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Recipes for Refreshing Summer Salads

By Kaitlin Coburn

With summer right around the corner, many of us are busting out the grill and looking for quick, light, and refreshing meals to beat the heat. Salads are a great way to not only focus on our health, but also to incorporate fresh produce including a wide variety of fruits and veggies, as well as repurpose the leftovers from last night’s cookout. Here are three of my favorite salad bowls, perfect for lunch or dinner.

Grilled Chicken & Berry Harvest Salad:

To ensure you have a flavorful and robust salad, always try to utilize produce that is currently in season. This salad is not only simple, but bursting with sweet, fruity deliciousness. For this bowl we are using the following ingredients:

  • Spinach and Spring Mix

  • Blueberries

  • Strawberries (THE BEST locally sourced from our very own Lever Farms)

  • Simply seasoned (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder) grilled chicken breast

  • Pecans

  • Dried cranberries

  • Goat cheese

Start with a bed of your mixed greens and spinach, then add your fruit toppings, nuts, grilled chicken and crumbled goat cheese. For a bit of extra richness, I’d highly recommend toasting your pecans for a couple minutes to really enhance the nuttiness. Finish off with a drizzle of your favorite dressing. Either a sweet poppy seed or tangy balsamic vinaigrette would pair amazingly with the flavor profile of this summer berry bowl.

Left Over “Steak & Potatoes” Salad:

Who doesn’t love throwing a juicy steak on the grill? Next time you pick up your perfect cut from The Palms Meat Market or Figaro Market, be sure to save those leftovers for a quick and tasty lunch the next day. Tossing your leftovers into a salad bowl is both health conscious and it also cuts back on food waste! Ingredients:

  • Butter lettuce & Romaine

  • Left over steak & roasted potatoes

  • 2-3 fresh brussel sprouts (shredded)

  • Marinated red onions (recipe at the end of article*)

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Cucumber

  • Parmesan cheese

Using a mix of various lettuce types gives your salad base a complexity of flavor as well as texture. The butter lettuce blend offers a rich and supple tender leaf, while the Romaine gives that sharp, crisp, crunchiness. The addition of the shredded brussels boosts up the texture profile, as well as adds extra fiber (this keeps you fuller longer!) I personally don’t mind my steak or potatoes to be on the cooler side, so I like to toss them both in a skillet for a light reheating, just prior to adding to the bowl. This salad has ample amounts of flavor on its own, so a simple dressing really is your best option.

Greek Inspired Couscous Bowls:

For those of you who aren’t a fan of salads but still want a light and refreshing summer meal, this Greek inspired couscous bowl is the ultimate palate pleaser. Even better, this can be prepped in advance AND it travels well for an amazing grab/go option. Ingredients:

  • Greek seasoned (olive oil, dill, parsley, oregano, lemon juice, onion powder, salt/pepper & garlic) grilled chicken breast

  • Garlic and herb couscous (I used store bought, Near East brand)

  • Cucumber

  • Tomato

  • Marinated red onions

  • Tzatziki sauce (plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, dill, parsley, minced garlic, salt/pepper & shredded cucumber)

  • Feta cheese

If I know I plan on having this meal, I will chop my veggies and prep my sauce a few hours before I am ready to eat. This way the flavors really have time to incorporate and meld together. The cucumber, tomatoes and onions are all tossed together with a generous sprinkle of dill and tangy feta cheese crumbles. The creamy sauce acts as a delectable binder once you mix up all the items in your bowl. Or feel free to just utilize it as a dip!

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