Seven Summer Salads | Staff Picks
By Nutritional Weight & Wellness Staff
June 27, 2023
As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, more seasonal foods become available at our local markets and our bodies start to crave those seasonal foods too. We know our Nutritional Weight & Wellness community hails from all over the world, but for us located in Minnesota, we LIVE for these summer days after a long cold winter. We are ready to put the stew and chili recipes away and trade them in for more fresh, cold dishes.
One of the many perks to working for a nutrition company is being surrounded by coworkers who have delicious, healthy meals made from easy, exciting recipes. Let’s bring you into the fold and share with you some of our staff’s favorite salads you can include in your summer round-up!
Sonoma Chicken Salad
Our founder Dar Kvist says she loves this option for throwing on lettuce leaves or other salad ingredients like tomatoes and cucumbers. Some co-ops or organic whole food stores make their salads with quality mayo, but this recipe is easy to make on your own, so you know you’re using the best. Fun fact: this is the salad we’d share during our in-person Menopause Survival Seminars because it’s a crowd favorite!
2 c. rotisserie chicken (diced)
1 c. celery (diced)
2 Tbsp cold-pressed mayonnaise
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp pure maple syrup (optional)
20 grapes (sliced in half)
¼ c. pecans (chopped)
1 tsp poppy seeds
Mix in a large bowl and stir.
Makes 2 servings | Gluten free and dairy free
Choose Your Own Topping Adventure Salad
This salad starts with a base of your favorite greens, then gets super adventurous from there. Our NutriKey inventory manager Jackie says, “I’ll be honest, I like my salad with lots of toppings!! I’m not a big fan of dressing, so I usually do hummus instead and add some kind of fruit for sweetness and acidity.” There are no rules with this salad and everything is fair game. Here’s an outline to get you started, then choose your own adventure for your tastebuds!:
Salad greens of choice
- Sweet/citrus/acidity combo: apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes
- Handful of crunchies: cashews, pecans, pepitas, or your favorite nuts or seeds
- Nutrient-dense extras: hardboiled egg for extra protein, avocado for extra healthy fat
- Warm protein on top: chicken is Jackie’s go-to since it’s easiest to pair with other stuff, but any leftover proteins would work, like ground beef, pulled pork, meatballs
- Dressing of choice! Or if you’re like Jackie, a hummus made from a quality oil
Salmon Salad Supreme
Carol, our education and class coordinator, has another crowd favorite to share! “I just had a weekend gathering where I brought this salad which was a hit at the party. It was super simple to make plus gluten and dairy free. The recipe makes three servings, so I doubled it for more. Serve it with greens for more veggie carbs even though there are peas and celery in it.” A great source of protein and it holds up well for a few days, so it’s a great dish to make for lunches.
2 — 7.5 oz. can water-packed salmon, drained
1 c. celery, diced
¼ c. green onion, chopped
1 c. frozen peas
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
5 large ripe olives, sliced
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp dried basil leaves
¼ tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Makes 3 servings | Gluten free and dairy free
For those of you who are fish lovers, Chef Marianne, who teaches our virtual cooking classes, has the perfect thing. “I love a Niçoise salad with young green beans, little red potatoes, fresh dill, red onions, and I often switch out the protein for sardines, or canned salmon, but traditionally it is tuna. And of course, you can't forget the olives, all tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette.”
For the dressing
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 anchovy, chopped [optional]
For the salad
1 c. small red potatoes, cut in half
2 c. fresh green beans, stems trimmed
6 ounces skipjack tuna (in water) or canned salmon or sardines, drained\
¼ c. kalamata olives, drained
¼ c. thinly sliced red onion
1 Tbsp capers, drained
1 c. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
1 tsp salt
- First, make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a jar fitted with a lid, close tightly, shake well, and set aside.
- Add the potatoes to a medium pot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch and 1 tsp salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a rolling simmer, and cook until fork-tender about 15 minutes. Use a strainer to transfer the potatoes from the pot, reserving the hot water. Place the potatoes in a bowl then while still warm, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette dressing and set aside to cool.
- Add the green beans to the pot of hot water and simmer for 1 minute or until the green beans turn bright green. Drain the water and set the beans aside to cool.
- On a large platter, arrange the fish, potatoes, green beans, halved tomatoes, boiled eggs, olives, red onion, & capers. Drizzle the salad with 2 more Tbsp of the dressing and serve as an entrée salad.
Makes 2 servings | Gluten free and dairy free
Analisa, one of our graphic designers, loves this salad to use up the shredded chicken they make off the Traeger smoker grill, which makes this a great option for summer grillin’. She says, “this also works great with pulled pork, sliced steak, and ground beef… easy to use any leftover meat reheated with taco seasoning.” Use your own favorite taco ingredients – here’s the combo Analisa uses to get you started:
Spinach (or any greens you have)
Taco seasoned meat like shredded chicken, pulled pork, sliced steak, ground beef
Sprouted pumpkin seeds
Crumbled goat cheese
Speaking of grilling, how about we skip the bun and make it into a salad instead? More veggies, but that same burger flavor. A great way to use leftover burgers (if you’re firing up the grill, might as well make extra!) or easy to whip up some ground beef on a weeknight. Here are Analisa’s tips for ingredients and delish dressing:
Finely diced onion
Ground beef (salt, pepper, garlic power) or chopped-up burgers from the grill
Burger sauce dressing:
A little ketchup
Splash of white vinegar
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of pepper
Dash of paprika
Green Goddess Mason Jar Salad
Love all the seasonal veggies from the Farmer’s Market or your garden? Laurie, our general manager, has got you covered with this salad you can throw in a jar using the variety you have on hand from the market. “I love the salads in a jar – easy to grab and go and I prep a few at a time,” she says, “fortunately, my hubby loves to grill and he will grill a few salmon portions, some chicken, and a steak so we have options of protein. And the Green Goddess dressing recipe from our own Chef Marianne is my go-to! This recipe varies from what herbs I have on hand.” Another “choose your own adventure salad”, you’ll never get bored and you’ll be able to use up what comes out of your garden. Here are some ideas from Laurie to get you started:
Add the protein at the bottom of the jar
Layer up all the veggies and greens: play around with greens and veggies in season
Early season veggies: radish for crunch, snap peas, pea pods, asparagus
Mid-season veggies: cucumbers, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini
Sprouted sunflower seeds for extra crunch
Green Goddess dressing: carry along separately to top when you sit down to eat OR put it in the bottom of the jar with the protein
Green Goddess Dressing Recipe:
3/4 c. plain, full-fat yogurt
1/3 c. avocado mayo
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh dill (chopped)
2 Tbsp fresh basil (chopped)
2 Tbsp green onion (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Add the above ingredients to a food processor or small blender and puree it until it is smooth.
- If it gets too thick, add a little bit of water.
Makes 8 servings (serving size: 2 Tbsp) | Gluten free
So there you have it! Seven summer salads from our staff to keep you satisfied all season long. Let us know in the comments if you have other salad recipe favorites and tag Nutritional Weight & Wellness in your salad posts so we can share in the veggie-lovin’ celebration. Happy munching!
For more information on healthy summer eating, check out these resources: