There are three summer salads you absolutely need in your life. Some salads are so iconic that they get left in the past because of how quickly new food trends develop. These are twists on some of the familiar classics. And if you haven’t heard of them, then this will be a great summer introducing these into your meal plans.

 

Watermelon, Mint & Feta Salad

This is one of the most common salads in the summertime, and you’d be shocked at how many people I still encounter who have never heard of this amazing combination. At first, it sounds a little sketchy. Cheese? With watermelon? AND toothpaste mint? Are you out of your mind? No, we’re not. This combination just works. The saltiness of the feta balances out the sweet watermelon, and the mint really helps elevate and brighten the salty cheese. It’s a beautiful symphony. I love to add a few extra components to really bring this salad to a new level.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups watermelon, large diced
  • 1/2 - 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • handful of fresh mint leaves, sliced 
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, sliced 
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • pickled onions (optional)
  • enough arugula for salad base
  • salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except arugula together in a bowl. Taste for seasonings.

  2. Top the arugula with the watermelon mix when you’re ready to eat. 

 

Peach & Burrata Salad

Another fruit and cheese salad? Have you truly lost it? No. Well, not yet, I don’t think. But this is another fresh salad that is easy, flavorful and summer dinner table-worthy. Stone fruit is fantastic in the summer, but if you’re like me, I’m constantly looking for ways to use it other than desserts. This salad is great as a side or as a main course if you add some grilled chicken to it.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups peaches, sliced
  • 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano
  • arugula for salad base
  • 1/2 cup pitted cherries (rainier, if available)
  • 2-3 balls of burrata
  • handful of sliced basil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pistachios, crushed (optional)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • liberal drizzle of balsamic syrup

Directions:

  1. Place arugula on a large platter.

  2. Arrange sliced peaches, shallots and cherries on top.

  3. Top with burrata (slice tops to reveal centers).

  4. In a small separate bowl, add in your oil and herbs and mix until combined.

  5. Drizzle salad with the oil mixture, then drizzle with the balsamic syrup.

  6. Top with crushed pistachios and enjoy!

 

Green Goddess Steak Salad

I don’t know if you do this, but you should really look into it if you find yourself grilling this summer, but also want grilled foods without having to work for it. I like to grill enough for leftovers, and one of the things I love to grill ahead of time is a good steak. You can definitely do it fresh, but remember that thing I said about wanting grilled food without having to work for it? Yeah, that’s where this tip comes in handy. (You can easily substitute another protein here if you don’t want to use steak.)

Another reason I love this salad is because of how many fresh summer ingredients you can incorporate into this dish. From fresh herbs to sweet corn and tomatoes, I love how this salad looks and tastes.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 large grilled ribeyes, sliced thinly
  • Spring mix and arugula
  • 2 cups of fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup roasted red bell peppers, thinly sliced 
  • 1 cup grilled onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grilled cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola or herb goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Green goddess dressing:

  • 1/2 bunch parsley 
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (or 1/2 mayo, 1/2 sour cream)
  • 2 green onions
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth and mixed thoroughly.

  2. Layer the greens and arugula on a large platter.

  3. Top with corn, peppers, onions, tomatoes, avocados, green onions and steak.

  4. Drizzle the entire salad with the dressing and top with the cilantro and cheese of choice.

  5. Serve with a good piece of grilled bread and a refreshing beverage of your choice. You will love this gorgeous and healthy summer salad.

 

From Z to A with Zara Abbasi

Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit.