Healthy and Tasty Summer Salads

imageSummer is nearly here, and are you ready? The family wants to eat lighter foods. If you have kids, they are on vacation and hungry all the time. You want to be spending free time outside and not in the kitchen. And the hot weather makes any dish with a long cooking time unappealing.

So what’s the solution? Salads, of course. A wide range of salads can make a meal, suitable to be whipped up as soon as you get home, or to pack in a cooler for a spontaneous picnic.

If you’re a traditionalist like me, you’ll want three elements in your meal: A variety of vegetables, at least one protein, and carbohydrate. There’s an endless amount of variety

Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Proteins
    • Cooked or canned chickpeas, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, dried peas, lentils,
    • Canned tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel
    • Leftover fish, beef, chicken
    • Feta or farmer’s cheese, or other low-fat cheese
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Peanuts
    • Frozen peas
    • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Vegetables
    • Raw greens including spinach, lettuce, kale, beet or turnip greens.
    • Fresh or frozen broccoli or cauliflower florets
    • Onions of various colors
    • Carrots, grated or chopped
    • Tomatoes (always add at the end)
    • Herbs, including mint, sage, chives, basil, thyme, dill, and more.
    • Celery
    • Celeriac or parsnip
    • Cooked vegetables like beets, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots
    • Defrosted frozen vegetables including edemame, corn, mixed vegetables
    • Peppers
    • Mushrooms
    • Fresh or canned corn (I avoid this as most people get too much corn in other foods)
    • Fruits including pineapple, apples, olives, avocado, pears, grapes, peaches, dried fruits (in small amounts)
  • Carbohydrates/Starch
    • Cooked potatoes
    • Pasta. Tip: Couscous cooks the fastest.
    • Croutons
    • Bulgur (doesn’t need to be cooked, only soaked)
    • Barley
    • Buckwheat
    • Quinoa
    • Rice
  • Healthy Dressings
    • Tehina (sesame paste with garlic, lemon juice, cumin and enough water to achieve desired consistency),
    • Olive oil and lemon juice
    • Pesto or other herb dressing
    • Yogurt dressing
    • Salsa

    Here are a few more tips for summer salads:

    1. Instead of adding a carbohydrate to the salad, serve the salad with a hearty loaf of home-made or prepared whole-grain bread.
    2. Make a “salad bar” so everyone can choose whatever elements they like.
    3. Now is the time to get your kids involved. Invest in an extra cutting board and knife and teach them safe knife skills.
    4. Cook beans or grains in large quantities, then store in smaller quantities in the refrigerator or freezer.
    5. Wash and prepare ingredients in advance so you can pull everything together quickly.
    6. Layer the salad instead of tossing it, for more visual appeal.
    7. Watch out for excess sugar and fat. Not all salads are equally healthy.
    8. Keep your family safe and refrigerate leftovers right away.

      Summer Salad Recipes:

      Quinoa TabboulehCool No-Cook Summer Salad: TabboulehBeet Salad with YogurtChicken Salad with Green Onions, Ginger, GarlicGreek Salad with Feta Cheese and Olives

  • Photo: catsper


  1. That was my style post… lots of ideas, no rules.

    My kids don’t really get the idea of a salad. …the harmony of ingredients together, even if one is not your favorite. Even pasta salad, they fight over who got more olives. They still see it as individual items in a pile.

    My friend told me about a salad we saw in a Tnuva magazine: chickpeas, roasted (I think) bell peppers, chopped parsley, and feta cheese. Looked yummy, filling, and easy.

  2. Thank you for your tips and suggestions.

  3. I find myself turning to salads all the time in the hot weather. Great ideas here. thanks!

  4. mommymommymommy says

    Great ideas! I like to have bowls of different things and then the kids can put together something they want. It’s like our own personal salad bar! And I do not have to hear how someone doesn;t like what I am serving. There are plenty of choices for everyone!

  5. Joyce Kuras says

    I want to share a Soy Cheesecake recipe. Here it is. Let me know if you like it. It was on the Chabad Org site.

    Cheeseless Cheesecake

    This cheesecake is so good and tastes so much like cheese that it is hard to believe it isn’t. Perfect to serve with a meat meal or for those that are lactose intolerant. Excellent with strawberries, chocolate shavings or just plain as it comes out of the oven looking beautiful. This recipe is so easy and is virtually impossible to mess up!


    2 containers of Tofutti cream cheese (make sure to get plain and not a flavored version)

    2 eggs

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    1/2 cup of sugar

    1 teaspoon of vanilla

    Ready to use graham cracker pie crust

    Mix all ingredients together. Easiest when the “cream cheese” is first mashed with a fork. Use an electric hand blender for a few seconds just to get rid of any remaining lumps.

    Pour into the pie crust. Should fill to exactly the top.

    Cook uncovered for 1/2 an hour at 350 degrees. If after 1/2 hour the top is still liquidy, cook another 10 minutes or so until it is starting to turn brown. Cool completely before serving. Enjoy!

    • Joyce, thanks so much. I prefer dairy to soy but I’m sure many readers will appreciate this dairy-free version.