• Beretta Fleur

7 Easy Summer Salads

Updated: Oct 5



Salads are an easy way to make sure you eat your veggies (and grains, and protein). The varying textures, flavors and colors in salad involve your senses, allowing you to enjoy your meal as an experience, helping you to feel fuller longer. Here are seven easy summer salads that will fuel your workday at lunchtime or beat the heat for a cool evening meal.


Pro tip: Since salads take some prep work, choose a few of the salads below, and shop and prep the ingredients at the beginning of your week. Then, compile your salads as instructed in under 5 minutes at mealtime or when packing your lunch. (Dress delicate salad greens only when about to enjoy, to avoid wilting.) Many of these salads share some of the same ingredients, which helps cut down on food waste and expense.


xo,

Beretta


photo: lundberg.com

Quinoa Cilantro Salad

This is a delicious salad recipe I've seen in variations all over the Southwest. This recipe I'm sharing features creamy cool cilantro yogurt dressing to complement the zest of red onion and the nuttiness of tri-color quinoa. This salad is hearty enough for an evening meal, especially when chicken is added.


Makes 4 servings - adapted from Lundberg.com

2 C tri-color quinoa (I love Lundberg brand)

1/2 C canned sweet corn

1/2 C diced red pepper

1/4 C fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 C black beans

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 avocado, diced

1/2 C spring mix or your favorite leafy green per serving

Optional: 1/4 C cubed grilled chicken* per serving


Salad Prep:

Boil 2 2/3 C water, then add 2 cups rinsed quinoa. Cook 17 minutes, then steam, covered, for 5. Fluff with fork. While your quinoa is cooking, drain corn and beans. Dice avocado, red peppers, and onion. Chop your cilantro, and make Cilantro Yogurt Dressing*. If you want to add cubed grilled chicken, you can also grill it now. When it is diced, set it in fridge to chill.


Compile Salad:

Combine corn, red pepper, beans, avocado with quinoa. Stir in Cilantro Yogurt dressing and mix well until evenly coated. Chill in fridge at least 1 hour, or overnight.


When ready to eat, serve on a bed of your favorite greens with grilled chicken.


*Cilantro Yogurt Salad dressing:

1/2 C plain greek yogurt

2 tsp lemon or lime juice

1/2 C cilantro leaves

1 tsp minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

If you like, add 1 Tbsp mayonnaise for a slightly creamier flavor.

Pulse in food processor, store in fridge up to 5 days.


*Cubed Grilled Chicken:

1 thin chicken breast will yield about 1/2 cup cubed grilled chicken.

2 Thin chicken breasts

1 tsp Herbs de Provence

1/2 tsp ea Pink Salt, fresh ground pepper


2 tbsp olive oil

Take chicken from fridge and let stand 10 minutes. Heat grill OR lightly oil a heavy pan or grill pan and heat over medium heat for two minutes. If chicken breasts are especially large, slice lengthwise into cutlets for even cooking. Gently lay chicken breasts in hot pan or on grill, and sprinkle with seasoning. Cook 4 minutes, then flip and cook another 4, until internal temperature reaches 165 F. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting into cubes. Chill for at least 1 hour for best use for salads.



Beet Salad

Stay with me - pickled beets are the salad ingredient you didn't know you were missing.

Besides being yummy, beets give a nice dose of antioxidants and probiotics, which your body will thank you for! Pickled beets can be high in sugar, so eat this salad on days you need the energy boost. Spicy radishes and creamy goat cheese balance the sweetness of firm beets and crunchy walnuts. If you can find watermelon radishes, they up the beauty factor of this salad presentation.


Makes 4 servings

2 C diced pickled beets (you can use red, yellow or a pretty combo of both)

4 C spring mix

1/2 red onion

4 - 6 radishes or watermelon radishes

4 - 6 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese

4 Tbsp crushed walnuts

2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette or pomegranate vinaigrette (see Watermelon Salad for recipe)

Optional: 1/4 C cubed grilled chicken* per serving


Salad Prep: Slice onion and radishes. Dice beets, and toss beets with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette to marinate the flavors together. Store in fridge until ready to eat. Cook chicken, if using.


Compile Salad:

Combine beets with other salad ingredients and top with desired amount of vinaigrette.

photo: ella s., pixabay

Curried Egg Salad

I've been making this salad for years. There's something magical about curry and eggs, showcased here with fresh summer tomatoes. Red onion gives it a bite, but you can add milder diced green onion, if you like.


Makes 4 servings

4 hard boiled eggs

3 Tbsp mayonnaise (I love Duke's)

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

1/4 red onion, diced or 2 Tbsp minced green onion

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ea pink salt and fresh ground pepper

1 Roma or plum tomato, sliced

1 C arugula or spring mix

Optional: potato sandwich roll


Salad Prep:

To hard boil eggs, boil water, then gently place eggs in pot with tongs. Turn off heat. Cover and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. (This method prevents green yolks.) Drain and place in ice water bath for easier peeling. Peel eggs, then dice.


Combine mayo with diced egg, mustard, salt, pepper and curry powder. Stir until evenly coated. Chill in fridge at least 1 hour, but it gets more delicious as flavors are able to marry. Overnight is best.


Compile Salad:

Eat this salad alone or on a bed of arugula or spring mix with sliced tomatoes; if you're feeling the carbs vibes, it also makes a delicious sandwich on a potato roll.



Fruity Green Salad

The classic greens salad is an old standby, however, I add a fruity twist with cranberries and crunchy apples; the unexpected green note of basil is also lovely. I eat this salad dressed with honey mustard or a plain balsamic vinaigrette. Add cubed grilled chicken for a heartier salad.


