6 Easy and Delicious Summer Salads

When the weather starts to get warm, I immediately begin to crave fresh, seasonal summer produce. Creative salads are a great way to highlight the bounty of the farmer's market this time of year. Start your meal planning this week by incorporating these delicious, healthy summer salads you can throw together for a nutritious meal in minutes.

Panzanella With Salmon and Cucumbers

This classic Italian bread salad gets an upgrade from a side to a main dish with the addition of fresh cucumbers and rich, flaky fish.

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Tear an 8-ounce loaf of Italian bread into rough cubes.
  • Mix the bread with 2 Tbsp olive oil on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Toast the bread in the oven for eight minutes while you prepare the other elements of the salad.
  • Whisk 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp. caraway seeds.
  • Add four sliced cucumbers, a sliced bulb of fennel and one sliced red onion.
  • Remove the bread and top with the cucumber dressing and either roasted or grilled salmon.

Strawberry Salad

Fresh berries are the star of the season, especially when combined with fresh spinach, crunchy nuts and tangy cheese.

  • Divide 4 Cups baby spinach leaves and 4 Cups mixed greens between four salad plates or bowls.
  • Top the greens with:
  • 1 Cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup strawberries, halved
  • 1/4 Cup goat cheese or feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 Cup chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans
  • Vinaigrette dressing to taste
2 Minute Ritual

Spicy Mango Salad

Spicy jalapeno and tangy lime juice add an unexpected counterpoint to the sweetness of the mangoes. To make this salad, combine:

  • 2 large sliced mangoes
  • 1 seeded and minced jalapeno
  • 1/2 large sliced onion
  • 2 Tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Grilled Corn

Grilled Corn Salad

Inspired by the street corn sold by vendors in Mexico, this salad pairs with everything from grilled chicken to a hearty rice and beans dish.

  • Grill six ears of corn and remove the kernels, or use 5 Cups of fresh or frozen corn.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together 2 Tbsp sour cream, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder and 1/4 tsp. chili powder.
  • Combine corn with 1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes, 1/2 Cup diced red onion and 1/4 Cup chopped cilantro.
  • Top the mixture with dressing.

Green and Yellow Bean Salad

This salad is full of fresh flavors and makes an ideal light lunch with a crusty loaf of bread.

  • Boil 1/2 lb. yellow wax beans and 1/2 lb. green beans for 5 to 6 minutes until tender.
  • Transfer the beans to ice water with a slotted spoon and allow to cool.
  • To make the dressing, whisk 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar and 1 1/2 Tbsp minced shallots.
  • Combine the chilled beans with 1/2 Cup sliced ricotta salata, 1/2 pint halved cherry tomatoes and 3 Tbsp halved Nicoise olives.
  • Top with dressing and another 1/2 Cup of sliced ricotta salata. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Couscous With Almonds and Sundried Tomatoes

Bring this hearty grain salad to your next summer potluck.

  • Cook 1 Cups couscous and allow to cool.
  • Add 1 jar chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, 3 Cups small chopped cucumbers and 1 5-oz bag chopped baby spinach.
  • Top with 1/3 Cup almonds, toasted and feta cheese to taste.
  • Dress the salad with lemon vinaigrette and stir to coat all ingredients before serving at room temperature.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables along with low-fat protein, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy supports your health and well-being. Get the nutrients you need while enjoying the mouthwatering flavors of fresh, local ingredients.

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