≡ Menu

Refreshing Summer Salad Ideas

Summer Salad IdeasHere are a few summer salad ideas you can take inspiration from when it just gets too hot to cook. Summer is short, so there’s no time to lose if you are going to take advantage of the abundance of fresh produce available.

Without further ado, let’s start with the perfect hot weather combination: fruit and salad greens.

Nothing like fresh fruit to provide a little sweetness and brighten up mundane salad ingredients.

Watermelon Feta Cheese Salad with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

Sweet watermelon and salty feta cheese make the perfect pair. Combine with peppery fresh arugula, finish with a homemade lime-cilantro vinaigrette, and you’ve got yourself a marriage of flavors that will keep you coming back over and over again.

Watermelon Feta Cheese Salad1 small round seedless watermelon, cut in half, flesh removed
3 ounces feta cheese, cut into evenly sized pieces
3 cups fresh arugula, cleaned and dried

Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, washed, dried and chopped into small pieces
3 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Make the lime-cilantro vinaigrette in advance if at all possible in order to give the flavors a chance to meld. Whisk all ingredients together in a small glass bowl to combine thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Cut watermelon in half; remove and reserve flesh in a glass bowl. Pat the inside of each empty watermelon rind with a paper towel to dry. Set aside to use as serving bowls for the finished salad.

Add feta and washed arugula to a glass bowl along with the watermelon. Top with vinaigrette and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, add watermelon feta mixture to reserved watermelon rinds and garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro. For more than two people, use additional small round watermelons or substitute other serving bowls.

Orange Fennel Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Orange Fennel SaladThis fennel citrus salad combo allows two strong, distinct flavors to shine. Best to keep it simple with the addition of mild romaine lettuce rather than dark salad greens such as peppery arugula – that would be overkill!

Just make sure you prepare the vinaigrette in advance so that the ingredients have a chance to combine properly.

3 blood or navel oranges, cut into thin slices with rind removed
1 bulb fennel, washed, dried and thinly sliced, bottom & green leaves discarded
1 head Romaine or other leafy green lettuce

Citrus Vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup really good extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Whenever adding citrus zest to a recipe, it is best to start with organic ingredients. Also be sure to wash the fruit thoroughly and pat dry. Zest each piece of fruit with a microplane and add the specified amount to the bowl.

TIP: Zest the entire fruit and freeze surplus in a plastic bag for future use or simply collect remaining juice from each piece of fruit and store in ice cube containers along with leftover zest.

Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a glass bowl and whisk together thoroughly to combine. The Dijon mustard will act as an emulsifier to bind the oil and acidic components together.

Arrange the romaine or other lettuce leaves on each plate and top with alternating slices of fennel and orange. Drizzle entire plate with citrus vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Roasted Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Roasted Pear and Blue Cheese SaladStart with the peppery sweet arugula pear salad combo, add smooth creamy blue cheese and finish with a drizzle of rich balsamic glaze – just don’t forget to roast your pears first!

Serves 4

4 cups arugula, washed and dried
4 ounces creamy blue cheese*, divided into small chunks
2 ripe red or green pears, cored and cut into equal-size wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
*such as Italian Gorgonzola or French Saint Agur Triple Cream

Dressing:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons really good extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to serve (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange pear slices on sheet, leaving space in between to prevent overcrowding. Lightly brush each pear slice with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven and roast for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each pear slice. Return to oven and continue roasting until evenly browned and soft, approximately 10–15 minutes. Oven roasting times will vary, so keep an eye on them the first time you make them.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, add one cup of balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the liquid begins to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and continue stirring until liquid is reduced to a third of its original volume. Liquid will become thick and syrupy when it is ready.

To serve, divide arugula, roasted pear slices and blue cheese between four plates. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately with fresh-cracked black pepper and sea salt.

Caprese Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad

We’ve upped the ante on the classic Caprese recipe by using a thicker, richer balsamic glaze instead of the traditional drizzling of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Caprese Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad4 large ripe tomatoes
12 ounces fresh mozzarella (large ball)
1 large bunch fresh basil, washed and dried
3 tablespoons really good extra virgin olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste

Thoroughly wash and pat tomatoes and fresh basil dry. Slice tomatoes into evenly sized pieces, approximately ¼” thick and set aside. Discard bottom and top pieces. Slice fresh mozzarella into ¼” thick pieces as well.

On each plate, start with a tomato slice, followed by mozzarella and a large, fresh basil leaf. Repeat this pattern until you’ve added one tomato and approximately 3 ounces of mozzarella to each plate, finishing each arrangement with a tomato slice. Drizzle with high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

To make the balsamic glaze, heat one cup of good balsamic vinegar over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and, stirring continually, simmer until liquid is reduced to about one third of its original volume. The glaze is ready when the liquid becomes thick and syrupy.

Let the glaze cool before drizzling over your salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with additional sprigs of fresh basil.

Grilled Romaine Lettuce Salad with Roasted Chicken

Grilled Romaine Lettuce Salad with Roasted ChickenWho doesn’t enjoy a classic romaine lettuce salad? Double the pleasure by first grilling your romaine lettuce: simply cut a head of fresh romaine in half and cook on your electric grill for a few minutes… magic happens.

You’ll be surprised at how much such this simple step intensifies the flavors and adds depth to an otherwise basic salad. Don’t have a countertop grill? Follow the directions below and use your oven.

Serves 4

2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed, patted dry, cut in half lengthwise
8 ounces rotisserie chicken breast meat
4 ounces goat cheese
1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
½ cup pecans, chopped

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Set your oven to broil.

Cut the romaine heads in half and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place under pre-heated broiler for a couple of minutes, keeping a close eye on it as lettuce will burn quickly. Remove once the lettuce is a nice, golden brown.

Add all the ingredients for the balsamic vinaigrette together in a glass bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Allow vinaigrette to sit for at least half an hour to give the flavors a chance to meld.

Place one half of browned Romaine head on each plate and top with two ounces of chicken and one ounce of goat cheese. Divide sliced red cabbage and chopped pecans among the four plates. Drizzle each salad with a little of the vinaigrette and serve immediately.sliced red cabbage and chopped pecans among the four plates. Drizzle each salad with a little of the vinaigrette and serve immediately.