Nothing is more refreshing than something cool and crisp on a hot, summer day. With the crispness of veggies and delectable summer flavors, salads can be a great way to enjoy a sweet or savory meal without the added warmth of common meals. Even if you love them, sometimes salads can become monotonous and dull. Let your summer creativity shine with these far out salads. Beat that heat with style!
17 Watermelon Salad
What's more refreshing than watermelon on a hot day? How many salads have you seen with watermelon in them? That's right, you can add watermelon to your salad for a totally unique and surprisingly delicious salad. It's also super simple to make.
First, make pickled onions. Here's how. In a small saucepan, bring to a boil half a cup of apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of sugar, and one teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, then remove from heat. Thinly slice half a cup of red onion. Pour the heated mixture over the red onion in a heat-proof jar. Wait fifteen minutes to allow the onions to soften.
In a small bowl, whisk 1/8 cup of red wine vinegar, one teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of olive oil until it is all combined, adding salt to taste. Toss it with four cups of arugula. Cube one small, seedless watermelon. Add the watermelon and half a cup of crumbled goat or feta cheese on top and toss once more. Pour the pickled onions and toss one last time before serving.
16 Southern Cucumber Salad
This salad, based on Southern tradition, is so refreshing when the heat index makes you want to drop everything and run inside to the air conditioner. Stay in the sunlight and enjoy this light and refreshing salad instead. Cucumber is high in water content and is a great summer ingredient to prevent dehydration. Even if you're not crazy about cucumber that isn't pickled, you'll love this salad.
Peel and thinly slice three cucumbers, half of a Vidalia onion, one container of grape tomatoes, and chop two teaspoons of dill. Whisk three tablespoons of white wine vinegar, two tablespoons of olive oil, and one teaspoon of sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then pour over the veggies and toss.
15 Summer Squash Salad
Summer is the perfect time for grilling vegetables. Ever thought of making a grilled salad? Well, this grilled salad uses all of the flavors of summer to make it absolutely memorable. This is sure to become a family favorite!
First, you will have to prepare a mayo marinade. Yes, you read that right. In a large bowl, whisk one cup of mayo with half a cup of olive oil. Don't panic, you're not meant to eat the whole salad in one sitting. Split it with family and friends at a cookout or save some for later. Now juice and zest two lemons. Mash two garlic cloves until they form a thick paste. Add the zest, juice, and garlic paste to the bowl and continue whisking. Next, add one tablespoon of cumin seed, one tablespoon of salt, one teaspoon of smoked paprika, and half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Whisk until it's well combined.
Next, grab one large bunch of broccoli rabe. Remove the tougher lower end of the stalk. Split lengthwise any stalk that is over half an inch in thickness. Next, cut two or three yellow summer squash into rounds. Rinse the broccoli rabe and squash, but don't dry the broccoli rabe. Add the broccoli and squash to the bowl with the marinade and toss. Marinade for thirty minutes, tossing once or twice to maintain an even coat.
Prepare a gas grill as normal and brush the grilling rack with olive oil. Grill the squash for a few minutes on each side. Then, grill the broccoli for two to three minutes on each side until tender with blistered spots. Next, cut half inch slices from the center of a crusty ciabatta or sourdough bread. Brush each slice of bread with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill the bread on both sides. Cool the bread so you can handle it with your hands. Cut the bread into cubes and toss with the veggies. Add toasted nuts, diced basil, or mint as a garnish. This savory salad is time-consuming, but definitely worth the effort.
14 Coconut Lime Cucumber Rolls
Why does a salad have to be in a bowl? Mix things up this summer by serving these cute little cucumber rolls. To make these, use a peeler or mandolin to make cucumber strips out of two cucumbers. For the filling, blend one cup of cashews, half a cup of water, the juice of one lime, and three tablespoons of shredded coconut until it's smooth and creamy. Slice 1/4 of a red bell pepper, cut 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, and zest half of a lime.
Spoon some of the filling onto the cucumber and spread, leaving the last half inch open. Place a red pepper slice and three-four cilantro leaves side-by-side on the cucumber. Roll the edge with the red pepper and keep rolling until you form a spiral. Top with lime zest and share with your friends. These bite-sized mini salads are perfect party poppers or an adorable lunch to mix things up.
