12 healthy Indian salads for weight loss

Weight Loss
Coach Shivani
September 30,2022

When you think about weight loss, one of the first things you think is that you will have to eat a lot of salads. That is certainly not the case. You can build a weight loss diet without many salads using an Indian weight loss diet.

But it should be said that salads are a great way to add more vegetables and reduce calorie intake to help with your weight loss.

Salads need not be bland and boring. In this article, we will show you how to create simple but delicious Indian salads for weight loss, as well as ideas to make many more flavorful salads, using vegetables easily available in India.

Why salads are good for weight loss

An essential part of any weight loss diet is a balance of the main food groups – carbohydrates, protein and vegetables.

Vegetables play a crucial role because they help you feel full with their water and fiber content.

In addition, eating a good amount of vegetables gives your body important vitamins and minerals that are needed to promote good health and kickstart fat-burning.

And vegetables do all of this while containing very little in terms of calories.

Let’s look at the ways in which you can include vegetable salads for weight loss.

The formula for delicious and healthy salads for weight loss

The best way to create salads for weight loss is to follow this simple 5-step formula. You will find that you will never get bored and be able to create unlimited combinations too. Here it is.

Step 1: Pick a leafy green base

This could be any type of lettuce or baby spinach, which are the easiest available leafy greens in India. All you need to do is wash them well and they are ready to be used in your salad. If you prefer, you can steam the spinach or the greens lightly.

Step 2: Add 2 or more raw or cooked vegetables

Here are some examples of raw foods you can add:

  • Tomato
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Capsicum: red, green, yellow
  • Beetroot
  • Zucchini

For cooked vegetables, you can pick from options like:

  • Beetroot
  • Yellow pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Carrot

You can experiment with a variety of local and seasonal vegetables, according to your taste and preference. You can pick between steaming, grilling or roasting the vegetables. For example, you will see below that we have mentioned salad options with both steamed and roasted beetroot, which have very different flavours.

Step 3: Add protein

This is an important step. A high-protein food is a must in any salad because it will make it filling. Without this, you will not find the salad satisfying and end up getting hungry soon.

Here are some options for a high-protein food:

  • Paneer or tofu cubes
  • Cheese (such as cheddar, feta or mozzarella)
  • Boiled soya bean
  • Boiled chickpea
  • Boiled rajma

If you eat eggs, you can add boiled eggs too. For non-vegetarians, options such as grilled chicken or shrimp can add body to the salad.

Step 4: Add some crunch

Texture of a salad makes a big difference to taste. So adding a crunch factor will make the salad taste much better. This can be nuts or some seeds. For example:

  • Roasted almonds (badam)
  • Pista
  • Broken walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Bread croutons

Step 5: A tasty dressing

A good dressing is everything when it comes to making a tasty salad. But this does not mean adding a lot of fat like mayonnaise or cream. You can use a combination of simple ingredients to make a quick and tasty salad dressing.

A good dressing can simply be a healthy oil + herbs + spices. In addition, a dash of flavour from lemon, vinegar, citrus zest or even soy sauce can make a big difference!

A healthy oil like extra virgin olive oil is a perfect choice for salad dressings.

You can add herbs & spices to it like minced ginger and/or garlic, cumin, mint, parsley, pepper, chilli flakes/ paprika etc.

If you want to make life a little easier, you can also use store bought varieties. Nowadays, many simple dressings are available which do not have too many added ingredients like creams, additives and preservatives. We have a listed a few options below with the Amazon links:

Chutneys like pudina & dhaniya chutney can also be used as a dressing for an Indian twist.

If you would like to use olive oil as a base, you can buy readymade herb mixes to try out your own dressings. Here are some examples with Amazon links:

Bonus step: Add some fruit

This may come as a surprise, but fruits can be a great addition to salads. Here are some examples you can try:

  • Chopped apple
  • Cut orange
  • Pomegranate
  • Sliced pear

Let’s look at some recipe ideas based on the above formula for a tasty and healthy weight loss salad.

Healthy salads for weight loss

Spicy chickpea salad

This is a tasty option among Indian salads for weight loss.

