Colorful Seasonal Summer Salads

There is nothing like a fresh summer salad made with seasonal vegetables and fruits from the local farm stand. I like to mix up different combinations of greens to change things up. A variety of colorful vegetables and or fruits, nuts and sometimes cheese makes each salad unique.

One of my favorite salads is what I call a “spoon salad”. I was first inspired to try this after eating a spoon salad at Paul Newman’s restaurant in Westport Ct. – The Dressing Room. Unfortunately it recently closed, but I am very happy that  I learned about them because they are delicious! All that is involved is chopping a nice mix of seasonal vegetables and a fresh fruit, into small bite size pieces, then lightly dressing it. It is a meal in itself and can be eaten with a spoon. All of the flavors mingle in each bite and it is so fresh and delicious!

The ingredients in this spoon salad are; chopped romaine lettuce, white peaches, orange & red peppers, cucumber, grilled corn, green onions, red cabbage, radishes, fresh mint & pistachios. Toss it all in a big bowl with a little olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt & fresh ground pepper and crumbled herbed goat cheese – then serve! (don’t forget the spoon)

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Another wonderful combination that everyone loves is a fresh fig and feta cheese salad combo. This one has arugula, sliced red cabbage, yellow & orange pepper strips, and pistachios. Drizzle with a vinaigrette made from olive oil and white wine vinegar or lemon, salt & pepper.

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Here is a nice summer salad using radicchio, thinly sliced endive, avocado slices, red plums, fresh juicy blueberries and micro arugula. Toss with pine nuts and a light vinaigrette. (Sea salt & fresh ground pepper) It is so easy & refreshing!

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Another great way to use summer fruits in a salad is to start with a mix of fresh fruit from the farm stand. This one is a mix of black cherries, strawberries, blackberries, peaches & plums. Slice them all up and then lay them on a bed of greens and fresh torn basil leaves. Sprinkle it all with feta cheese crumbles, pine nuts and add olive oil and white wine vinegar. A little freshly ground salt & pepper is all you need – then serve!

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This is an all vegetable salad using tatsoi lettuce, micro arugula, lightly blanched corn & peas, sliced rainbow carrots, sliced red cabbage, radishes & baby heirloom tomatoes. Dress it lightly with olive oil and white wine vinegar, salt & pepper. Its is a great salad using garden vegetables!

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There is nothing like a salad using fresh, ripe juicy tomatoes from the garden. This is a simple tomato & avocado salad using spinach as a base with some sliced peppers for color and crunch. Add a few sliced rainbow carrots and toss with a simple vinaigrette and you have a very healthy and colorful summer salad!

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This salad uses summer peas as a base. They have been lightly blanched first (in boiling water for 30 seconds – and then immersed in ice water). After letting them chill, toss them in a dijon vinaigrette with some chopped red pepper, purple cabbage strips and arrange on top of a plate of arugula. Drizzle with a little more dressing on top and add some freshly ground salt & pepper.

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Here is a colorful salad that uses almost every summer vegetable at the farmer’s market. Thinly slice yellow summer squash to give it a beautiful color, purple beets, red onions, easter egg radishes, rainbow carrots, tomatoes, and fresh basil. Arrange all the vegetables over mache greens. Add some cooked pasta, and grated manchego cheese. Drizzle dijon mustard vinaigrette over everything – and enjoy!

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There are so many ways to enjoy a salad in the summer. It is the perfect addition to any meal on a hot day. Just use your imagination and try to add a mix of colors to ensure you are getting as many nutrients, and as much flavor and crunch as possible!

Little additions like nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts or almonds) and cheeses (goat, feta, manchego or shaved parmesan)  and mint, basil, tarragon or any fresh herbs – add just the perfect touch. All you need is a drizzle of olive, or walnut oil and a splash of vinegar (white wine, balsamic, pomegrante, etc.) – or a squeeze of lemon or lime and fresh ground pepper and salt.

 

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