Summertime salads for your swimsuit bod
Check the date! It is officially summer as of June 21. For many of us, that means salad for these sweltering days. Seasonal veggies are becoming more plentiful and sometimes it’s just too hot to cook. I love salads for lunch all summer long and as a healthy side option for dinner a few nights a week no matter what time of year. And if you follow me on social media (@triadfoodies on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter), you know that I can fridge purge for a salad like a boss.
We’ve got you covered for some crisp, colorful, easy and adaptable salads to keep it fresh all summer long. The ingredients and amounts can be varied to your liking. You don’t like red onion? Well, leave it off. But fruit loves to be in salads and something about the red onion with the fruit is very special. Which brings me to our first salad. A favorite, for sure, and great on the side with a simple grilled chicken breast or steak.
Summertime Berry Salad
A handful of your favorite greens (suggested: Spring Mix)
1/2-cup Sliced strawberries
1/2-cup Fresh blueberries
1/4-cup Blue cheese or feta cheese
Chopped red onion, just a sprinkling
A handful of crispy onions (French’s, Fresh Express)
A handful pecans or walnuts
Salt/pepper to taste
Suggested dressing: Balsamic vinaigrette or a simple oil and balsamic vinegar
Fill your salad bowl with greens. Place remaining ingredients on top. Dress and toss just before serving.
Triadfoodies Cobb Salad
The perennial American favorite with the chopped greens, bacon, egg and blue cheese. The Cobb can come with chicken, grilled, buffaloed, blackened, steak (super yum) or on its own. I love it with some avocado thrown in for some healthy fat and a touch of creaminess. But you don’t have to add the avocado. You do you. I’m so into you doing you that I’m not going to give you amounts.
Fill your bowl with chopped Romaine, iceberg, or spinach is a nice touch
Add to it:
Chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved
Chopped or sliced boiled egg
Blue cheese, gorgonzola or Roquefort
Bacon two to three strips, cooked and chopped (not optional)
Salt/Pepper to taste
Add protein of choice if desired.
Evenly divide all the ingredients on top of the greens in a large bowl. A Cobb traditionally is tossed with a red wine vinaigrette but any vinaigrette, a blue cheese dressing or ranch will all be delicious. For maximum deliciousness, try High Point- based Little Black Dressing Company’s “It Takes 3 to Tango.” It’s a wonderful blend of ranch, blue cheese and thousand island. You can find it at local grocers and it’s the perfect dressing for a Cobb.
Smoked Salmon Brunch Salad
This salad is so, so good, like if you’re hungry for brunch things but it’s way later in the day or if you’re just craving a salad. Another truly adaptable salad that you can add fruit to or turn the egg into a fried runny egg. This recipe has all the making of everything you love about lox, capers and all the accouterments. Serve with a toasty bagel, of course. The eggs and salmon don’t have to be seasoned with the Everything Seasoning (found at Trader Joe’s or you can find recipes online that are simple to put together), but the blend of garlic, onion, sesame seeds and salt are so delicious, the blend alone belongs in your spice collection.
Arugula (optional but it’s my favorite for this salad)
Smoked salmon (any variety, filet or sliced, but I love a filet that can flake easily into the salad)
1 Boiled egg, halved or chopped
2 Chopped red onions
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste
Everything But the Bagel Seasoning (found at Trader Joe’s or you can easily make your own)
Dress the greens with the lemon and olive oil, salt and a generous grind of pepper. Top with the salmon, capers and onions. Chop the egg or place alongside the salmon. The photo above has some crispy Brussel sprouts that I was using up. You can add tomato for even more authenticity.
Did you blink and just ask… “Squash salad?” Yes, yes I went there. This salad, inspired by The Glass Onion in Charleston, South Carolina, is like none other. The crispy squash with the pop of mint and crunch or almonds is so interesting and yummy. I promise, once you’ve had it, you’ll make it again and again until there’s no more summer squash. The creamy buttermilk vinaigrette for this salad is the only non-negotiable for today’s salad list. This dressing makes this salad. Also non-negotiable, the real parmesan that you’re finely grating yourself, not the canned stuff. Trust me.
A few leaves of Bibb or butter lettuce, any very tender leaf
2 Zucchini squashes
2 Yellow squashes (it’s fine to use ALL yellow squash here)
1-2 Sprigs of mint leaves, chopped or torn
1/2-cup Slivered or sliced almonds (you can also toast for extra flavor)
1/2-cup Fresh parmesan for grating. Yes, you will need to finely grate it.
Slice the squash very thinly with a mandolin or with a knife to about 1/8-inch thickness. Line a salad bowl with butter lettuce, baby lettuce or baby spinach (just a handful). Top the greens with the sliced squash in a circular, layered pattern. Add almonds and sprinkle the mint around the squash. About 10 minutes before serving, pour the desired amount of dressing onto the salad. You can toss it if you want here, but I don’t bother to. Just before serving, grate the parmesan over the salad. It’s best to cover the whole salad (with an audience) for maximum effect, literally, a cloud of parmesan should cover your salad.
Buttermilk Shallot Vinaigrette Dressing
(serves a salad for 4-6 people):
1-cup Buttermilk or you can use Greek yogurt or Kefir
1 Clove garlic, minced
1/2 Shallot, minced
2-tbs Red wine or white wine vinegar
2-tbs Freshly squeezed lemon juice
A dash hot sauce (I used Texas Pete)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Salt to taste
In a pint mason jar, add ingredients, attach the lid and shake, shake, shake. You can also whisk all the ingredients in a bowl but since I put the dressing in a jar anyway, I just throw it in there. Add more salt or pepper or even hot sauce as necessary. Hopefully, you won’t use it all and can make another salad for another day or use it as a dip. Refrigerate for one to two weeks.
This dressing makes a great base and you can go from there to adding parmesan or Italian herbs for a great creamy Italian if you like. Or add the zest of the lemon to make it more lemony.
Never be afraid to throw together flavors you love into a salad. You’d be surprised what you can put together. And as you can see, the suggested dressings above are just that…suggested. But I truly believe that the dressing can make or break a salad, no matter how great the other components are, so don’t skimp on the yummiest ones you can find or make your own, which is almost always infinitely better.
Now get tossing, crunching and munching.