In the warm days of summer, you don’t want heavy dishes weighing you down (or heating up the kitchen!) A popular choice, salads are the perfect meal – if they’re not boring. These five ideas are refreshing, fun, and creative. Any of these salads would make the perfect choice for an excellent al fresco picnic meal or party contribution.
1. Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad– from the upscale and innovative Louie’s Backyard in Key West- who could know a summer salad better? Juicy and sweet watermelon chunks are mixed with thick slices of savory heirloom tomatoes. (If you’re local grocery doesn’t have any, and you’re not familiar with a Farmer’s Market in your area try Ugli Ripe tomatoes available in more grocers.) This salad can be finished with torn basil if desired, and dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and salt and pepper. Quintessentially summer, this salad will leave you smiling.
2. Asian Salad – a basic salad, with a different spin. Generally Asian salad will include mandarins, peanuts, and a tangy dressing. Try making this a main dish option by adding grilled chicken, baby corn, water chestnuts, and cooked, cooled rice. Filling you up without a heavy hand, these ingredients add texture and delicious flavor.
3. Chow Chow – well known in certain parts of the country, this traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish includes all of the best flavors of summer. For an updated take, use all fresh vegetables and green herbs. Mix corn, Lima beans, green beans, tomatoes, and cauliflower. Add an oil and apple cider vinaigrette lightly sweetened with honey, and fresh thyme.
4. Grilled Salad – a technique more than a plan, this salad idea will not disappoint. Halved romaine hearts are brushed with oil and grilled over high heat until charred. Serve with slices of grilled steak and blue cheese dressing for an easy man-approved salad.
5. Blueberry Pistachio Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette – we’ve all had pecan cranberry salads, and we want something new. Dried berries are fine in winter, but why waste the plump summer treats? Fresh blueberries mingle with chopped pistachios on super-food baby kale. Dress with a French Provence-style olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette.
On sunny summer days, salads are a perfect meal. Fresh, healthy and lively, these ideas will boost the creativity at your next picnic or party. Try out a delicious new salad and make the most of summer!
Written by Michelle Wagner Dellavalle