13 Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad
Nothing is more exotic and unique than the lemony flavor of traditional tabbouleh. This dish is packed full of flavor! Instead of using boring, regular lettuce, this salad calls for fresh parsley and mint in abundance!
To make it, finely chop 10-12 mint leaves with two bunches of curly parsley. Dice half of a cucumber, 4-6 scallions, and three medium tomatoes. Meanwhile, cook one cup of fine Bulgar wheat, couscous, or quinoa according to the instructions on the package. Mix all the ingredients together in a giant bowl with the juice of two lemons, 1/2 cup of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
The contrast of the lemon juice, parsley, and mint really compliment each other in both aroma and flavor. This salad is certainly far from dull.
12 Mexican Chopped Salad
How beautiful and vibrant does this salad look?! The more color you add to your salad, the more antioxidants you add. Color also makes you feel alive and can trigger feelings of fun and abundance. Plus, all the pieces are chopped to be about the same size so you can enjoy a mouthful of variety in every bite! This bright, colorful salad is so rich in flavor that you definitely won't be bored.
Chop one head of lettuce into half-inch pieces. Dice one bell pepper, half of a red onion, half of a medium jicama root, one medium zucchini, half a cup of cilantro, and four medium tomatoes. Cut the corn off of four ears of corn. Mix the corn and diced vegetables in a giant bowl with one and half cups of canned black beans, drained and rinsed. You can top with crushed tortilla chips or corn tortilla strips for an extra crunch.
For the dressing, whisk 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice with two tablespoons of canola oil, two tablespoons of olive oil, and two tablespoons of honey. Then mix in one clove of minced garlic, half a teaspoon of cumin, half a teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to taste. Pour over the salad and toss. This sweet and sour dressing pairs nicely with the theme of vibrancy. Everything about this salad screams, "eat me!"
11 Greek Parsley Pesto Salad
Why settle for a traditional Greek salad when you can have this? The chunks of broccoli and walnuts make this salad super hearty. Earthy leeks, cucumber, and parsley provide contrast in flavor and make this salad really pop. The extra protein in quinoa and blue cheese make this dish so savory, it can easily replace a hot supper so you and your family can keep cool and still enjoy a delicious meal.
Cook half a cup of quinoa in accordance with the directions on the package. Dice one cup of tomatoes, one cup of cucumber, two cups of broccoli florets, a cup of fresh parsley, and 1/4 cup of walnuts. Slice 1/3 cup of leeks and crumble the blue cheese. Lightly steam the broccoli for two to four minutes. Allow time for the quinoa and broccoli to cool. Meanwhile, purée the parsley, walnuts, and olive oil until smooth. Stir the chopped veggies, quinoa, and blue cheese together and toss with the simple, homemade pesto sauce. Add salt to taste.
10 Cuban Avocado and Pineapple Salad
This salad is a pop of fruity, tart deliciousness! It would be perfect for any tropical-themed party or a beautiful supper after a day at the beach.
To prepare the veggies, rinse two bundles of watercress in a colander and discard any yellow leaves or tough stems. Pat dry the leaves and tender stems. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest. Peel and core one pineapple and cut into four 1-inch thick slices. Heat the broiler or turn your oven to broil. Place pineapple slices on a baking pan and sprinkle sugar on top. Broil about four inches away from the heat source. Heat for five to ten minutes, flipping once, until golden brown. Let it cool and cut into 1-inch cubes. Peel and cut two avocados into 1-inch cubes. Cut one small red onion into thin slivers using a mandolin or your knife.
Now, you're ready to make the salad! For the dressing, whisk two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or fresh lime juice with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Finely chop three cloves of garlic and add to the bowl. Now add salt, pepper, and cumin to taste. Assemble the veggies and toss in the dressing.
9 Chard Salad Rolls With Spicy Mango Sauce
Why eat a salad the boring way? Pick it up with your hands and dip it in deliciousness! Mangoes scream summer and make a perfect dip for these cute chard rolls. A mixture of sweet and spicy make this an ideal summer delight!
