Summer salads are a surefire way to keep things deliciously light during the warmer months. The best ones incorporate seasonal ingredients that when combined pack in loads of nutrition and health, and don’t take a whole lot of time to whip up. With loads of vibrant colors and textures summer salads keep your palette engaged and can even capture a memory of a perfect summer moment shared with the people we love. Sure, we’ve talked about grilling, and we’ve talked about foods that will help you keep cool, but let’s make a little room for some of the best summer salads out there.
Faro, Cherry & Walnut Salad (via cookinglight.com)
Faro is an exceptional grain with a light flavor that blends perfectly with both the sweet and savory. If you have trouble finding faro, quinoa is an acceptable substitute.
- 5 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked farro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 pound sweet cherries, pitted and halved (about 2 cups)
- 2/3 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1. Bring 5 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add farro and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boiling water; cook 15 minutes or until al dente. Drain; cool at room temperature 15 minutes. Combine farro, cherries, celery, walnuts, and parsley in a large bowl.
- 2. Combine lemon juice, mustard, honey, pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Pour dressing over farro mixture; toss to coat.
Mexican Caprese Salad (via foodnetwork.com)
Olives, tomatoes, and chiles arboles combine in this flavorful savory salad. Yet the real star of this recipe is the traditional Mexican cotija cheese. If you can’t find the real stuff, feta works just as well.
- 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 chile de arbol (with seeds) torn into very small pieces or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes* see Cook’s Note
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup pitted and halved black kalamata olives
- 3/4 cup pitted and halved green olives
- 3/4 cup halved assorted colored cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8 ounces Mexican Cotija cheese, cubed
In a small, dry skillet, toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, chile, and pine nuts over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer the dressing to a serving bowl and whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Add the olives, tomatoes, cilantro and cheese. Toss gently to combine and serve.
Salmon Salad with Honey Mustard Vinagrette (via annies-eats.com)
We had to throw this in here for those of you wanting a non-vegetarian option. Remember to utilize wild Alaskan salmon over the Atlantic counterpart for a safer and more sustainable option.
For the salmon:
- 4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets, deboned
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. low fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1½ tbsp. Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad:
- Mixed salad greens and/or lettuce (about 16 oz.)
- 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled
- 1-2 ripe avocados
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Sliced or quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the salmon fillets on the baking sheet skin side down. Brush the top sides lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 145˚ F, about 12-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the salad dressing. Combine the oil, vinegar, yogurt, honey, and mustard in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Whisk rapidly until well combined and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust seasonings to taste.
- Slice the hardboiled eggs and the avocados. To serve, plate portions of salad greens on salad plates. Top with the egg, avocado, tomatoes and red onion as desired. Remove the salmon fillets from the skin and then transfer use to top the salads. Flake or slice gently. Drizzle lightly with the mustard vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
Got a favorite summer salad ingredient or recipe? Tell us about it!