has cooled, use a fork to scrape out the ribbons. Then try delicious recipes, like Mediterranean spaghetti squash with cremini mushrooms and zucchini, cheesy bread, or just spaghetti and meatballs. Do you have an instant pot or pressure cooker? There are recipes for that as well!


Eggplants need more love and attention. They are nutrient-dense, and according to Healthline, studies have shown they may reduce the risk of heart disease, have cancer-fighting benefits, and, high in fiber and low in calories, promoting weight loss. Eggplants are versatile, so you can prepare them in many ways and won’t lose their nutritional value. I’ve made eggplant chips, which are especially good if you have an air fryer. Another great recipe is this Moroccan-spiced eggplant and tomato stew or an eggplant naan pizza ready in 20 minutes. Try them roasted or stir-fried with garlic and ginger.

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You can replace carbs with lettuce wraps if you’re cutting down. Since they are mostly water, the calories are minimal, making them a great vegetable alternatives. I’ve tried this Philly cheesesteak lettuce wrap and the copycat P.F. Chang’s chicken lettuce wrap (substitute tofu if you’re vegan or vegetarian), and they tasted like their respective originals (delicious!) If you’re not a meat-eater, throw some sweet potatoes, rice, roasted vegetables, soba noodles, and cabbage onto a lettuce wrap. 


Hold or cold, soups are great year-round. This tangy cucumber soup with yogurt and dill can be a soup, sauce, or salad dressing; you just need a blender. There’s a summer tomato soup, or try this traditional Hungarian chilled sour cherry soup with fennel and onion. The Mexican street corn soup with onion and cotija cheese or a vegetable soup with butternut squash, green beans, and carrots will also fill you up. 

Happy eating!

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By: Stephanie Teasley

Stephanie Teasley is a freelance writer living in California. She is a veteran in the service industry but decided that storytelling has a more appealing palate. Stephanie graduated with a Master’s in Creative Writing at Antioch University Los Angeles. She loves crafting narratives, spoiling her cats, and basking in warm temperatures. You can find her at the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas.

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