Summer is the season for barbecues and pool parties, for the beach and for the great outdoors. But let’s not forget about a worthy addition to the lineup; the salad. A summer salad is the perfect accompaniment to a great barbecue, or a refreshingly crisp afternoon snack as you relax poolside.
Light, healthy, cool and fresh, a summer salad can give you a much needed dose of energy and help you cool off as the powerful sun beats down upon you. These ideas and recipes for great summer salads offer you, your family, or your guests a subtle twist on the traditional salad, and creative arrangements of ingredients that are tantalizingly delicious.
A wonderful combination of barbecue and greens, the basic salad combined with a tenderly cooked blackened, barbecued steak is a great headliner. You can use any cut of beef you prefer, but I found that the ideal choice is a 6 oz. cut of flank steak or beef tenderloin. Create a spice mixture of 1 tablespoon of paprika, 2 teaspoons of black pepper, and a teaspoon each of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, oregano and thyme, and salt to taste. Rub the spice mixture into the steak and grill the steak until desired doneness.
For the salad portion, whisk together a 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 1 teaspoon dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add your favorite greens; a good variation is to use fresh spinach leaves instead of mixed greens. Add 1/2 a thinly sliced green pepper, and 1/2 a thinly sliced red onion. Toss the salad until coated adequately with the dressing.
Slice the steaks crosswise and lay over the salad, and garnish with cheese or tomatoes if you like. The tasty combination of the blackened steak and fresh salad provides a nice dose of iron and protein, and replacing mixed greens with fresh spinach is an even healthier choice, providing essential vitamins and minerals.
Another summer salad packed full of nutrition to help you keep up your energy during those lazy summer days combines chicken and avocados, a truly intriguing blend that crosses the borders of summer salads into new, unchartered territories of flavor and freshness.
To begin, grill two boneless chicken breasts and then dice them. Combine and mix the chicken with 1 cup of white rice, a diced avocado, a small chopped onion, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, and salt, pepper, and parsley to taste. While you let that chill, you can create the dressing.
Chop a small avocado and mix in a blender with 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 clove of garlic, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Mix until smooth, and then pour over your salad. This summer salad will keep you cool and refreshed, and your taste buds will thank you for it.
Cantaloupe is another refreshing dish eagerly enjoyed in the summer months, but when used in a savory salad, it is heavenly. Simple and easy to make, with only a small amount of ingredients required, this summer salad is one you’ll likely enjoy at least once a week, if not more.
You will need one ripe cantaloupe, seeded, skinned, and cut into cubes. Put the cantaloupe in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with 2 teaspoons each of olive oil and white wine vinegar. Toss gently and garnish with chives, and you are finished! For a unique twist on flavor, sprinkle the salad with a teaspoon of garam masala.
Each of these summer salads is sure to delight, giving you another reason to look forward to the summer months.