Spiced chickpea salad

  • Wash and place a bed of baby spinach or rocket leaves on a plate.
  • Soak chickpeas overnight and boil in salted water. Drain.
  • Finely chop red cabbage, onion (optional), fresh coriander. Grate some carrot and mix with the other vegetables.
  • For the dressing, mix extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, cumin powder, chaat masala, black pepper and a dash of red chilli flakes.
  • Toss the drained chickpeas, vegetables and dressing together and mix well. Adjust salt to taste.
  • Serve on the greens, with a spoon of Greek yogurt (optional).

Cherry tomato & goats cheese salad

Mixed greens with black olives, cherry tomatoes, goat’s cheese, bell pepper and red onion.

Cherry tomato & goats cheese salad

A very simple salad to put together but very flavourful!

  • Wash mixed greens/ lettuce leaves and place in a bowl.
  • Halve cherry tomatoes, slice red onion and bell peppers of different colours.
  • For the dressing, whisk together extra virgin olive oil with lemon juice or white wine vinegar, dried Italian herb mix (oregano, thyme, etc), salt and pepper. Optional- Add minced garlic in the dressing.
  • Toss everything together along with sliced olives, fresh basil leaves (if available) and cubed goat’s cheese. Use feta if goat’s cheese is not available.

Spicy cucumber salad

     Spicy cucumber salad

This one goes very well with Indian dishes and is a great way to get your vegetables by serving alongside a channa or rajma sabzi and a small portion of rice or roti. If having it on its own, you can toss in some lightly toasted or grilled paneer for protein.

  • Chop cucumber, tomatoes, onion, green capsicum and fresh coriander.
  • Squeeze in lime juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Mix well and serve.

Bean salad

    Bean salad

  • Soak kidney beans (or any other legume, or a mix) overnight. Boil until soft.
  • Chop baby spinach or fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onion (optional). You can also add cucumber.
  • Slice avocado.
  • Add steamed corn and mix in the cooked kidney beans too. Add chopped fresh green chilli for a extra spicy kick.
  • For the dressing, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, minced garlic (optional), salt and black pepper.
  • Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.

Buddha bowl salad

 Buddha bowl of mixed vegetables and tofu

Pick your choice of vegetables (either raw or cooked) and it quickly comes together. You can use leftovers to come up with interesting combinations too.

  • Lightly sauté vegetables like spinach, mushroom. Grill/ roast vegetables like zucchini and pumpkin.
  • Shred/ chop carrot, red cabbage, red capsicum and any fresh lettuce you have on hand (you can have these raw to make it crunchy).
  • Toss tofu lightly in cornflour and grill with salt and pepper.
  • Place them in a bowl along with beansprouts and sliced avocado if available.
  • For the dressing, whisk together extra virgin oil, lime juice, garlic, a teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds/ sunflower seeds/ slivered almonds. You can use chilli oil or add some red chilli flakes if you like it spicy.
  • Drizzle over the salad and serve topped with a few walnuts for extra crunchiness.

Beetroot & chickpea salad

Healthy Beet Salad with chickpeas, pistachios nuts, feta cheese

This make-ahead salad can be stored and served cold too. Set aside the coriander and pistachios and add just before serving.

  • Cut steamed/ boiled beetroot into cubes.
  • Place on a bed of fresh green lettuce, along with cooked and drained chickpeas which adds body to the salad, and cubed or crumbled feta cheese for more protein.
  • Add a few pistachio nuts for crunch, and sprinkle coriander on top.
  • For the dressing, whisk extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, a dash of orange juice and orange zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over and serve!

Roast vegetable salad

Roast beetroot, sweet potato, carrots and serve on a base of lettuce. Top with some paneer or boiled chickpeas.

This easy roast vegetable salad just takes a few minutes to prep and you can then toss it in the oven to roast.

  • Cube vegetables like beetroot, sweet potato, carrots and orange pumpkin into similar size pieces. Toss them all together in a roasting pan along with a few pods of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, red chilli flakes and mixed dried herbs.
  • Place in a preheated oven and roast until done and golden brown around the edges.
  • Serve on a bed of lettuce, and add your preferred choice of protein such as grilled paneer or cheese, or you can even toss in some cooked chickpeas along with the vegetables in the oven, towards the end.

Italian salad

Italian salad: lettuce, cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion, feta cheese and olives.

  • It’s all in the dressing. Whisk together extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried Italian herb mix, minced garlic, a dash of Dijon mustard, along with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simply toss together all the ingredients, along with the dressing and serve fresh.

