When summer arrives, the last thing anyone wants to do is spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking. Yet, we all still need to eat healthy and satisfying meals. That’s where salads come in to save the hot and steamy day. There are a lot of people who think salads are boring bowls of ripped up lettuce and tomatoes with bottled dressing poured on top. What a sad thought!
Refreshing summer salads can be so much more. It’s all about color, texture and taste. Ingredients can be simple or stunning, easy or exotic, light or luscious. There doesn’t even have to be any lettuce at all! Check out 7 Steps for Making Refreshing Summer Salads. And forget that bottled dressing stuff. See 10 Creative and Delicious Ways to Flavor Raw Leafy Greens and 10 Ways to Make Amazing Salad Dressings for lots of homemade, tasty recipes and ideas. Here are 10 amazing recipes for summer that will change the way you think about salads.
1. Spring Greens With Creamy Walnut Pesto and Sunflower Sprouts Over Pasta
This Spring Greens Salad may look simple but it really packs a veggie-filled punch with broccoli, bok choy, kale and asparagus. Healthy protein-filled sunflower sprouts, flavorful basil walnut pesto and brown rice pasta complete the picture of this amazing salad.
2. Kale Salad With Chili Lime Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Sriracha Vinaigrette
This isn’t just any kale salad. It has many interesting components including quinoa, roasted butternut squash and avocado flavored with chili, lime and garlic salad dressing. Pomegranate seeds on top add sparkle, texture and even more flavor to this beautiful Kale Salad with Chili Lime Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Sriracha Vinaigrette.
3. Summery Tofu Salad With Green Beans, Fresh Herbs, and Sesame Dressing
In this Vietnamese Summery Tofu Salad, tofu, green beans and fresh herbs are marinated in a tahini dressing with toasted sesame seeds. Bright, fresh and tangy, this is a perfect summer salad – no lettuce required.
4. Buttery Spinach Salad With Crumbled Tempeh and Crispy Shallots
This Buttery Spinach Salad is a symphony of textures, temperatures and flavors. Baby spinach provides the bed for crunchy green peppers and pumpkin seeds, warm crumbled tempeh and crispy shallots. It’s all topped with a buttery tahini dill dressing that will be music to your ears…or taste buds.
5. Cinnamon Spiced Apple and Grape Salad
Why use plain ol’ lettuce when you can have a mix of baby lettuces, chard, Mizuna, arugula, frisee, radicchio, baby spinach and fresh herbs? Add some apples lightly pan-fried with cinnamon and maple syrup, grapes and walnuts and you have this Cinnamon Spiced Apple and Grape Salad that’s different than any salad you’ve ever eaten.
6. Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad
If you like pad thai, you’ll love this Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad. It has a blend of flavors and textures from a variety of vegetables like broccoli, carrots, spinach and bell peppers, light and fluffy quinoa, and crunchy peanuts. It’s all topped with a simply stunning peanut dressing.
In Italian tradition when bread gets stale, it’s time to make Panzanella salad. The bread cubes are mixed with tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, cucumbers and lots of fresh herbs and tossed with a garlicky vinegar and oil dressing for a tasty classic.
8. Bahn Mi Salad With Pickled Vegetables and Vietnamese Croutons
If you ever thought salads were ordinary, this Bahn Mi Salad will change all that. It’s filled with baked tempeh, lots of tangy pickled vegetables and Vietnamese croutons. With greens and a creamy dressing, this is one extraordinary salad.
9. Best Ever Forbidden Rice Salad
This Forbidden Rice Salad proves that a salad doesn’t have to have greens at all. The nutty black rice pairs perfectly with the sweet potato and is balanced by the crunchy walnuts and tangy dried cranberries. Topped with a ginger miso dressing, this will be your favorite forbidden salad ever.
10. Simple Basil Citrus Salad With Balsamic Jam Dressing
Salads can be filled with seasonal produce besides greens and veggies. This Simple Citrus Salad combines oranges, grapefruits and blood oranges and mixes them with bright, fresh basil. Tossed in a dressing of cherry jam and balsamic vinegar, this is the perfect salad to celebrate the bounty of summer fruits.
When making salads, think beyond the usual lettuce and tomatoes. Use a variety of vegetables, grains, pasta, fruits, nuts and seeds to create creative salads and flavor-filled dressings that will keep you happy and refreshed all summer long.
Lead Image Photo: Panzanella