Perfect Salads for Hot Summer Nights

Keep the oven off and the family time going with these cool throw-together summer salads.

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak Salad

Satisfying, flavorful and packed with protein.

8 ounces beef flank steak
2 small yellow and/or red sweet peppers, stemmed, seeded, and halved
1 ear fresh corn, husked and silks removed
2 green onions, trimmed
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ small avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and thinly sliced
2 cups torn romaine lettuce or arugula
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

Dressing:
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons honey
1 large clove garlic, peeled and quartered
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Combine lime juice, shallot, cilantro, olive oil, water, honey, garlic, chili powder, salt, and ground cumin in a blender or small food processor. Cover and blend or process until combined.

For steak, trim fat, score both sides in a diamond pattern by making shallow diagonal cuts at 1-inch intervals. Place steak in a resealable plastic bag. Pour half of the cilantro dressing over steak in bag; set remaining dressing portion aside. Seal bag; turn to coat steak. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Coat sweet pepper, corn and green onions with neutral unflavored oil (grapeseed or avocado oil). Grill steak and corn on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals until steak is desired doneness and corn is tender, turning steak once halfway through grilling and turning corn occasionally. For steak, allow 17 to 21 minutes for medium rare (145 degrees F) to medium (160 degrees F). For corn, allow 15 to 20 minutes. Add sweet pepper halves to the grill for the last 8 minutes of grilling and green onions to the grill for the last 4 minutes grilling, turning frequently. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place meat and, later, vegetables on grill rack over heat.)

Thinly slice meat against the grain. Coarsely chop sweet peppers and green onions; cut corn from cob, leaving kernels in sheets. Serve meat, vegetables, tomatoes, and, if desired, avocado slices over lettuce. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Finish with chopped cilantro.

Greek-Style Arugula Salad with Grilled Chicken

Modified from Amelia Freer, Cook. Nourish. Glow.
Very easy to throw together for a weeknight dinner, and always a good combo of flavors.

4 cups arugula leaves
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 chicken breast, chopped (or pull meat off a rotisserie chicken)
¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
½ cup artichoke hearts, chopped
Handful of basil, slivered
¼ cucumber, small chopped

Dressing:
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano

Use any mixture of fresh herbs you have on hand and mix dressing with a whisk or in a jar. Toss with salad ingredients.

Crunchy Chicken & Mango Salad

This salad has great crunch and a kick of spice as well as some mango sweetness.

6 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
2 cups sugar snap peas, thinly sliced diagonally
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 medium mango, sliced
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup sliced scallions
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Dressing:
juice from 1 orange (or sub ⅓ cup orange juice)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sambal oelek or Harissa (Optional)

Whisk juice, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sambal oelek (if using) in a large bowl. Add cabbage, peas, chicken, mango, mint and scallions; toss gently to coat. Serve the salad sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Chopped Cobb Salad with Chicken

This delicious chopped salad comes together quickly.

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
½ cup chopped tomato
½ cup chopped cucumber
½ cup sliced white button mushrooms
6 ounces grilled or roasted chicken breast, cut into cubes or strips
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
½ cup no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Dressing: Any will do, pick your favorite.

Place lettuce in a medium bowl and arrange tomato, cucumber, mushrooms, chicken, egg, and beans in rows atop the lettuce. Toss with dressing.

Spring Roll Salad

This is a very pretty salad with lots of color and an Asian flair, topped with a rich peanut dressing.

6 cups torn Boston or butter lettuce
6 ounces cooked shrimp (edamame can easily be subbed)
1 cup cooked brown rice or rice noodles, cooked
½ cup chopped red cabbage
½ cup julienned bell pepper
½ cup julienned carrots
½ cup julienned cucumber
½ cup avocado
fresh mint and sesame seeds for garnish

Dressing:
2 tbsp smooth natural peanut butter
3 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp water
1 tsp minced garlic
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

Whisk peanut butter, oil, rice vinegar, maple syrup, tamari (or soy sauce), water, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) in a small bowl until smooth. Combine lettuce, shrimp/edamame, rice/noodles, cabbage, bell pepper, carrot, cucumber and avocado in a bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine. Garnish with mint and sesame seeds.

Greek Salad with Edamame

Edamame adds protein to the classic Greek salad.

8 cups chopped romaine (about 2 romaine hearts)
16 ounces frozen shelled edamame (about 3 cups)
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
½ European cucumber, sliced
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
¼ cup slivered fresh basil
¼ cup sliced kalamata olives
¼ cup slivered red onion

Dressing:
¼ cup red-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Whisk vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add romaine, edamame, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, basil, olives and onion; toss to coat.