Green beans & almond salad

Green beans & almond salad

  • Cook the green beans in a little water, until tender.
  • Toast the almonds in a pan until crisp and set aside to cool.
  • Whisk together toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, minced ginger and garlic, and a little tamari (or soy sauce, if tamari is not available), and toss with the green beans and almonds. Add red chilli flakes too if you like it spicy.
  • Serve warm. You can add toasted tofu cubes for a protein hit.

Quinoa & mushroom salad

Quinoa, mushrooms, lettuce, red cabbage, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes

Another Buddha bowl-style salad to give you an idea of how to put them together.

  • Cook quinoa in water (like cooking rice).
  • In a bowl, place cooked quinoa, boiled chickpeas, toasted mushroom, along with other fresh vegetables as mentioned above.
  • Add your choice of dressing like a lemon-olive oil dressing, a tahini or sesame dressing, or a balsamic vinegar-olive oil-mustard dressing. Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste in the dressing.

Watermelon salad

Watermelon, mint, feta and cucumber.

A refreshing summer salad, it keeps you hydrated too. The salty-sweet combination can be unusual but also delicious.

  • Cut watermelon into cubes. Slice cucumber (remove seeds if there are many). Place both together in a bowl along with chopped mint leaves.
  • Whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Toss everything together, sprinkling feta cheese on top.

Egg & cucumber salad

Egg & cucumber salad

  • Toss together chopped fresh vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, carrot, bell peppers, tomato.
  • Hard boil eggs, slice and add to the salad.
  • For the dressing, a simple vinaigrette (extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper) works well.

3 tips to prepare healthy salads for weight loss

Tip 1: Use dressings in small quantities only

Salads are healthy but one sure way to turn them into calorie bombs is by using a lot of high-fat dressings. Use small amounts of dressing only.

Up to 1 tablespoon of dressing per person is a guideline you can use.

If you are using store bought dressings, read the ingredients carefully for added salt, sugar and mayonnaise. These should be avoided. What you want is olive or other oil, vinegar, herbs and spices.

Salad dressing

The same applies to toppings like nuts & seeds. Sprinkle some on top for crunch. Not a handful.

Tip 2: Swap leafy greens for other vegetables

If you cannot get good quality greens, you can use other vegetables instead. Local Indian vegetables like cucumber, capsicum and tomato can be used heavily in salads. They are local, fresh and tasty which make any salad a tasty dish to look forward to.

Tip 3: Experiment with different combinations

Use the 5 steps we have outlined above and experiment with different combinations. This will ensure you don’t get bored of eating salads and can include the ingredients you really like.


Salads are a great way to get enough vegetables in your diet. Use the 5-step formula to create a variety of simple and tasty salads. This will keep your diet interesting and help you in a big way with your weight loss.

The Daily9 weight loss program

If you are reading this, we know that weight loss is a high priority for you. We also know that there are many programs out there offering you quick weight loss. Sadly, in almost all those cases, the weight that you lose comes right back. This is disappointing and frustrating. We want to help you break this cycle.

At Daily9 our focus is helping you achieve weight loss in a way that lasts. Without doing anything extreme and by sticking to the Indian way of eating. You will see that in the salad options above, we have provided a mix of Indian and multi-cuisine options, including possibilities of eating out occasionally. This is a more practical approach because many of us do eat out or order in. In our program we recognize this fact, and so aim to help you make better choices while also enjoying it. This makes Daily9 easy to follow in the long run and helps you with both weight loss and weight maintenance.

We’ve worked with thousands of Indian men and women and understand the unique challenges they face when trying to lose weight or find a weight loss diet plan. You can see some of our success stories  here. The Daily9 system is proven to work with weight loss and also many health conditions that Indian men and women face like digestive issues, diabetes, PCOS, thyroid, fatty liver and joint problems from excess weight.

Most importantly, the Daily9 weight loss diet plan is practical and suits an Indian family environment.

If you’re looking for a scientific and practical approach to weight loss, take a look at theDaily9 coaching program. It’s the only program that helps with weight loss and weight maintenance.

About the Author

Coach Shivani
Shivani is a Precision Nutrition-Certified Nutrition Coach with experience of coaching thousands of women. As a mom of two, Shivani knows what it takes for women to achieve weight loss & a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise & sleep habits. She dislikes one-size-fits-all type advice.

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