Use your favorite greens (try mesclun, arugula, or a mixture) plus drained canned tuna, steamed and chilled green beans, capers, and boiled small potatoes cut in half, and you have an impressive hearty salad that works as a meal. Top it with salt and pepper as well as a combination of lemon, olive oil, and Dijon, and you're set.
On a bed of baby spinach, create rows of color: halved pear tomatoes, chopped orange peppers, corn kernels (raw or grilled), halved sugar snap peas, shredded red cabbage, and chopped hearts of palm or artichokes (found in cans or jars in water). Bonus: When it comes to fruit and vegetables, more color means more antioxidants. Season with salt and pepper and top with a mixture of light ranch and light vinaigrette (sometimes I cheat and use Newman's Own).
I buy roast chicken, remove the skin, and shred the white breast. I top a bed of chopped romaine hearts with the chicken, followed by sliced water chestnuts (buy them in cans for a dollar or two), toasted almond slivers (try Sunkist's Almond Accents Original Oven Roasted flavor, in a handy resealable package), mandarin orange slices, black sesame seeds, cilantro, and a light Asian dressing (if you have time, whip up my favorite marinade recipe).
Use the same hearts of romaine and shredded chicken and add rinsed canned black beans, shredded reduced-fat cheddar, corn kernels, and cilantro and tomatoes, and then finish it off with a light ranch dressing. Now you have a Mexican salad. Serve with a Skinny Girls Margarita and some baked tortilla chips as croutons, and you will impress with very little effort.
These are just ideas, of course; use what you have and what you love. Start to look around your kitchenand the produce section of your supermarketand think about what ingredients would work well on top of a bed of greens. (That's what's great about salads...it's very difficult to mess up when combining ingredients!)