Skip to main content

Beat the Heat with These Refreshing Summer Salads

Writer and expert10 months ago
View perriconemd's profile

Though summer is flying by, there’s still plenty of time to dine outdoors. Whether you’re cooking up something for yourself or looking for an easy recipe to bring with you to your next BBQ, these healthy summer salads are sure to hit the spot. Not only are they refreshing but they’ll add a nutritional option to your menu as well.

Don’t let the word “salad” fool you, though. While these salads are light and fresh so they can be easily eaten on a hot day, they’re also filling thanks to the added proteins like chicken, steak and beans. Plus, they’re packed with fiber for a happy gut, antioxidants for an immunity boost and even water for hydration (yes, foods can hydrate you, too).

Are you as excited as we are? Well, get your notebook ready because you’ll want to add these ingredients to your grocery list so you can toss these salads up before the seasons change.

OPTION 1: Waldorf Chicken Salad

Serves 4

3 skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves (about 14 ounces each)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup walnut halves

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled

¼ cup buttermilk

½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 cup red seedless grapes, halved

2 Fuji apples, cored and thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

6 ounces watercress, trimmed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

  1. Make 3 deep slashes in each chicken breast. In a small bowl, mash together the garlic, fennel, 2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the oil. Rub the mixture all over the chicken and into the slashes. Transfer the chicken to a small roasting pan, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast in the oven for 10 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  4. Roast the chicken in the oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool slightly, then discard the skin and bones and thinly slice the meat.
  5. Combine the vinegar, mustard and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor and blend. Add the blue cheese and buttermilk and blend. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the lemon zest and season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the chicken with the walnuts, grapes, apples, celery, watercress, parsley, tarragon and chives. Add the dressing, toss well and serve.


OPTION 2: Grilled Steak Salad with Ginger-Lime Dressing

Serves 4 

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 pound 100% grass-fed New York strip steaks

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 bags or bunches of watercress, cut into 3-inch lengths

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 carrots, chopped

1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

5 radishes, sliced

  1. Combine ¼ cup soy sauce, the chili sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice and the garlic in a small bowl. Place the steaks in a dish, pour the marinade over them, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Prepare an outdoor grill for direct grilling over medium heat (300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ¼ cup lime juice with the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, the vinegar, ginger and oil. Set this dressing aside.
  4. Remove the steaks from the marinade. Grill them, covered with the grill lid, for 6 to 8 minutes on each side or to the desired degree of doneness. Let sit briefly before slicing. Slice across the grain into thin slices.
  5. Arrange the watercress in a large bowl or on a serving platter. Top with the sliced steak, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and radishes. Drizzle with the ginger-lime dressing and serve


OPTION 3: White Bean and Asparagus Salad with Watercress

Serves 4 

5 stalks green asparagus, tough ends removed

1, 15-ounce can white beans (such as cannellini), rinsed and drained

1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped

½ cup finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups watercress, trimmed

  1. Bring water to a simmer in a vegetable steamer.
  2. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces, place them in the steamer basket, cover and lightly steam for 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the white beans, bell pepper and red onion. Add the asparagus and toss gently. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss the dressing into the salad and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Line a salad bowl with the watercress and top with the white bean salad.
Writer and expert
View perriconemd's profile