Salads are not only delicious, but if you prepare them right, they're also low in calories, making them perfect for those looking to maintain their figures over the summer. A wide assortment of fruits and vegetables peak during summer months, including avocados, broccoli, blueberries, kale, lettuce, oranges and tomatoes. What better way to enjoy nature's bounty than to combine fresh produce into a beautifully created salad recipe this summer? They're full of wonderful flavors, scents and nutrients, and help us maintain a well balanced diet. The following are five of the best summer salad recipes.
Antioxidant Fruit Salad
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
These nutrients help prevent the development of many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke, and can be found in fruits and vegetables, particularly in the skins. Like with any recipe, this delicious treat can also have any type of fruit to suit one's own personal preference.
- 1 cup mixed berries (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry)
- 1 pomegranate
- 1 mango
- 1 plum
- 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
Cut the plum, mango and orange into small pieces and add to a large bowl before adding the mixed berries
Separate out seeds from within the pomegranate and add the seeds to bowl
Top the mixture with lime juice and enjoy
Adapted from Emeril's Favorite Potato Salad
One of the most popular American summer salads, this dish can be found frequently in any weekend backyard barbecue, picnic or party. This recipe calls for more than three hours of food preparation, but the end result is certain to please the palate for any special occasion or simply for a home meal. For a healthier salad, mayonnaise can be replaced with reduced fat ranch dressing, low fat mayo, nonfat yogurt or lemon vinaigrette, in addition to a salt alternative such as garlic powder or NoSalt.
- Several (10-14) small boiled potatoes
- 6 sliced up hard boiled eggs
- 7 slices turkey bacon (or 6 slices regular bacon)
- 1/3 cup diced onions
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed black peppercorn
- 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water
Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender
Meanwhile, cook the turkey bacon until crisp
Drain the potatoes and cut them into bite size pieces
Add potatoes to a large bowl, then add peppercorn, sea salt onion, bacon and hard boiled eggs
Mix the mayo, white vinegar and vegetable oil before pouring over the potato mixture
Mix all ingredients carefully--you don't want to "disturb" the potatoes too much, otherwise they can become mushy
For best results, allow the flavors to come together by refrigerating the salad 3 hours before serving.
Caesar Salad with Garlic and Black Pepper
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay
Even a simple Caesar salad can be a Michelin-starred culinary experience with a personal touch. Those who prefer a more health conscious approach to this recipe can skip sugar and fat-laden items like croutons and Parmesan cheese.
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 3 fresh garlic cloves, peeled, smashed and minced
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 day old baguette
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
Rinse, pat dry and chop romaine lettuce into small strips, set aside
In a large bowl, pepper the minced garlic with a bit of salt. Add Worcestershire sauce, pepper and mustard, then whisk.
Add in lemon juice, chicken broth and olive oil, and let mixture sit for 30 minutes
Meanwhile, make the croutons
Slice baguette, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and brush with olive oil
Broil for a few minutes or until tops of bread are browned
Coarsely chop the bread
Add anchovy paste to the Worcestershire/olive oil mixture and whisk
Finally, add lettuce, bread crumbs and parmesan to salad bowl and mix again
Top with croutons
Not many ingredients need substitution in this recipe, except for salt, which has several salt alternatives that are a healthier choice. You can also sub in reduced fat mayo or use 1/2 cup of reduced fat and 1/2 cup regular mayo to lower your fat content and calorie count, and leave off the croutons to reduce carb intake.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2/3 cup white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons homemade Italian seasoning (combine equal parts basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme)
1 bag mixed baby greens
1 small sliced onion
4 sliced roma tomatoes
Grated parmesan cheese, to taste
Croutons, to taste
Using a blender or hand mixer, combine all dressing ingredients until smooth, and let the mixture chill for 3 hours
Once dressing is chilled, combine onion, tomatoes, pepperoncini with salad greens, and add dressing, cheese and croutons
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Served with Bibb or butter lettuce, this epic dressing recipe takes just 15 minutes of preparation and 5 minutes to cook. Those concerned with dairy allergies can substitute the cream with soft tofu or coconut milk as a vegan alternative. A nice addition to this simple recipe is to add a poached pear, although it will add more time in the preparation.
- 1 head Bibb lettuce
- 1 sweet apple, chopped and cored
- 1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
- 1 diced pear
- 1 cup lightly toasted walnuts
- 1/3 cup red, seedless grapes
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- Liberal dosage of honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Sea salt and cracked pepper
Combine apple, grapes, raisins, pear, celery and walnuts in large bowl. Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, honey, dill and mustard, then whisk in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Layer large lettuce leaves on plate underneath the salad.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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