Summer Salads That Satisfy

May 11, 2018

As the days heat up, we are less and less inclined to light all four burners, the oven and the grill to prepare our meals. Nor should we!


It’s time to step away from the stove a bit and create delicious, lighter fare to sustain us through the summer weather to come.


Salads can be…salads or they can be interesting, exciting, sexy and oh, so satisfying. Main course salads are easy to make, require very little prep time and can be as varied as you’d like.


I am big on textures so I tend to make salads with lots of variety so that we’re getting balanced nutrition and each bite is…different. I incorporate whole grains, beans, lots of seasonal veggies, some cooked, some raw. I add nuts, dried and fresh fruit so that each salad I make is unique and fresh, wonderful and filled with flavor.


Make your salads as simple or complex as you desire. But be sure that you’re getting plenty of nutrient-dense ingredients so that you’re not hungry in between meals.


Some of my recipes here are personal “classics” and some are brand, spankin’ new!


And if you make a salad you love, share the recipe and a photo to my social media playgrounds so we can all drool over your creations…and then make them ourselves!


Marinated Celery Salad with Chickpeas

I know what you’re thinking. Celery salad? This much-overlooked veggie is so delicious in salads or as the main ingredient in one. I love, love, love this salad on a hot summer night and I think you will too.


Makes 3-4 servings


2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

⅓  cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

2 cups cooked/canned organic chickpeas

6 celery stalks, trimmed (reserve the leaves), sliced into thin diagonals

4 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal

Reserved celery leaves, coarsely chopped

2-3 handfuls baby salad greens

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

½ bunch basil leaves, shredded


Rub the inside of a salad bowl with the smashed garlic and then place the garlic in a mixing bowl. Add olive oil, vinegar with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chickpeas and celery and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes (or more).


Transfer the marinated chickpeas, celery and marinade to the salad bowl and stir in scallion, celery leaves, baby greens, tomatoes and basil. Toss gently to coat the ingredients with marinade, adding a touch of oil as needed to coat the ingredients. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


Arugula and Corn Salad With Roasted Red Peppers and White Beans

I love, love, love arugula. Its delicate bitter leaves bring flavor, texture and zest to just about any dish that includes it. The fact that it aids the body in digesting fat and protein and you have the perfect salad green. This salad is complex, sweet and sour, satisfying and packed with protein.


Makes 3-4 servings

1 teaspoon avocado oil

1 cup fresh/frozen organic corn kernels

Sea salt

3 cups baby or wild arugula

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced

2 cups cooked/canned white beans, cannellini are best (rinse well if using canned beans)

4 chives, finely shopped

6-8 fresh basil leaves, shredded (more to taste)

2  tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar

1  teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 small garlic clove, smashed and finely chopped

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Pan toast the corn by heating avocado oil in a cast iron skillet. Stir in corn and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring until the corn begins to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer to the salad bowl and allow to cool.


When the corn is cooled, add arugula, peppers and beans and toss gently.


Make the dressing by mixing chives, basil, vinegars, garlic, mustard, olive oil and salt to taste. Whisk until well-mixed and gently toss with salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled with crusty whole grain bread.


Kale, Sugar Snap Pea  Salad

Kale is having a moment, as we well know. I always say that kale has the best PR firm in the world, but there’s no denying the power of this gorgeous green. In this salad, its hearty crunch holds up to the sturdy dressing to create a most luscious, nutrient-dense main course.


Makes 3-4 servings



¾ cup avocado oil

½ cup finely minced fresh ginger

¼ cup white miso

½ cup sherry vinegar

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges

3 tablespoons coconut sugar

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper



6-8 unsulphured, dried apricots, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, coarsely chopped

1 medium bunch kale (lacinato or dinosaur kale is best), rinsed well, coarsely chopped with stems intact

2 cups sugar snap peas, stemmed, steamed until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes

4 ounces baked tofu

¼ cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped

2 spring fresh mint, leaves removed, shredded


Make the dressing by whisking ingredients until smooth, adjusting seasoning to your taste. Set aside so the flavors can develop.


For the salad, combine apricots, kale and snap peas. Just before serving, mix in baked tofu, pistachios and mint with dressing. Serve immediately.


Cook’s Tip: Baked tofu can be purchased in any natural food store or supermarket, already seasoned and ready to use.


Tomato Salad with Red Beans

I love the summery nature of this salad. It’s at its best when tomatoes are in season and at their sweetest. The earthiness of the beans enhances the sweet flavor as well as provides all the protein you need for summer fun in the sun.


Makes 3-4 servings


2 pounds ripe sweet cherry or grape tomatoes in a variety of colors, red, green, purple and yellow

Sea salt

1 ½ cups cooked/canned red kidney beans (1, 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed well)

2 stalks finely diced celery

1-2 cloves garlic, smashed, finely minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons white miso

3-4 cups baby arugula or other baby salad green

12 thick slices toasted whole grain baguette (or slices of whole grain bread, quartered)


Combine tomatoes, cooked beans and celery in a salad bowl. In a small bowl whisk together garlic, basil, vinegar and white miso. Stir the dressing into the tomato mixture.