For the rolls, cut the stems off of six to eight chard leaves. If you don't like chard, feel free to replace with collard green leaves. For the filling, use three cups of your favorite fruits and vegetables finely sliced or julienned. Some ideas for veggies are carrots, bell peppers, sprouts, jicama, radishes, beets, fresh herbs, or sliced avocado. For fruit, slice apples, strawberries, pineapple, or oranges. To wrap the rolls, add the filling in the center. Roll the stem side up toward the center. Then tuck in the top toward the center. Finally, wrap the left side over the top and bottom sections, and roll the right side on top.
For the spicy mango sauce, dice one ripe mango and juice one lime. Slice one small jalapeño, removing the veins and seeds. Add to a blender with one teaspoon of fresh ginger, two teaspoons of grapeseed oil, one teaspoon of tamari or soy sauce, 1/4 cup of water, and half a teaspoon of ground cumin. Blend until smooth and serve with your adorable little rolls.
8 Grilled Veggie Rainbow Taco Salad Bowl
You might not be able to paint with all the colors of the wind, but you can sure taste the rainbow in this salad. Who needs fried corn tortillas or gluten soft tortillas when you can have a majestic purple, whole-food tortilla? Red cabbage has more nutrients than its green counterpart and is so much more interesting. You can wrap it like a burrito or eat out of it like a taco bowl!
For the filling, just grill a bunch of veggies, whichever ones you're craving. Make this taco bowl a rainbow bowl by using a variety of bright veggies. For red, you can use tomatoes or red bell peppers. For green, you can use cilantro, parsley, or lettuce. For yellow, use an ear of corn or yellow bell pepper, or avocado. Add more color with green, red, or white onions. Whatever you choose, add it to the center of the bowl and eat. If you want it to be more hearty, add some cooked quinoa, beans, or brown rice.
You can either drizzle a dressing on top or dip the taco into it. Use Sriracha, spicy mayo, chipotle mayo, salsa, or salsa verde for a delicious dressing.
7 Grilled Caesar Salad
Another cool way to have a grilled salad is to cut your romaine lettuce in half and slap it right on the grill. You'll end up with these beautiful grill marks that make your lettuce look like a steak, sort of. Pour some soy sauce over your lettuce before grilling to give it more flavor. Then add Parmesan cheese and top with a drizzle of Caesar dressing or a creamy ranch. Serve with a lunch sandwich of your choice. Since that grill is already hot, you could go ahead and grill that sandwich, too. Now that's a perfect summer lunch!
6 Vegan Veggie Bowl
Another unique way you can serve a salad is by deconstructing it into a veggie bowl. This particular veggie bowl is from Oh She Glows and includes all gluten-free, vegan ingredients, including roasted chickpeas, quinoa, red cabbage, mixed leafy greens, baked sweet potato cubes, hummus, avocado, and hemp seeds.
To prepare this particular bowl, toss one chopped sweet potato in olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake at 400 degrees for fifteen minutes. Open a can of chickpeas, drain and rinse, and drizzle olive oil on them. Add your favorite spices and toss them. Spread them on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes as well. Cook quinoa according to the directions and fluff with a fork.
To assemble a deconstructed salad bowl, first line the bowl with a bed of mixed greens. Then use a spoon to add the veggies on top in triangles around the center. In the center, dollop your sauce, which in this case is hummus. This is a beautiful way to display your salads!
5 Zoodles with Lemon Vinaigrette
This is not only a fun salad to eat, but it's also a fun salad to make! If you have a safe, large spiralizer, you can even get your kids involved, as shown in the picture above. If you have a handheld one, you might want to do that yourself as the blades are sharp. If you don't have a spiralizer, make zucchini noodles, or zoodles, by shredding zucchini with a potato peeler. Leave the skin on for a pop of color, or peel the zucchini before turning them into noodles so that they actually look more like noodles.
In a bowl, combine one clove of minced garlic, juice from half of a lemon, two tablespoons of olive oil, a handful of fresh, chopped Italian parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over your zoodles and toss. Serve as is, or add some delicious toppings, such as feta cheese or Parmesan cheese, sliced olives, artichoke hearts, chicken, or mushrooms.
4 Rainbow Pad Thai Salad
Rainbow salads don't have to have the same ingredients all the time. Get creative! This one blogger on Oh She Glows created a rainbow pad thai salad with peanut sauce. Here's how she did it.