Makes 4 servings

4 -6 C spring mix or romaine

1/2 C shredded cabbage

1/4 C shredded carrots

1/4 C sprouts or microgreens

6-8 basil leaves

1/2 red onion, sliced

6-8 Tbsp crumbled goat or blue cheese

3-4 radishes, sliced

4-5 button mushrooms, sliced

1/2 avocado, diced

2 hard boiled eggs, diced

1/2 a green or gala apple, diced

4 Tbsp dried cranberries

Optional: 1/4 C cubed grilled chicken* per serving


Salad Prep:

See Quinoa Cilantro and Egg Salad recipes for instructions on cooking eggs and chicken. Slice, dice and chill veggies (except the avocado), apple, eggs and chicken.


Compile Salad:

When ready to eat, chiffonade basil leaves: stack and gently roll dry basil leaves, then thinly slice with a very sharp knife to create pretty ribbons. Dice the avocado and combine all ingredients, then dress as desired.


photo: lina luoto

Classic Greek Salad

Greek salad is a favorite of mine to enjoy in the summer heat - the combination of zingy red wine vinegar, earthy oregano, briny olives, creamy feta and lush tomatoes is the pinnacle of simple food done well. This recipe is adapted from a restaurant where I waitressed.


Makes 4 servings

3 Roma or plum tomatoes, diced

1/2 red onion

1 cucumber

1/2 C drained, pitted Kalamata olives

6 - 8 Tbsp feta cheese crumbles

Optional: 1/4 C cubed grilled chicken* per serving


Red Wine Vinegar Salad Dressing:

1/2 C red wine vinegar

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

Dash of lemon juice

2 Tbsp dried oregano (true Greek oregano is best here)

1/2 tsp each pink salt and fresh ground pepper


Salad Prep:

Compile dressing. Thinly slice red onion. Cut cucumber lengthwise in half, then thinly slice each half. Cut tomatoes into small wedges. See Quinoa Cilantro Salad recipe for instructions on cooking chicken, if adding.


Compile Salad:

When ready to eat, combine all ingredients with dressing and toss until well-coated.



Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad

I found this salad online when planning a coworker's birthday; this is a big hit for a refreshing and light summer party salad. The dressing is a recipe I wrangled from a chef in Austin, which he served on a burrata salad.


Makes 4 Servings

4 C diced seedless watermelon (about one medium size whole melon)

1/2 C feta cheese crumbles

7-10 large mint leaves, or 1/4 C chopped fresh mint

Balsamic - pomegranate dressing


Balsamic - Pomegranate dressing

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup pomegranate juice

2 Tbsp molasses or honey

Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Reduce for 15 minutes, stirring often. If this thickens too quickly, add a splash or two more juice.


Salad Prep: Make dressing, and cube watermelon if needed. Both can be stored in fridge for a few days. Pro tip: You can also grill the watermelon (sliced) for an added smoky char flavor.


Compile Salad:

If mint leaves are large, you can chiffonade: stack and gently roll dry mint leaves, then thinly slice with a very sharp knife to create pretty ribbons. Otherwise, chop finely. Combine watermelon and top with feta and mint, mixing gently. Drizzle with dressing and serve.



Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

Grilled chicken, pomegranate seeds, and goat cheese make this a satisfying salad for lunch or dinner, or scale it down in size / omit the chicken for a solid first course at dinner.


Makes 4 Servings

4 cups spinach

1 C goat cheese crumbles

4 Tbsp pomegranate seeds

Optional: 1/4 C cubed grilled chicken* per serving

Balsamic - pomegranate dressing


Salad Prep:

See Watermelon Salad recipe for dressing.

Combine all ingredients and enjoy!



photo: ponyo sakana

Seared Ahi Tuna Salad

Technically this could be more of a bowl than a salad, but since it encompasses some of the ingredients from other salads, I thought I'd share. Searing ahi tuna sounds more intimidating than it is, and once you master this, you will want seared ahi tuna on the regular. You can enjoy it in under 10 minutes. Tuna should be carefully selected and stored, kept frozen until ready to cook, safely handled, then consumed within 24 hours. (Read more on the safe food handling, consumption and selection of seafood here .) If tuna isn't your jam or you're nervous about undercooked seafood, sub out seared or pan-roasted salmon instead.


Makes 2 servings

1 C cooked tri-color quinoa, chilled

1 loin ahi tuna OR 6 oz skinless salmon filet

6- 8 Tbsp Cilantro Yogurt Dressing

1 C arugula

1 avocado, diced

2 Tbsp sesame seeds (option to toast these)

2 Tbsp minced green onion or sliced mini red bell pepper


Fish marinade:

1 Tbsp ea soy sauce and sesame oil

1 tsp ea Coarse sea salt, and fresh ground pepper


Salad Prep:

See Quinoa Cilantro Salad recipe for instructions on cooking quinoa and making Cilantro Yogurt dressing. Chill quinoa for at least 1 hour. If you want to toast your sesame seeds for a nuttier flavor profile, pour a bit of oil into a pan and toast seeds over medium-low heat until lightly browned. Careful, they burn quickly!


To sear ahi tuna: Marinate thawed ahi tuna loin for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then, heat a heavy pan over medium/high heat and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add ahi tuna steak to pan and sear for 30 seconds to 2 minutes on each side. Let rest 3 minutes before dicing into cubes. Chill for at least 1 hour.


If roasting salmon: Follow above instructions, but roast 4 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature reaches 145 F.


Compile Salad:

When ready to eat your ahi tuna salad bowl, combine quinoa with dressing and coat evenly. Top with diced ahi tuna, diced avocado, onion/pepper and seeds/ arugula. Add more dressing if desired, and enjoy.


Meet Beretta Fleur

Beretta Fleur is a podcaster and digital content creator.   Read More

 

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