Easy weeknight meals that don’t require a lot of time near the stove during the summer heat are my favorites. Salads in particular are refreshing and quick to make when you’re short on time. Making salads is also a super cheap option if you use seasonal veggies!
I share 10 healthy salad recipes you can toss together in no time.
1. Caprese salad – Fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomatoes are tossed in extra virgin olive oil. Just add salt and pepper to taste. Fresh mozzarella can be expensive, but I buy it on sale and then slice the bite-size balls in half. I save the other half for another salad.
2. Harvest salad – This is one of my favorite salads! I call it the harvest salad because it reminds me of Thanksgiving. Use mixed greens, candied almonds, dried cranberries, chicken bites, blue cheese, and pears (apples and strawberries also work). Dress the salad in a honey-lemon-olive oil dressing, or raspberry vinaigrette. It’s heaven!
3. Kale and pine nut salad – Kale is super cheap in the summer months. Plus, it’s super easy to grow in the garden. Coarsely chop raw kale, roasted pine nuts (allow to cool), and then add dried cranberries. Toss the ingredients in a balsamic vinaigrette. The Whole Foods near me sales a version of this salad for $7.99 a pound. The homemade version taste just as expensive, but you won’t spend so much money making it!
4. Mediterranean salad – Sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and red onion. Make your dressing by mixing olive oil, pressed garlic, and red wine vinegar. Enjoy with warm pita. This salad will have you saying Oopah! in no time.
5. Chicken and broccoli salad – Boil whole wheat pasta according to box instructions and allow to cool. I like to do this early in the morning when it’s not as hot. I also use leftover roasted chicken for this salad. Cut broccoli florets and mix with the other ingredients. Dress with ranch.
6. Black bean and corn salad – You can use canned beans, but to save money I like buying dried beans and boiling them myself. I also buy frozen corn when it’s on sale. Once the corn thaws and the beans cool, I mix them and add bell pepper, onion, and chopped cilantro. Then I mix in olive oil, s and p, ground cumin, and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Diced creamy avocado helps keep the heat down. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes so the flavors blend together.
7. Tabbouleh – Another of my favorite salads is this quinoa tabbouleh recipe. It’s delicious and versatile!
8. Skinny chicken salad – Use whatever greens you have on hand and top with a mix of roasted chicken, grapes, and walnuts. I like to mix Greek yogurt (hence, the skinny), mustard, and very little mayo (enough to fool myself). In a bowl, mix everything, but the greens. Serve on the bed of greens. Plain yogurt works as well and it’s cheaper, but your dressing will be more watery.
9. Chicken, avocado, and mango salad – By now you’ve probably noticed I love salads that mix sweet and savory flavors. This salad recipe is no exception. Grill chicken breast and dice. In a bowl mix soy sauce, limes, olive oil, and zested ginger. Then dice mango and avocado, and add chicken. Frisee is one of my favorite lettuces (it’s the light green, frizzy looking lettuce) to use with this salad, but whatever greens you have on hand will work. Dress right before serving.
10. Chickpea salad – Mix chopped cilantro (or parsley), diced bell pepper, sliced red onion, and red pepper flakes. Toss in olive oil, minced garlic, and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. You’ll get your protein from the garbanzo beans so you won’t miss the meat!
Don’t forget to try Julia’s farmer’s market salad recipe, and learn how to make a great salad from Bobbi.
Bargain Babe says
Awesome salad ideas. A lot of these recipes I’ve not come across before, like the pine nut and kale salad. I just picked up a huge bunch of kale from our summer CSA today, and I happen to have pine nuts on hand. One question though – do you have to cook the kale? Or just chop it really small? It’s pretty tough raw.
I’m going to try No. 5 with balsamic instead of ranch. I do a very different black bean salad, so I’m curious to find out if I like No. 6 better. Also saving No. 10 because I love chick peas – and what a quick, healthy dinner!
Yazmin Cruz says
@BB The kale is raw. Don’t use the stems and allow to sit in the dressing so it gets tender. The No. 5 salad is from one of my fave restaurants, California Chicken Cafe. I still can’t figure out what dressing they use and they won’t tell me, but it’s delicious. The No. 10 salad reminds me of hummus. It’s wonderful with grilled pita. Just smear with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
Bargain Babe says
@Yazmin Keep asking for the recipe at CCC. Eventually you’ll find someone who will tell you the answer!!!!