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50 Healthy Summer Salads and Five Tips for Creating the Perfect Salad

Healthy Summer Salads Roundup Collage

I could eat a salad for lunch and dinner every day. Salads are super versatile and with summer here, your options are endless with all of those beautiful fresh fruits and veggies in our markets and farm stands. When the heat of the day has the best of you, salad for dinner sounds a lot more inviting than a hot and heavy meal. Most salads can be assembled earlier in the day, so all you have to do is pull them out of the fridge for dinner. Then, any leftovers can be packed up for lunches the next day.

I consider myself really fortunate to have some awesome food bloggers as a resource! They’ve graciously provided links to their favorite healthy summer salads. The variety is incredible. There is something for everyone here!
 
 

Veggie Salads

Shaved Broccoli Salad

Shaved Broccoli Salad

 
Ranch Salad Dressing from Taste Love & Nourish
Sesame Crusted Tofu Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing from Savory Simple
Sweet and Spicy Slaw from An Edible Mosaic
Caprese Salad from Poet in the Pantry
German Cucumber Salad from The Culinary Life
Heirloom Tomatoes Caprese Salad from The Culinary Life
Open Faced Shaved Beet Sandwiches from Farm Fresh Feasts
Pickled Beet Goat Cheese Arugula Salad with Beet Vinaigrette from Once a Month Mom
Local Produce on the Grill from Cooking in Stilettos
Sweet Corn Guacamole from Tikkido
Grilled Romaine Salad from The Creekside Cook
Summer Corn Salad from What’s Cooking Chicago?
Cucumber and Tomato Summer Salad from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Grandpa’s Greek Salad from Mother Would Know
Composed Fennel Salad with Mushrooms and Parmesan from Mother Would Know
Green Bean Tomato Herb Salad from Mother Would Know
Potato Salad from Mother Would Know
Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado Tomato and Lime from Liv Life
Wildflower Salad from Masala Herb
Modern Greek Salad from The Mom 100
Japanese Restaurant Salad Dressing from The Mom 100
 
 

Grains, Beans and Pasta Salads

Red Quinoa and Mango Salad

Red Quinoa and Mango Salad

 

Harvest Grains and Veggie Salad from Taste Love & Nourish
Beluga Lentil Salad with Hearts of Palm and Avocado from Taste Love & Nourish
Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette from A Zesty Bite
Curried Quinoa Salad from The Culinary Life
Ten Minute Chickpea Salad with Feta and Basil from Shockingly Delicious
Quinoa Tabbouleh from Cooking in Stilettos
Chickpea Cucumber and Tomato Salad from nestMeg
Broccoli and Quinoa Salad with Asian Vinaigrette from Overtime Cook
Sensational Summer Pasta Salad from This Mama Cooks
 
 

Salads with Summer Fruits

Baby Kale with Strawberry and Avocado

Baby Kale Salad with Strawberry and Avocado

Mandarin Beet Salad with Mandarin Poppyseed Dressing from Taste Love & Nourish
Kale and Pear Salad from Taste Love & Nourish
Peach and Basil Salsa from Rock Recipes
Summer Fruity Romaine Salad with Sweet Onion Poppy Seed Vinaigrette from Once a Month Mom
Chicken and Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Dressing & Walnuts from Cravings of a Lunatic
Summer Salad (Fruit and Veggies!) from Dizzy Busy and Hungry!
Berry Almond Salad with Chia Seed Vinaigrette from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
Endive Salad with Fruits from Chile from the Hungry Goddess
California Quinoa Strawberry Salad from Liv Life
 
 

Salads with Seafood, Chicken or Beef

Tropical Crab Salad

Tropical Crab Salad

Curried Chicken Waldorf Salad from Taste Love & Nourish
Mediterranean Chopped Salad with Seared Scallops from Taste Love & Nourish
Bonnie Powell’s Easy Chicken Salad Recipe from The Culinary Life
Smoked Trout Arugula Salad with Grapes and Blueberries from Shockingly Delicious
Chickpea, Quinoa Salad with Anchovies from Kopiaste
Maple-Glazed Salmon Salad from All Day I Dream About Food
Lobster Roll Salad from Willow Bird Baking
 
 

5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Salad

  • After chopping your greens, soak them in your salad spinner with cold water while you chop the other ingredients.  They’ll perk up and become nice and crisp.  Drain and spin when you’re ready to assemble.
  • Make your own dressing, (it’s easier than you think) and make twice as much as you think you need.  You’ll have plenty to use the rest of the week.  Just store it in a jar with a tight fitting lid in the fridge.
  • When making dressings, go bolder than you think you need to.  Once dressing combines with your greens and other ingredients, the flavors can get a bit “diluted”.
  • When washing and chopping greens, prepare enough for a few meals.  Store washed greens in a container lined with a sheet of paper towel.  Pop the lid on and it’ll be fresh for a few days.
  • When creating new salads, think of combining different colors, textures and flavors.  Summer is a great time to find all sorts of colorful veggies and fruits.  Make it pretty!  Try to add something crunchy (like nuts or broken pita chips), something creamy (how about crumbled goat cheese or bits of avocado?),  and something crispy (try using different types of lettuces).  I also like to combine bits of sweet and salty too.  With all of these elements in one bowl, a salad can become the most satisfying meal!

Empty Plate
 

Beluga Lentil Salad with Hearts of Palm and Avocado

Beluga Lentil Salad with Hearts of Palm and Avocado
Beluga Lentil Salad with Hearts of Palm and Avocado

My son commented the other day that I’m kind of like those women who obsessively buy shoes, except, I buy food. I just looked at him blankly and said…nothing. Nope, no comeback for that one. Because that boy, apparently, is more perceptive than I’ve given him credit for. I do need to work on my shopping skills. I just get so excited by fresh, beautiful produce, seafood, meats and cheeses. Or, new and unusual things I’ve never cooked or tasted before. That’s how these lentils made their way into my pantry. I love lentils and have cooked the brown, green and red variety, but when I saw these beautiful black little beads, I couldn’t resist. These Beluga or Black lentils are tiny and cook up pretty quickly. Unfortunately, they do lose some of their color in the cooking water, but they hold their shape quite well.

Lentils are so good for you. They are low in calories and high in fiber, B vitamins, iron and protein. Those nutrients make them a perfect grain to use for a hearty salad. Salads like this can be a complete meal; they are so satisfying! I knew I’d want to use these this way. I wanted the color of the vegetables to pop off of the dark grains.

I’ve used another unusual ingredient, hearts of palm. They are the inner core of the cabbage palm tree. I love them. Their taste is similar to artichoke, but they are long and tender. Along with the avocado, they add a real richness to this salad, but you can most certainly leave them out if you don’t want to use them. Add any your favorite vegetables to this. The tangy dressing will bring it all together.

 

Beluga Lentil Salad with Hearts of Palm and Avocado-2
Beluga or Black Lentils

 

Beluga Lentil Salad with Hearts of Palm and Avocado

Dressing
3 T. red wine vinegar
2 t. whole grain mustard (Dijon is great too)
1/8 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. cumin
1/2 t. fine sea salt
1/4 t. black pepper
3 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 C. black lentils, rinsed and sorted
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 14 oz. can whole hearts of palm, diced
1 avocado, diced and tossed with 1 T. lemon juice
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, diced
3 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients until combined. Set aside.

Bring 3 cups of water and the lentils to a boil in a medium pot. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until tender. Drain, rinse quickly with cold water.

Combine all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl, toss gently with the dressing to combine. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

 

Beluga Lentil Salad with Hearts of Palm and Avocado-3