Tofu Caesar Salad with “Creamy” Tahini Dressing

Modified from Amelia Freer, Cook. Nourish. Glow.
I LOVE a good Caesar salad! This one is updated with tofu and garbanzos, which makes it filling. It’s also great with leftover chicken on top.

Crispy tofu:
1 block firm tofu
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp avocado oil

“Croutons”:
1 can garbanzo beans
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, garlic powder and a couple of shakes of paprika

Salad:
2 romaine lettuce hearts, washed and leaves separated
½ bunch chives, chopped

Dressing:
½ cup tahini
½ cup warm water
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

Wrap tofu in a clean towel and place on a plate or tray with a lip. Place something heavy on top and drain for at least 30 minutes. While tofu is draining, make your croutons. Next, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and paprika over the garbanzos and until coated then place onto a baking tray. Bake for 20-30 min or until they are golden and crunchy.

Mix together the cornstarch and salt and set aside. Once the tofu has drained, chop it into cubes, around 2 inches. Place tofu into mixing bowl and drizzle over the oil, tossing it together with your hands to make sure it’s evenly coated. Add the cornstarch mix and continue to gently toss together until the tofu is coated. Spread the tofu onto a baking tray, making sure that none of the cubes are touching each other, and bake for 15 minutes. Use tongs to carefully flip over tofu and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden and crispy.

To make the dressing, place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water until you reach your desired consistency. To serve, toss the lettuce, chives and half of the crispy tofu with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Tip into a serving bowl, scatter over the remaining tofu, croutons, drizzle over a little more dressing and serve.

Seven Layer Salad

  1. Sliver romaine lettuce
  2. Then, thinly slice purple cabbage and chopped broccoli
  3. Next, layer avocado slices
  4. Grate zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, radish
  5. Add sprouts
  6. Next, add garbanzo or white beans
  7. Then, add nuts and seeds

Layer veggies over greens. Finish with a vinaigrette of your choice. See dressing recipes below for ideas.

Chili-Lime Salad Dressing

wholefully.com

Zest and juice of 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons juice and 3 teaspoons zest)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

wholefully.com

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Smoked Salmon Salad Nicoise

This twist on a classic salad Niçoise uses smoked salmon in place of tuna and adds extra vegetables in place of hard-boiled eggs and olives.

½ small cucumber, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
12 small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 ounces small red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
6 ounces green beans, preferably thin haricots verts, trimmed and halved
6 cups mixed salad greens

Dressing:
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp dried dill
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Place potatoes in a steamer basket over the boiling water, cover and steam until tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes with a slotted spoon to ice water. Add green beans to steamer, cover and steam until tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer green beans with a slotted spoon to ice water. Transfer potatoes and beans to a towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, dill and pepper in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and green beans, salad greens, cucumber and tomatoes; toss gently to coat. Divide the salad and smoked salmon between 2 plates.

Shrimp & Avocado Salad

Peppery fresh radishes complement sweet shrimp and creamy avocado in this quick salad.

1 pound large peeled, deveined cooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
3 small ripe avocados, cubed
½ cup thinly sliced radishes
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions

Dressing:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
12 cups mixed greens or chopped romaine lettuce
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Gently stir shrimp, avocados, radishes and scallions together in a medium bowl. Whisk oil, lime juice, ginger, sugar, salt and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the shrimp mixture; gently stir to coat well. Divide greens (or lettuce) among plates; top evenly with the shrimp mixture and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Simple, light and delicious.

2 pounds of heirloom tomatoes
2 eggs
3 small round shallots, thinly sliced into circles
2 tbsp capers
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Fresh herbs of choice, roughly chopped (optional)

Hard boil eggs (7-8 mins), run under cold water, peel and half. Slice tomatoes and lay on a large platter, scatter with the onions and capers then drizzle with the best olive oil. Push the eggs through a fine sieve (or grate the eggs on medium grate) and sprinkle on top. Salt and pepper to taste.

Use these recipes and other Healthy Nest favorites to keep energy levels up this summer. For more info on feeling your best through smarter food choices, contact our holistic nutritionists. It’s a personal puzzle, but we can assist in figuring out what’s best for your body.

Book a free 20-minute consultation with Healthy Nest Nutrition owner Robin Hutchinson to see if our programs are right for you.

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Beginning July 2021, Robin is happy to meet in person again if you're comfortable and vaccinated. Virtual meetings via Zoom are still an option if you prefer. Please let us know your preference when scheduling your session.

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