The Secret Behind Creating the Perfect Healthy Summer Salad

The Secret Behind Creating the Perfect Healthy Summer Salad

The Secret Behind Creating the Perfect Healthy Summer Salad

A delicious, cool, crisp and filling salad is always a perfect and healthy option for a casual lunch, dinner or as a side to accompany other dishes. With blue skies and sunshine and balmy evenings abounding, salad season really comes into its own in summer. 

And remember, a good salad is NOT a forgettable meal of soggy lettuce and tomato wedges! You can fill up on HEALTHY carbs and feel GREAT about it. 

Believe me, salads can truly become the starring role of your summer, if you know how to build them correctly. 

Farm Fresh and Seasonal 

It’s the season of outdoor farmer’s markets filled with colorful produce. If you’re lucky enough to have a local farmer’s market near you, head right there and browse the freshest, most seasonal ingredients straight from the fields and gardens of your neighborhood. 

Eating seasonally is a great way to ensure constant surprise and creativity with your salads. You might never have considered adding strawberries, or sugar snap peas for example! When you eat seasonally, it means less time has passed between harvest and your own plate! That means less travel time, more nutrients and better flavor.

Try to always use the freshest ingredients as you can. Avoid using the wrinkly cucumbers and limp carrots that have been hanging out in the back of your fridge

The Secret is in the Chopping and Cutting 

The way you chop or cut your ingredients can make or break your salad, believe it or not. Chunky salads with big pieces of vegetables are awkward to chew, and they feel different in your mouth. 

The way you slice a cucumber or a tomato actually changes the way it tastes! Finely chopped kale or lettuce is very different to big leaves that are tricky to navigate into your mouth. 

Learning to properly chip, dice, slice, shred or mince your ingredients will make them combine better in the salad, plus you will get more flavor on your fork, AND it looks neater and more appetizing. 

Element of Surprise 

The most spectacular and unforgettable salads often have an unexpected ingredient that stands out and makes it special. Think marinated beets, grilled zucchini, marinated eggplant, roasted garbanzos, roasted whole garlic, or watermelon chunks, sliced strawberries, mango, and papaya. Add to that some zingy goat cheese, feta, or blue cheese crumbles. 

Think about unique and compatible pairings, such as cooked red beans, sweetcorn and cilantro, or mango, cucumber, and avocado with lime juice. 

Then go crazy adding your choice of organic seeds such as hemp, sesame, chia, or sunflower or homemade croutons, or seaweed sprinkles. 

Delicious Dressings 

A good dressing can be the difference between an average salad and an amazing one! 

Experiment with different oils, such as hemp or avocado oil. Try blending a little tahini with lemon juice and dijon mustard, then add some chopped herbs such as parsley or cilantro. 

Sometimes, a simple olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt is all your salad will need!

For those really watching calories, you can make delicious dressings with water and tahini or blended cashews. This creates a thick dressing without oil. 

Remember this Easy Salad Template

How to Build the Salad

  1. Lay your foundation with leafy and cruciferous vegetables. 
  2. Add color and texture with non-starchy vegetables and fruit. 
  3. Fill up and bulk up the salad with starchy vegetables and whole grains. 
  4. Add in beans or a blend of legumes or cubed tofu.
  5. Sprinkle some extras like olives, mushrooms, or seaweed flakes. 
  6. Add crunch and boost flavor with a sprinkle of raw nuts and seeds. 
  7. For the final touch, add your dressing! 

You will be amazed at what a startling difference it makes when you put a little extra time and energy into selecting and preparing your salad ingredients. 

Top Tip: Use a nice salad bowl! Presentation is really so important. Not only will any guests you have appreciate it, but a salad presented in a beautiful bowl will make you more likely to want to eat it too.