The Perfect Summer Salads

Loaded Chicken Taco Salad, Recipe provided below (adapted from Averie Cooks)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • one 1.25-ounce packet taco seasoning, divided (I use reduced sodium, medium heat)
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce
  • 1 or 2 medium tomatoes, diced (I use vine-ripened; Roma or cherry tomatoes may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup canned corn, drained (fresh or frozen may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium Hass avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I use a monterey Jack and cheddar blend)
  • 1 cup seasoned tortilla chips, crushed (I crush Doritos in my palm)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (lite okay)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (lite okay, plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice, or as necessary for flavor and consistency
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional and to taste

How to:

  1. To a large skillet, add the olive oil, chicken, evenly sprinkle with 1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, flipping intermittently so all sides cook evenly. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts and sizes of pieces. Allow chicken to rest in pan off the heat while you assemble the salad.
  2. To a large platter, add the lettuce, and evenly sprinkle with the tomatoes, corn, black beans, avocado, cheese, tortilla chips, and chicken; set aside.
  3. To a small bowl, add the mayo, sour cream, lime juice, 1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning, and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the cilantro and stir to incorporate. Add additional lime juice to thin out dressing if desired.
  5. Taste dressing and depending on how much lime juice was used, add sugar to taste. Evenly drizzle dressing over salad. Extra dressing will keep airtight for up to 5 days in the fridge and makes a great veggie dip.

Greek Salad, Recipe provided below (adapted from Damn Delicious)

Yields 2 Servings

Ingredients:

FOR THE SALAD 

  • 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR THE LEMON VINAIGRETTE

Directions:

  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon zest and juice and sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
  • To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, goat cheese and pepper, to taste. Pour dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately.

 


Easy Summer Pasta Salad, Recipe provided below (adapted from two peas & their pod)

Yield: Serves 8-10    Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound dry pasta (we used farfalle)
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 small orange bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 large seedless cucumber, chopped
1 (12 oz) jar artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup store bought balsamic dressing (use your favorite brand)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped basil
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain, then rinse with cold water to cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine pasta, peppers, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes. Pour the balsamic dressing over the pasta salad and gently stir to combine. Add the feta cheese and basil and stir again. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to serve.


Paleo Chinese Chicken Salad, Recipe provided below (adapted from Linda Wagner)

Ingredients:

FOR THE SALAD

  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 head of a large Napa Cabbage, chopped into very thin strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbs black sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashews (optional)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, torn into shreds
  • 1/4 cup Tamari (tamari is a gluten free soy sauce) or regular soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs finely minced ginger (I peeled fresh ginger and used this hand held food processorto mince – You can also do it by hand but I find this process much faster and easier!)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs Hoisin sauce (I like this brand best, you can usually find it in the Asian section at your grocery store)
  • 1 Tbs Toasted Sesame Oil 
  • 1 tsp Spicy Chili Oil (optional but I had it on hand and knew it would make a great addition!)
  • 1 tsp Sriracha or more if you like it spicy!
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 5 chopped green onions, green and white parts

FOR THE DRESSING

  • In a small mason jar with lid add tamari, vinegar, minced ginger, olive oil, hoisin sauce, toasted sesame oil, chili oil, sriracha, sea salt and chopped green onions. Secure the lid and shake vigorously. Set aside.
  • Next, put chopped cabbage, shredded carrots, cilantro, sesame seeds, cashews, shredded chicken, and enough dressing to coat (around half) into a large plastic bag, seal, and shake vigorously until well incorporated. Adjust amount of dressing as needed.

Directions:

  1. Pour into bowls or onto plates.
  2. Serves 4.
  3. Enjoy!

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing, Recipe provided below (adapted from the recipe critic)

Prep Time:  14 MINS     Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 4 cups romaine, chopped
  • 2 cups strawberries, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • Strawberry Balsamic Dressing:
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. To make the strawberry balsamic dressing: In a food processor or blender, pulse the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl toss the chicken, romaine, strawberries, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and sliced almonds. Toss with dressing or drizzle on top of served portions.

 


Fruit Salad with a Twist, Recipe provided below (adapted from pip & ebby)

Ingredients:

  • Half of a watermelon, seeded and chopped
  • Half of a cantaloupe, chopped
  • 1 pineapple, chopped
  • 16-oz. container strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 2 cups grapes
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • Two 6-oz. containers raspberries
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup dry vanilla pudding mix

Instructions:

  1. Combine all fruit in a large bowl. Squirt the lemon juice over the top and carefully mix in the pudding mix. Chill until ready to serve!

Bon appetit!