Does this salad sound familiar: lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and carrots? If you are like me, you get BORED with the same old salads. Summer is all about bright, fibrant colors and textures for your wardrobe, accessories, and nail polish, so why not your plate too? Pep up your summer salads and let-us show you how to let go the lettuce!
Why have you done a good thing?
Although traditional salads with lettuce and the usual suspects are wonderful for you, they are not our only options and often can limit our vegetable variety. Thinking outside the salad bowl allows you to vary your diet and therefore your vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant intake. Plus new salad side dishes sans lettuce can also make you and your family more excited about vegetables. The new salad concept might also make your kids more willing to try a new veggie, especially if they shy away from green and you add fruit to your new fun and festive salad.
Here are 5 summer salads with 5 ingredients or less:
Green, yellow and white bean salad – 1 cup of chopped green beans, 1 cup of chopped yellow wax beans, 1 can of low-sodium cannelini beans. Toss all together with 1 tsp Dijon mustard and 2 tsp olive oil, top with fresh parsely and serve.
Peaches, tomato, basil and red onion salad – 3 sliced peaches (fresh or grilled), ½ sliced red onion, 2 chopped plum tomatoes, ½ cup chopped basil. Toss with lemon juice and 2 tsp of olive oil and serve.
Blueberry and broccoli slaw salad– 1 cup blueberries, 2 cups of broccoli slaw, 1/2 cup slivered almonds. Toss with lemon juice and 2 tsp of olive oil and serve.
Yellow squash, zucchini and red pepper salad – Grill up 2 sliced yellow squashes, 2 sliced zucchinis, and 2 sliced red bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and top with fresh parsley.
Mango, black bean, and avocado salad – 1 cup chopped mango, 1 cup low-sodium black beans, and 1 cubed avocado. Toss with lime juice and 2 tsp of olive oil, top with fresh cilantro and serve.
Serve these up this weekend at a BBQ. Check out your local farmer's market for the freshest, most nutritious and delicious ingredients.
--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN