5 Creative Recipes for Summer Salads You'll Love

5 Creative Recipes for Summer Salads You'll Love

You'll Love Summer is coming, and it’s time to start getting ready for the light palette that comes with it! Warmer weather has a tendency to make our bodies crave less-dense cuisine to help increase our intake of water. The best way to enjoy a salad is with the veggies from your very own garden. In Polk County, we have a lot of land ready for you to take ownership in time to plant your summer salad harvest.

Here are a few ideas for salads you can try so that you can incorporate your delicious homegrown produce into some satisfying meals and sides this season.

1. Spinach Salad

Strawberries are always a big hit during the summer, and here’s a salad that features them. Spinach is a great staple to get your iron, so add a little chicken for protein and you could make a whole meal of it.

Mix spinach, a can of mandarin oranges, a pint of sliced strawberries, ¼ cup of pecans, and a sesame seed dressing. This salad is best made fresh – if you leave the fruit in overnight, the greens and nuts will get mushy.

2. Summer Corn Salad

Once your corn has come around, it’s hard to hold back. But there are only so many times you can barbeque a cob. And what do you do with the leftovers? The cobs that have some good corn, some not? Take the best of what you’ve got to add to a salad. There are plenty of corn salad recipes, so feel free to throw in (or omit) whatever you’ve got.

Mix together corn cut from the cob, 1 diced avocado, ¼ cup chopped onion, 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes, and herbs and spices to taste. (Cilantro is recommended, but basil works well too!) Top and mix together with a little lime juice and a red wine vinaigrette, and chill before serving.

3. Blueberry Broccoli Salad

Blueberries are a favorite summer fruit, but they don’t have to be limited to just breakfast and dessert. Broccoli salads lend themselves to the sweet taste of this summer staple. Other berries could give the same effect, so try whatever you’ve got.

Mix together 1 ½ lbs. of bite-sized broccoli, 1 cup fresh blueberries, ¼ cup sunflower seeds, 1 large apple (chopped), ½ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup chopped red onion (optional), and 1 T lemon juice. Add a creamy yogurt dressing if you prefer not to use the traditional mayonnaise dressing. Toss together and refrigerate until used.

4. Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a great way to use those cherry tomatoes you’re about to bring in. And when you are looking for a chilled side dish to help fill up a meal or bring to a picnic, you can’t go wrong with this traditional salad.

Mix together 1 lb. cooked and cooled rotini pasta, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, 8 oz. mozzarella balls, 8 oz. cheddar cheese cubes, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste. Add ¾ cup Italian dressing and toss.

5. Summer Berry Cheesecake

Salad You can’t plan a summer meal without a cold, creamy dessert to go with it! Give this one a try:

Combine 1 lb. hulled and sliced strawberries, 9 oz. blueberries, 9 oz. raspberries and set aside. Mix 8 oz. cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, then slowly add in ½ cup vanilla coffee creamer and whip until smooth. Fold in berries and chill until ready to serve.

Salads don’t have to be boring. If nothing above suits your fancy, get even more creative. Take the idea and just throw in whatever you’ve got.

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