7 Sexy Simple Summer Salads

By Jessica Campbell, MS, FNTP

In the heat of the summer, who wants to crank up the oven and stand by a hot stove? Wouldn't you like to be outside enjoying the sunshine and wonderful produce. Summer fruits and vegetables are so gorgeous raw, they rarely need more than a few complementary ingredients to create sexy simple summer salads.

The trick to an amazing salad is to have the most delicious, fresh, high quality ingredients. I recommend farmer's markets because the produce is more often picked when ripe and not traveled across continents in containers. When produce is picked ripe, the flavor is more intense and often more sweet. Fresh herbs and the right oil and vinegar alone can make the salad flavors pop, so skip the store bought bottled dressings. Bottled dressings are mostly made of sugar and cheap oils, which is definitely not sexy.

This is not baking, so feel free to substitute, change it up and experiment. I recommend to use only ingredients you love.

1 - Easy Peasy Caprese

  • Slice up beautiful vine ripened tomatoes
  • Layer between the tomatoes, slices of whole milk mozzarella
  • Add to the pattern, whole basil leaves
  • Drizzle on the best balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) you can buy
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper

2 - It's Greek to Me

  • Dice crisp cucumbers and tomatoes and toss together
  • Add goat or sheep's milk feta cut in squares
  • Chop parsley and throw in some olives cut in half, pit removed
  • Use this basic vinaigrette or squeeze a little lemon and drizzle some EVOO
  • Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper

3 - Valley Center Salad

I grew up in Valley Center, home of the citrus groves and avocado groves. Picking the fruit off trees on my walk home from school made it very hard as an adult to pay premium prices for them in the stores. When my mom comes to visit, bearing those delicious orbs, I make this salad.  My favorite citrus to use in the salad is ruby red grapefruit.

  • Slice up pink grapefruits and red onions
  • Let the onions soak in the grapefruit juice to "cook"
  • Top with avocado slices and fennel slices
  • Add a simple 1/2 squeezed grapefruit juice and EVOO drizzle
  • 1 tsp. of white wine or champagne vinegar will really pop the flavors
  • Season with sea salt and fennel fronds

4 - Simple Green Salad

  • Begin with a basic vinaigrette in your salad bowl
  • Add a chopped shallot fresh parsley, sea salt and pepper
  • Chop up a beautiful head of lettuce or use baby greens
  • Toss in broken raw walnuts
  • Crumble in blue cheese or gorgonzola
  • Add sliced apple

This salad can vary by the nut or seed, type of cheese, and fruit or vegetable.

5 - Taco Salad Bar

Popular with kids because they like to make their own choices.  Place each item in it's own bowl and let everyone prepare their own.

  • Shred up crisp lettuce or green cabbage in a large salad bowl
  • Chop tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, sliced radishes, sliced avocado, crumbled cotija cheese, and/or black beans
  • Cook up ground meat in homemade seasoning: 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. cumin and 1 tsp. sea salt
  • Serve bowls of whole fat sour cream, fresh salsa and guacamole
  • Don't forget the tortilla chips!

6 - Smoked Trout Salad

  • Chop up a fresh head of butter lettuce in a salad bowl
  • Add a handful of chopped green onions
  • Tear off pieces of smoked trout
  • Place a handful of raw cashews on a skillet and gently toast
  • Toss in cashews, apple slices and some watercress (or micro greens, aka sprouts)
  • Squeeze 1/2 lemon or lime and drizzle a quality olive oil over the top
  • Add a splash of sherry vinegar on the salad to wake up the flavors
  • Toss it all with sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

7 - If You Must Have Fruit Salad

The important part of a fruit salad is adding enough healthy fat to slow down the sugar rush from the fruit.  For this reason and because it is delicious, indulge in the cream.

  • Chop up any seasonal fruit combination you like
  • Include 1/2 of any citrus to keep the fruit from browning
  • Try serving fruit salad over whole fat greek yoghurt or whipped cream
  • Add coconut chips or flakes for another healthy fat

Bonus - Fresh Whipped Cream

Fresh whipped cream on fruit is awesome. We make whipped cream with the best organic whole cream we can find.  To make whipped cream, we use Mosa Whipped Cream Dispenser

It takes 1 minute.

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. real maple syrup (skip if your on a detox...it's still awesome without)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract