When I say “salad,” you think “boring.” I know. The consensus is that salads make you feel like Bugs Bunny eating a big bowl of lettuce—only no cartoonish hijinks ensue. You just sit there eating a boring meal, wishing it were a burger instead… But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are two summer salad recipes, no lettuce included, that are tremendously healthy and also full of flavor. Many of their ingredients are in season, which means they’ll taste even better and offer more good nutrition. It also means you’ll be likely to find the required produce at your local farmer’s market. (Good on you for supporting local businesses!) Another reason to make these recipes? They double as fantastic dips or protein toppings.
A few bonus ideas:
● Pair the Chickpea Tomato Herb Salad with fresh hummus, olive spread, and warm pita slices for a perfect mezze platter, or serve it over fresh grilled fish with a side of roasted veggies for a balanced dinner.
● Pair the Souped-Up Street Corn Salad with fresh guacamole, salsa, and organic corn tortilla chips, or serve it with grilled flank steak or shrimp over fresh corn tortillas for a fun lunch or dinner.
Chickpea Tomato Herb Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
● (2) 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
● 2 cups cherry tomatoes
● 1 cup cooked quinoa*
● 1 English cucumber, quartered
● ¼ red onion, diced
● ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, OR MCT oil
● 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
● ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
● Juice from 2 lemons
● 2 tbsp. crumbled feta**
● 1 tsp. Himalayan salt
● ¼ tsp. ground black or white pepper
For additional protein, optional:
● Soft boiled eggs
● Canned wild tuna, packed in extra virgin olive oil***
● Sliced grilled chicken
*Can be made ahead of time or cooked and cooled as you chop the veggies! Feel free to switch up the fiber-rich grains with bulgur, farro, or freekeh.
**My favorite is sheep’s milk feta. The flavor is incredible!
***We love Wild Planet’s tuna packed in EVOO. Anytime you shop for canned fish, always opt for “packed in extra virgin olive oil.” Oil is Mother Nature’s preservative, so you don’t have as much sodium or other chemical preservatives included in the packaging as you do when it’s packed in water. #funfact
1. Add the quartered cucumber to a small bowl with ½ tsp. salt. Let that sit as you chop the rest of the ingredients. This is to extract some of the excess liquid. Not necessary, but helpful if you’re making a large amount and storing it in the fridge to eat throughout the week.
2. Chop all veggies and herbs. In a fine strainer or colander, squeeze out the excess liquid from the cucumbers. Pat dry with a paper towel if needed.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, add the chickpeas, cooked quinoa, onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. If you are serving immediately, toss in the extra virgin olive oil to coat. If you are planning on storing in the fridge, only drizzle EVOO when ready to eat. This is because EVOO will solidify in cold temperatures.
4. Sprinkle crumbled feta, garnish with extra herbs, and add protein of choice when serving.
For this next recipe, pretend that Mexican Street Corn and Texas Caviar had a baby, and we named it “Souped-Up Street Corn Salad.” Sweet corn is in season now, so please take the extra 15 minutes to grill your own corn rather than buying it frozen or in a can. You won’t regret that decision.
Souped-Up Street Corn Salad with Avocado Oil Dressing
Prep time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (for the salad)
● 4 ears fresh corn on the cob
● 15-oz. can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
● 1 bell pepper, diced
● ¼ red onion, finely diced
● ½ cup chopped cilantro, finely chopped
● 1 jalapeno, seeded & finely diced
● 1 tsp. salt
● ¼ cup Cotjia cheese
● 2 avocados, cubed
● 3 limes, quartered, for garnish
Ingredients (for the dressing)
● Juice from one lime
● 3 tbsp. Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Avocado Oil mayonnaise*
● Salt and pepper, to taste
*You can also make your own avocado oil, recipe here. Then add in chili powder, garlic powder, lime juice and salt to taste.
1. Heat grill or cast-iron grill pan on medium-high heat. Grease with a little grass-fed butter or non-stick avocado or coconut oil spray. Shuck the corn, and place on the grill pan. Cook while chopping up the veggies. Keep an eye on it, it takes about 8-12 minutes. You want to turn it a few times to ensure it cooks evenly.
2. Meanwhile, chop the veggies and herbs. Squeeze lime juice on the avocado cubes to prevent browning from oxidation.
3. Combine the beans, pepper, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno in a medium mixing bowl. Once the corn is cooled, slice the kernels off the cob. Add the corn to the bowl, and toss to combine.
4. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, and salt. Add the dressing to the corn mix. Toss to combine. Gently fold in the Cotija cheese and avocado cubes. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime wedges.