Easy Summer Dinner Salads

Easy Dinner Salad Ideas

It’s a Toss-Up.
Cool and crisp. Crunchy and crave-inducing. We’ve got ways to toss-up your salad routine just in time for summer.


Salads can be deceptively simple. When you order one at a restaurant, it seems like a few fruits and veggies are tossed together in a vinaigrette and voila! Inevitably, however, this illusion becomes a little harder to master in the kitchen. There are so many choices from the type of lettuce to the veggies you put on top. With just a few steps, however, it’s easy to learn the basics and turn out green masterpieces.


Step One: Make Your Bed
If you’re going for a standard salad, you’ll want to start with a bed of some sort of leafy greens. The options are endless, but here’s a quick field guide to the different taste and texture profiles:


●       Romaine - Crisp, grows on ribs, slightly bitter
●       Spinach - A bit bitter, but come in distinct leaves
●       Leaf lettuce - Mild and soft
●       Kale - Bitter, crunchy, and packed with nutrients
●       Arugula - Peppery and flavorful
●       Salad blends - spring mix, baby spinach mix, herb mix

Don’t be scared to mix it up! You can try part romaine part kale or part spinach part arugula. Layering lettuces can amp up your salad in an oh-so-subtle way.


Step Two: Top It Off
It’s game time, you’ve got your bed of greens and you’re ready to top them with meat, nuts, cheese, fruits and veggies. The key to a great salad is to have something full of flavor, varied texture (we’re looking at you, nuts), and a tasty dressing.


Build your salad to your flavor profile. If you’re running short of berries, it’s fine to swap something in its place. You can also build salads using leftovers and things you have around the house. Too much broccoli on hand from a casserole the night before? Leftover rotisserie chicken or flank steak? Toss it in your salad. Roasted veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, and bell peppers are also great additions to spring salads.


Creative Salad Topping Ideas: 

●       Lean Beef -  Try sliced sirloin, flank steak or lean ground beef.
●       Chicken - Breast or thigh, grilled or fried, chicken is the perfect salad companion.
●       Seafood - Grilled salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids.
●       Fruit - Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mangos, sliced citrus or dried cranberries.
●       Nuts & Seeds - Almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, try toasting them for extra flavor!
●       Vegetables - Mix it up with artichoke hearts, asparagus, bell pepper, beets or corn.
●       Cheese - Goat cheese, feta, blue cheese, Parmesan are all full of flavor.
●       Avocado - Slice it, dice it, or use a spoonful (or two) of guacamole.

Step 3: Playing Dress Up
Take salads with you wherever you go. They’re easy to take on the go because they are so compact. You’ll just want to pack your dressing apart from your dry ingredients to keep the leaves from getting soggy. For light, summer salads, look for vinaigrettes and oil-based dressings.


Here are a few salad combinations that we like:

Avocado Berry Salad
Thai Basil Beef Salad
Peach and Pluot salad
Spring Vegetable Pasta Salad
Sassy Summer Salad
Sliced Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Salad
Bombay Chicken Salad
Strawberry & Almond Salad with Pear Vinaigrette
Flank Steak Salad

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