15 Garbage Salad Recipes for Those Nights When You Just Can’t Even

You’ve tried dump dinners. And dump cakes. And while the name is, um, less than appealing, there’s something glorious about throwing a bunch of ingredients together and calling it a day. The next low-maintenance meal you should be making for easy lunches and dinners? Garbage salads. We can 100 percent get behind transforming leftovers, pantry ingredients and random produce into a light and healthy meal. Here, 15 garbage salads for some upcoming dinner inspo.

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cobb salad garbage salad recipes
Two Peas and Their Pod

Cobb Salad

The Cobb is the O.G. of garbage salads—it was created by tossing together random ingredients from a restaurant kitchen for a late-night snack. Feel free to throw in whatever other ingredients you have on hand, like nuts, dried cranberries and leftover herbs. (Thanks, Coterie member Maria Lichty.)

avocado quinoa salad garbage salad recipes
Power Plates

Quick Guacamole Quinoa Salad

Take leftover quinoa, the rest of the pint of cherry tomatoes, and the hot sauce from the fridge door to make this quick guacamole salad.

everything spring garden salad garbage salad recipes
Ambitious Kitchen

Everything Spring Garden Salad With Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Everything is right. This salad can be edited to include any and all ingredients you’re craving. Monique Volz’s lemon basil vinaigrette works with all sorts of veggies.

mediterranean tuna salad garbage salad recipes
Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Mediterranean Tuna Salad With No Mayo

Elevate a basic can of tuna—combine it with Mediterranean-inspired ingredients like peppers, chickpeas and feta cheese for a mayo-less tuna salad.

asian ramen noodle garbage salad recipes
Foodie Crush

Asian Ramen Noodle Salad Recipe

You know those packs of ramen noodles hiding in the back of the pantry? Yep, those. Give them a new life in this simple salad from Coterie member Heidi Larsen.

blt pasta salad grabage salad recipes
Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Blt Pasta Salad

Use your leftover bacon from breakfast, almost-too-ripe tomatoes and any pasta you have on hand to create this satisfying lunch. A pantry salad at its finest.

cucumber salad garabage salad recipes
The Modern Proper

Cucumber Salad

There’s no need to turn extra cucumbers into pickles. Instead, use them as the base for tonight’s dinner salad with a Greek yogurt-based dressing.

breakfast salad garbage salad recipes1
Oh Carlene

Breakfast Salad

Toss your favorite breakfast ingredients with Bibb lettuce and balsamic vinaigrette for a new take on the first meal of the day. (Thanks for this inspo, Coterie member Carlene Thomas.)

antipasto pasta salad garbage salad recipes
Half Baked Harvest

Antipasto Pasta Salad With Herby Parmesan Vinaigrette

In need of a quick pasta salad for tonight’s potluck? Raid your cabinets to pull together this quick and easy antipasto.

spring panzanella salad garbage salad recipes
Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Spring Panzanella Salad

Mix day-old bread and seasonal produce and voilà, you’ll have this Panzanella salad. (You really can’t go wrong with any sort of veggie.)

end of summer cob salad garbage salad recipes
Feed Me Phoebe

End Of Summer Cobb Salad With Creamy Carrot-kimchi Dressing

There’s no right or wrong here. Coterie member Phoebe Lapine’s Cobb salad works with any leftover vegetables you have on hand.

crunchy cauliflower salad garbage salad recipes
Oh My Veggies

Crunchy Cauliflower Salad

That head of cauliflower has been sitting in your fridge all week, waiting to be eaten. Make short work of it with this quick, fuss-free dinner.

strawberry apple quinoa salad
The Simple Veganista

Strawberry, Apple And Quinoa Salad

You were running late and skipped breakfast a few times this week, and now you have a ton of fruit piling up in the fridge. Good thing it easily translates to a hearty salad with a simple balsamic dressing.

salami artichoke and ricotta pasta salad garbage salad recipes
Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Salami, Artichoke And Ricotta Pasta Salad

Not sure what to do with that stick of salami in the fridge? Chop it up for this simple pasta salad with creamy chunks of ricotta and canned artichokes.

butter lettuce salad garbage salad recipes1
Floating Kitchen

Tender Butter Lettuce Salad With Strawberries, Rhubarb, Mango, Cucumbers And Rosé Vinaigrette

Fruit salad meets leafy greens in this light, lunch-ready salad from Coterie member Liz Harris. (Feel free to drink the leftover rosé while you’re cooking.)

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Freelance PureWow Editor