The Best Salads of Summer


As the long summer days stretch into August, my desire to stand in a hot kitchen decreases with every balmy afternoon. While these dishes make excellent sides for your barbeques and summer gatherings, they can also serve as quick and easy meals that keep cooking to a minimum to help you keep that summertime chill.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

By Dan Deuel

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
(or 1⁄2 Tbsp. dried)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 heavy pinch kosher salt
1 medium cucumber, de-seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 pint (8 oz. by weight) cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup goat cheese
3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 cup parsley, finely chopped

Rinse the quinoa under cold running water with a strainer and drain. Place the quinoa and broth in a 1.5 qt. saucepan. Add a heavy pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked through. Place cooked quinoa on a sheet pan atop a cooling rack and spread out. Allow to cool.

Place dressing ingredients in a small jar with lid and shake to combine (or whisk together in a small bowl), then set it aside.

Place cucumber, pepper, red onion, tomatoes, feta, olives, and parsley in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add cooked quinoa, stirring to combine. Shake dressing again, pour over your salad and toss to coat. Chill or serve immediately.

Strawberry Fields Salad

By Cindy Jones

Leftover grilled chicken works per-fectly in this recipe, and it can be customized with whatever greens, cheeses, and nuts you have on hand.

2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped into 1” squares
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 cups spring greens or butter lettuce
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup crumbled feta or mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup pecans
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, reserving a few cheese and bacon crumbles for garnish. Add the desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. Add nut/cheese crumbles on top. Chill for up to an hour or serve immediately.

Creamy Dreamy Fruit Salad

By Cindy Jones

This salad makes the best breakfast and tastes great with whatever fruit you have on hand. I’ve used raspberries, pineapple, bananas, green grapes, and even watermelon!

1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tsp. honey
1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. ginger

1 cup blueberries
1 cup red or green grapes, halved
2 nectarines, chopped into 1” pieces
1 cup strawberries, quartered
1⁄2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or slivered almonds.
Fresh mint for garnish (optional)

Rinse the fruit thoroughly and set aside to dry. Whisk the yogurt, honey, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and set them aside as well.

Combine all the fruit in a large bowl and pour the dressing on top. Use a large spoon to gently toss until the fruit is coated. Sprinkle a little extra cinnamon on top. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat.


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