The Best Soup & Salad Pairings

By: Victoria Seaver, M.S., R.D., C.D., Digital Meal Plan Editor

The Best Soup & Salad Pairings

Soup and salad are the yin and yang of menu planning. They balance each other's complementary features—hot, cold, crunchy, creamy—for the perfect combination meal. Another great reason for pairing salad with your soup? It boosts your veggie servings (recent studies show most of us are not eating enough vegetables). Complement a bold soup with a simple salad dressed with vinaigrette or pair a basic soup with a more complex salad topped with fruit, nuts and cheese. Enjoy these perfectly matched soup-and-salad combinations. Veggies served alongside a healthy bowl of soup-a win-win!

Watch: How to Make Massaged Kale Salad


1. Bold + Bright

Radish, Watercress & Arugula Salad with Feta Vinaigrette

Quick Tomato Soup

Sweet, rich-flavored Marcona almonds and salty feta cheese balance the flavor of the peppery greens and radishes in this arugula salad recipe. The simple tomato soup pairs perfectly with the peppery-tasting radishes, watercress and arugula in the salad. Make a double batch and freeze the extra soup for rainy-day emergencies.


2. Acidic + Earthy

Massaged Kale Salad

White Bean Soup

Here a pungent garlicky dressing is infused into kale by massaging the greens and the dressing together with your hands. Any type of kale will work in this kale salad recipe, just remember to remove the tough stems before you start. A simple, wholesome bean stew like our White Bean Soup is the perfect match for the garlicky raw kale salad.


3. Sweet + Spicy

Apple & Fennel Salad with Blue Cheese

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Apples and blue cheese are a heavenly combo in this fennel and apple salad recipe dressed with a tangy cider-vinegar dressing. The sweet, salty, crunchy combination of the salad is a particularly good match with this spicy squash soup. The silky-smooth butternut soup gets a hit of spice from chipotle, cloves and cumin.


4. Simple + Complex

Simple Green Salad with Citronette

Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup with Ham

Frisée and radicchio are both assertive, slightly bitter greens that add color and texture to any salad. Match them with mellower-flavored greens, such as red leaf lettuce, baby spinach or even Boston lettuce, to balance out the salad. Drizzled with the citrus-Dijon dressing, this simple salad pairs perfectly with a more complex soup, like the Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup with Ham. This split pea soup has fresh ginger to give it a bright flavor and the ham complements the mustardy dressing nicely. Use the best ham you can find to get the most flavor.


5. Asian Inspired

Spinach Salad with Ginger Japanese Dressing

Shiitake & Noodle Hot & Sour Soup

This spinach salad tossed with spunky ginger dressing has a nice balance of sweet and savory flavors and pairs well with Asian and Indian-inspired soups. The Shiitake & Noodle Hot & Sour Soup is chock-full of tofu and vegetables, plus noodles to make it hearty enough for dinner. Dried mushrooms rehydrate during the cooking process, giving the broth a deep umami flavor.


6. Mediterranean

Bitter Greens Salad with Aged Balsamic, Pine Nuts & Currants

Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto

An update to the traditional steakhouse wedge salad, this salad features a colorful combination of escarole, endive and radicchio, along with currants, pine nuts and Parmesan. The flavor combination goes well with Mediterranean-style soups like fragrant, Italian-inspired Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto. It features a simple homemade basil pesto swirled in at the end to add a fresh herb flavor.


7. Loud + Mellow

Blue Cheese & Spinach Salad

Potato-Leek Bisque

This blue cheese, corn and spinach salad recipe is delicious tossed with a warm bacon-spiked tomato vinaigrette. We love a full-flavored blue cheese like Maytag, but a milder blue cheese also goes well. This robust salad goes best with creamy soups like the Potato-Leek Bisque. It's hard to believe how rich and creamy the soup is even though there's not a drop of cream in it. Croutons topped with anchovy, olives and leek are a crunchy, savory foil to the soup.

Related: Soup's On! Everything You Need to Make the Best Healthy Soup

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