Readers’ Summer Salad Ideas

salad The markets are bursting with bright, beautiful salad ingredients—and after going through the responses from this week’s salad contest, we’re feeling more inspired than ever. Check out our commenters’ favorite summer salads for some great tips on how to create your own. From effortless versions plucked straight from the garden to elaborate creations that make use of the grill, you’ll find ideas for every palate. Hearty Salads: Baby spinach with seared sirloin steak, and crumbled Gorgonzola, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. Shaved fennel with crispy prosciutto, raspberries, Greek extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, and fresh mint. Octopus, shrimp, squid, and smoked salmon with avocado, fennel fronds, white wine, olive oil, crème fraîche, and star anise. Mixed greens with grilled chicken, blueberries, strawberries, and shredded cheese. Greens with chicken, avocado, corn, and pecans. Butter lettuce with grilled chicken breast, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, pine nuts, goat cheese, and dried cranberries, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. Mixed greens with grilled chicken or salmon tossed with lemon vinaigrette. Loose-leaf lettuce with bacon, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and ranch dressing. Spring mix lettuce with jumbo shrimp, avocado, pineapple, and raspberry vinaigrette. Fava beans with aged sausage or salami and sharp provolone cheese. Asparagus ribbons, freshly–grated Parmesan, minced garlic, and anchovies, tossed with lemon vinaigrette and flaked sea salt. Vegetarian Salads: Grilled romaine lettuce with shaved Parmesan, toasted pine nuts, strawberries, and a balsamic glaze. Baby spinach with blueberries and toasted walnuts. Boiled fingerling potatoes, sweet corn, fresh baby peas, hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and ricotta salata, tossed with an olive oil–lemon juice dressing. Caprese salad: fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Spring greens with hard-boiled egg, avocado, and fresh tomatoes. Garden-fresh lettuce with summer squash, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. Baby spinach with pine nuts, bleu cheese, and a simple vinaigrette. Grilled corn kernels with diced heirloom tomatoes, cannellini beans, and grilled onions. Spring greens with figs, mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, shaved Asiago cheese, and a splash of white balsamic vinegar. Heirloom tomatoes with yellow corn, Chioggia beets, Romano beans, string beans, fresh basil, and lemon–Dijon vinaigrette. Baby greens with sliced strawberries, Mandarin oranges, and balsamic vinaigrette. Arugula with sous-vide beets, chèvre, orange segments, marcona almonds, fried garlic chips, and lime–thyme vinaigrette. Yukon gold and sweet potatoes with a sriracha-spiced dressing. Spring greens with apple and pear chunks, strawberries, blueberries, toasted almonds or pecans, warmed rounds of goat cheese, and a light, fruity vinaigrette. Arugula and beets with fresh figs, toasted pecans, crumbled bleu cheese, and a white balsamic–mustard vinaigrette. Grilled corn and peaches with pickled watermelon rind, roasted red peppers, shallots, and a pickle juice–mirin vinaigrette. Heirloom tomatoes with aged cheddar, arugula, red onions, and a balsamic reduction. Marinated vine-ripened tomatoes with gherkin cucumbers, oak–smoked yellow onions, and basil. Arugula and romaine lettuce with cherry tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, cucumbers, minced garlic, shaved Parmesan, and toasted sunflower seeds. Plum and cherry tomatoes with fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and sea salt. Boston or butter lettuce cups filled with halved cherry tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts, and a walnut–mustard vinaigrette. Pasta/Grain Salads: Cold vermicelli noodles with fresh veggies, warm chicken satay, peanut sauce, and a light lime–rice wine vinaigrette. Penne with thinly sliced red onions, Mandarin oranges, fresh basil leaves, and a sweet Thai chili sauce. Tri-color rotini with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, green onion, fresh mozzarella, honey, and Italian dressing. Orzo with artichoke hearts, capers, champagne vinegar, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Rigatoni with shrimp, crab, fresh veggies, and shredded Parmesan. Couscous with Chioggia beets, sliced avocado, red onion, and pomegranate seeds.

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