Light eating for the lazy hazy days of summer.
In the summer I have a little more time to cook, but I want to make light and delicious meals. I often want transportable meals, especially for lunch. Summer salads fit all the bills. Some are great side dishes, and others, with protein added, are entire meals. Here are some of our readers’ favorite summer salads for 2017.
Sharon P. adapted this recipe from a Gourmet recipe.
Tarragon Chicken Salad:
Three boneless chicken breasts
6 sprigs of fresh tarragon or 2 tablespoons dried
1 package frozen peas
3 tablespoons tarragon wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup olive oil
2 stalks celery cut on the diagonal into thin slices
Thin slices of cucumber and sprigs of fresh tarragon for garnish
In a large saucepan of simmering salted water poach the chicken breasts with tarragon sprigs for 20-25 minutes and let them cool in the liquid for 2 hours. Remove from the liquid and cut into bite size pieces. Cook the peas and refresh under cold water.
In a bowl, combine vinegar, minced tarragon, mustard and salt. Add the oil in a stream whisking and whisk until emulsified. Add the chicken, peas and celery, toss the salad well and chill covered for 1 hour. To serve, garnish with tarragon sprigs and cucumber slices on a bed of Boston lettuce.
Rinda B. sent in this recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. (Click the link below the photo).
From Laura R. is another recipe from Gourmet.
Serves 4 and takes 15 minutes!
Frannie B. sent this recipe from Cooking Light magazine.
Marree T’s favorite summer salad is Ina Gartens Fresh Corn Salad, above.
She also sent two recipes from Gena Knox’s Southern My Way cookbooks:
Shrimp Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
Prep time – 20 minutes
2 pounds small to medium fresh shrimp uncooked
½ lemon thinly sliced
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
⅓ cup light or regular mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons capers
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
½ cup chopped roasted peppers
½ cup thinly sliced celery
2 scallions white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 ounces of feta, crumbled (about ¼ cup)
Fill a large pot with 3 quarts of cold water. Add shrimp, lemon, peppercorns, bay leaf and salt. Set over high heat and cook until shrimp are pink, stirring often, about 8 minutes. While shrimp are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice water. Once shrimp are done, drain and place into cold water to stop cooking. Drain, peel and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, capers and basil. Fold in shrimp, peppers, celery, scallions and feta. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Chill and serve.
Traditional Egg Salad:
Prep Time 22 minutes
Yields enough for 2 sandwiches
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped green olives with pimento or 1 tablespoon fresh Oregon, chopped.
Place eggs in a large stockpot in a single layer. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by an inch. Bring to a boil, cover pot and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain and run cool water over the eggs. Allow to cool.
Peel eggs and cut in half. Reserve 3 egg yolks for another use. Roughly chop eggs and place in mixing bowl.
Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, celery and olives or tarragon. Season with salt and pepper and serve with mixed greens or on a sandwich (add freshly sliced tomatoes and bacon, if you like).
Nancy C sent in her sister’s recipe:
Kale and Sugar Snap Pea Salad
(time: 15 minutes)
For the dressing:
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup peeled, chopped ginger
1/4 cup miso paste
1/2 cup rice vinegar (or as needed: finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons or limes)
1/4 cup sugar, or as needed
Coarse salt and pepper
(Makes a lot)
For the salad:
2 tablespoons sugar
4 chopped dried apricots
1 med. bunch kale (Tuscan, red Russian, Winterbor or Lacinato)
Coarse stems removed and discarded, roughly chopped
2 cups sugar snap peas, stemmed
4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
1/4 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, or as needed
1. Make the dressing in a blender or food processor. Combine the oil, ginger, miso, 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon or lime zest/juice and sugar. Process for about 30 seconds to form a creamy emulsion. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add vinegar if needed.
2. Make the salad: in a small saucepan over med. low heat, combine the sugar and 1/4 cup water. Add the dried apricots and poach just until rehydrated, 2 -3 minutes, them remove from heat.
3. In a serving bowl: combine the kale, snap peas and feta. Add salad dressing to taste, and toss well. Sprinkle with almonds and garnish with poached apricots. Sprinkle with mint and serve.
Reader Kathy C sent in these two favorite summer salads:
6 nectarines, cut in half and grilled
1/2 lb. prosciutto, cut into 1 inch bits
1 cup pitted pickled cherries, cut in half
1 cup granola
Fresh lemon juice
Toss nectarines, prosciutto, cherries and basil with the fresh lemon juice to taste. I put the mascarpone cheese on the side, and sprinkle all with granola.
Red peppers, thinly sliced
Chili pepper, thinly sliced
Sweet potatoes, cooked and cubed
Flat parsley, chopped
Fried plantains (optional)
Top with sweet potato chips
Light balsamic dressing to taste
My favorite is a Grilled Caesar Salad, above.
Reader Ellen C. sent in her favorite go-to summer salad from Ina Garten. She modifies it by substituting sliced Parmesan cheese for feta.
The ladies at the Good Thyme Kitchen recommend this Greek Salad recipe for a light and quick meal.
Need some more inspiration? We’ve got them here.
Do you have a favorite summer salad recipe that we missed? Please let us know.
And remember to share these articles with your friends. They’ll thank you for them!