Spiralize or julienne a zucchini and two carrots. Thinly slice one cup of red cabbage, one red bell pepper, and three green onions. Throw it all in a large bowl with 3/4 cup of cooked edamame or tofu squares. Pour the spicy peanut lime sauce on top and toss. Sprinkle hemp seeds and sesame seeds on top.
To make the spicy peanut lime sauce, blend 1/4 cup of natural roasted peanut butter, one to two cloves of garlic, three tablespoons of fresh lime juice, two tablespoons of sesame oil, two tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce, two teaspoons of sugar, and one to three teaspoons of water as needed. Serve on the side or pour on top.
3 Spicy and Sweet Shrimp Salad
Shrimp is like a blank canvas that can adjust to all sorts of flavors. This sweet and spicy shrimp will tantalize your tastebuds! The secret sauce is simple: honey and Sriracha sauce, a combination made in heaven! Here's how to assemble this scrumptious salad.
First, sauté the shrimp in a tablespoon of butter, garlic powder, and ground black pepper until they turn pink. Then chop up four cups of romaine lettuce, one cucumber, and one stalk of celery. Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss. Top with three tablespoons of crumbled blue cheese, two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds. Stir in 1/4 cup of blue cheese salad dressing. In a small bowl, stir 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of Sriracha. Squeeze the juice of a lime on top and toss again. Drizzle the honey and Sriracha mixture over the shrimp and salad and serve. This salad is so decadent and unique that you might feel like you stopped at a seafood restaurant on the seashore, except you don't have to leave the comfort of your own home!
2 Grilled Peach and Apricot Salad
This sweet, fruity salad is a light and refreshing lunch or side dish that could be paired with a nice rosé wine or even some champagne. Yeah, it's that fancy, but don't worry, it's also super simple.
Preheat the grill. While it's warming, tear the leaves off of one bunch of kale and tear into smaller pieces. Massage the kale with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Knead it for a minute until it softens. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with two tablespoons of lemon juice. Tear or cut 1/4 pound of thinly sliced prosciutto. Cut four apricots and four peaches in halves and lightly brush with a neutral oil, such as grape seed oil. Add fruit, cut side down, to the grill when it's hot, but not overwhelmingly hot. Keep on the heat until you see that the cut side has caramelized.
Once the fruit has been grilled, toss the kale with the lemon oil mixture and crumble 1/4 cup of feta cheese on top. Add the prosciutto, peaches, and apricots. Allow their juices to seep into the kale. The sweet and sour works perfectly with the prosciutto. Fancy, isn't it?! It's also delicious!
1 Raw Veggie Nori Rolls
If sushi is a guilty pleasure of yours, here's a sushi recipe that won't leave you feeling bad. That's because it's really more like a salad. This is a spin on sushi that uses unusual ingredients, but still tastes amazing! Do you love hummus? Well, this sushi actually has hummus in it! Sounds strange, but we'll explain.
First, grab a pack of nori sheets and spread a hummus of your choice onto it. The hummus acts like a binder, replacing the glutinous rice. If you want a different binder, you could use Asian sweet and spicy sauce or spicy mayo instead. Once the sauce is on the wraps, place strips of your favorite veggies in the center of it. The writer of this blog used two large carrots, one cucumber, one head of purple cabbage, two cups of spinach, one red bell pepper, and one avocado. Although the cabbage was shredded, everything else was cut into small strips, including the spinach. Once the veggies are cut and put in the center of each roll, roll the nori wraps into a tube and cut into sushi rounds. You can serve with soy sauce, nama shoyu, or tamari.
Try some of these with your family and let us know how good they were in the comments below. These salads may have different flavors, shapes, and presentation than most salads, but no matter how they are prepared, these are each full of nutrients your body needs. Hopefully these salads have inspired you to think outside of the box and to try to eat more veggies in a wider variety of ways.
Sources: Food52.com, Pauladeen.com, Food52.com, Girlsgoneraw.com, Food52.com, Thecafesucrefarine.com, Allrecipes.com, Food52.com, Thefirstmess.com, Inmybowl.com, Food52.com, Ohsheglows.com, Togetherinthekitchen.com, Ohsheglows.com, Ohsheglows.com, Couponclippingcook.com, Food52.com, Neuroticmommy.com