Salad Recipes for Diabetics

Diabetic Recipes: Salads

Salads have come a long way from their reputation as the traditional "diet food." Depending on their ingredients, salads are considered a healthy and satisfying main entrée, especially for a diabetic. Building a meal around vegetables and protein can help people with diabetes control their blood sugars.

Keeping Salads Healthy

However you use salads, as an appetizer, main course, or snack, remember to keep portion size in mind, especially if the salad contains pasta or other starches. Use dressings wisely. Regular fat dressings can contain up to 17 grams of fat per tablespoon, whereas low-fat or fat free dressings may contain more sugar and sodium (the flavor has to come from something!). Read the label and ingredient list to make sure you're choosing a low carbohydrate, low fat dressing. Or, make your own dressing, as described in the "Chicken, Spinach, and Fruit Salad" recipe below.

Enhance your salads by adding a serving of nuts (6 almonds, cashews, or mixed nuts, or 10 peanuts), which counts as a fat exchange or 3 ounces of tuna or cubed chicken or turkey for more protein, which counts as 3 very lean meat exchanges.

Three Salad Recipes for Diabetics

Chicken, Spinach, and Fruit Salad


  • 6 ounces fresh spinach
  • 2 oranges, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries


  • 3 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/3 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard


  1. Mix all dressing ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate.
  2. To make salad, wash spinach and tear into bite size pieces. Place in large salad bowl. Add chicken, strawberries, and oranges.
  3. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Serving and Nutrition Information

Makes 7 servings. Per 2 cup serving: Calories 135, Sodium 46 mg, Cholesterol 31 mg, Fat 4 g, Carbohydrates 10 g

Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Fruit, 1 1/2 Lean Meat

Adapted From: "Cooking Healthy and Fast"

Cucumber and Yogurt Salad


  • 3 cucumbers, medium sized 1 cup yogurt, plain, low-fat
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves


  1. Peel cucumbers and cut in half. Discard the seeds and slice cucumbers thin.
  2. In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients together. Add cucumbers and stir.

Serving and Nutrition Information

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: Calories 37, Protein 3 g, Sodium 46 mg, Carbohydrates 1 g

Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Vegetable

Source: "The Diabetic Newsletter"

Pasta Salad


  • 3 cups cooked pasta (such as tricolor spiral pasta, 1 1/2 cups dry)1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Italian or parmesan-pepper dressing


In a large salad bowl, toss together all of the ingredients. Chill one hour to overnight to blend the flavors.

Serving and Nutrition Information

Makes 6 servings. Per 1 cup serving: Calories 165, Protein 9 g, Sodium 355 mg, Cholesterol 10 mg, Fat 4 g, Carbohydrates 22 g

Diabetic Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch, 1 Vegetable, 1/2 Fat

Adapted From: "The New Family Cookbook for People with Diabetes"

Make Salads a Mainstay

As long as you are cautious with the starch, salads are a crucial element of a diabetic diet. Try a variety of salad ingredients and topics to add interest to your menu.

Salad Recipes for Diabetics