Arrange arugula on a platter with toasted bread around the rim. Spoon tomatoes and beans on top and serve.


Summer Fruit Tabbouleh

I know; I know. This is a violation of the sacred rules of tabbouleh making. But I love breaking rules and you’re going to love this slightly sweet version of this classic summer salad.


Makes 3-4 servings


½ cup boiling water

Sea salt

¼ cup bulgur, do not rinse

1 ¼ cups finely chopped flatleaf parsley

½ cup finely chopped mint

12 sweet cherries, (Bing are best), pitted and diced

2 ripe peaches, pitted, diced

½ English cucumber, diced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped


Bring water and a generous pinch of salt to a boil. Stir in bulgur; cover tightly and turn off heat. Allow to stand for 20 minutes undisturbed. Fluff with  fork and transfer to a bowl to cool completely before proceeding.


When the bulgur is cooled, stir in parsley, mint, cherries, peaches and cucumbers and toss to combine. Gently fold in lemon juice, olive oil and pistachios and serve immediately.


It’s All Greek to Me Salad

There’s something so greatly satisfying about Greek salad. Loaded with antioxidant-rich veggies, the simple dressing allows them to shine in their natural glory. And the Tofu Cheese makes for a nice sub for feta.


Makes 3-4 servings



1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced

Generous pinch dried basil

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons sweet white miso

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon brown rice syrup



1 large head Romaine lettuce

10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 medium cucumber, cut into fine matchstick pieces

1 small red onion, cut into very thin half-moon slices

2-3 slices baked tofu, shredded or crumbled

10-12 oil-cured black olives, pitted, halved


Prepare the dressing. Whisk together all ingredients, with salt and pepper to taste. Chill completely to develop flavors.


Hand shred the lettuce into bite-size pieces and combine with balance of ingredients. Just before serving, toss salad with dressing and serve immediately.


Summer Farro Salad

Farro is an Italian whole grain that is similar in flavor to barley or spelt…but it’s not barley or spelt; it’s farro. A great source of fiber and minerals, it’s a lighter grain and very delicious in the summer as a salad.


Makes 3-4 servings


2 cups spring or filtered water

1 cup farro, rinsed well

Sea salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


½ cup fresh/frozen fava beans (or baby lima beans)

½ cup fresh/frozen baby peas


2 cups baby arugula

3 plum tomatoes, diced, do not seed

3 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed, left whole


Place water and farro in a sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, cover partially and reduce heat to low. Cook until farro has absorbed all liquid, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in oil, vinegar and a light seasoning of salt to taste. 


While the farro cooks, bring a pot of water, with a pinch of salt, to a boil. Cook fresh fava beans for 3 minutes. Add peas and cook 1 minute more. Drain well and cool in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again. Gently fold fava beans and peas into farro mixture.   


To serve, arrange arugula on a serving platter and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Just before serving, stir tomatoes and basil into farro, taking care not to break the grain or peas too much in the mixing. Spoon onto arugula and serve.


Cook’s Tip: To turn this lovely salad into a protein-packed main course, add ½ cup cooked or canned chickpeas.


Sesame Hiziki Salad

Hiziki is so nutrient-packed, I call I rocket fuel in a cup. Loaded with calcium, vitamin C, iron, folic acid, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals, hiziki helps create strong bones, lustrous hair, healthy blood, and smooth organ function. In this salad, hiziki’s strong flavor is complemented by the rich sesame dressing.


Makes 3-4 servings


1 teaspoon avocado oil

½ cup dried hiziki, rinsed 2-3 times, soaked 5 minutes until tender  and drained

Organic soy sauce, to taste

Mirin, to taste

½ small leek, rinsed well,  and thinly sliced

1 carrot, fine matchstick pieces

1 cup winter squash matchstick pieces

1/4 cup fresh/frozen organic corn kernels


Creamy Sesame Dressing:

1/4 cup sesame tahini

1-2 teaspoons brown rice syrup

1 teaspoon mirin

½ teaspoon soy sauce

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lime

1-2 teaspoons brown rice syrup


4 ounces tempeh, cubed, pan-fried until golden brown

1/4 cup tan sesame seeds, lightly toasted, for garnish


Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and stir in hiziki . Season lightly with soy sauce and mirin. Spread the hiziki evenly over skillet and add enough filtered or spring water to half cover halfway. Bring to a boil, uncovered. R, uncovered, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.


Add the leek, carrot, squash, and corn, c. Cover and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes more. Remove coverUncover, raise the heat to high, and cook away any remaining liquid.


Prepare the dressing by simply whisking the ingredients tahini, lemon juice, lime juice, brown rice syrup, mirin, and soy sauce together until smooth. Mix the dressing into hiziki and vegetablesmixture until well-combined. Stir in the sesame seeds and fried tempeh and transfer to a serving plate.  Serve warm.

Cook’s Tip: To pan-fry tempeh, cut into bite-size cubes. Add enough avocado oil to generously cover the bottom of a 10-inch skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat and carefully lay the tempeh in the oil to fry until golden, 2-3 minutes. Turn the tempeh and brown on the other side, another 2-3 minutes.