Ten tips for summer salads

Ideas for making tasty, cool summer salads.

Photo by Beth Waitrovich
Photo by Beth Waitrovich

Summer salads are cool, tasty and refreshing! I especially like salads with lots of crunchy greens and a handful of Arugula to give it that peppery bite. Here are ten tips for making the best summer salads:

  1. Add some fruit such as cut up strawberries or blueberries. Fresh berries are now in season and add extra nutrients and a sweet pop to your salad.
  2. Top your salad with toasted nuts. To toast nuts such as pecans or almonds, melt a small amount of butter in a sauté pan. Toss in the nuts and stir until you can smell the toasted fragrance of the nuts. You can also toast the nuts without the butter. It only takes several minutes, so watch them carefully because you can easily burn the nuts. Allow the nuts to cool before chopping into smaller pieces and adding to your salad.
  3. Cut up cooked chicken breast or hard boiled eggs (or both) to bring high quality protein to your salad, especially if you are making a meal out of salad. Make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before cutting into bite sized pieces and cooling it in the refrigerator.
  4. Michigan State University Extension recommends always washing your salad green with cold running water to get rid of any soil from the garden/field. Drain the greens well using a salad spinner or colander. Then pat the greens dry.
  5. To keep leafy green in good condition, store them in a plastic food storage bag with some holes poked in it to let moisture escape.
  6. Store your washed greens in the refrigerator away from any raw meats, poultry or fish to protect it from cross contamination.
  7. A small amount of salad dressing will go a long way. Salad dressing adds fat and sodium to your salad. Try adding a tablespoon at a time and tossing it well to evenly distribute the dressing.
  8. For even more control over sodium and calories, make your own salad dressing by combining flavored vinegars, garlic and oil. If desired, add a bit of honey for sweetness.
  9. Try seasoning your salad with minced fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, cilantro and mint to give it added flavor without added calories.
  10. Make salad mixtures ahead of time for your lunch and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to leave for the day. Keep your salad cold by using a cooler with an ice pack. Avoid adding any dressing until ready to eat to keep it from getting soggy.

Preparing a healthy, delicious salad for a meal or a side dish is easy, quick and also nutritious. Try some today!

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