Surprising summer salads

Photos: Justin Counter

Photos: Justin Counter

Thanks to the variety of foods that can be called salad, it seems you could eat it every day without growing bored. When it’s too hot to cook, a few inventive ones can save your supper. These salads showcase summer produce – and be sure to buy local for the biggest flavour punch!

Ruby Slaw

Blueberries in a salad? Definitely! This sweet-and-tart combination is sure to please even your most discerning family members. After it’s mixed, it turns a deep red colour. Allow any frozen ingredients to thaw before making salad. Serves 4-6.

  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 2 cups (500 mL) pickled beets, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups (500 mL) edamame, shelled (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup (125 mL) feta, crumbled, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup (125 mL) Balsamic vinaigrette, or make your own
  1. Combine the first four ingredients, tossing gently. Sprinkle feta generously over the top.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar until thoroughly blended. Pour over the top of salad and serve.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is a great dressing to have in your back pocket. It’s simple to make, and tasty when added to salads, or used as a bread dip or marinade. Serves 4-8.

  • ½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) honey
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • dash of salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Whisk briskly until completely blended.
  2. Serve immediately, or store for up to five days refrigerated in a lidded jar, and shake before using.

78_Zippy Rotisserie Chicken Salad

Zippy Rotisserie Chicken Salad

This salad has zip – because it’s fast, and because it’s got a bit of bite to it, thanks to radishes and Dijon mustard. Using a grocery store rotisserie chicken means you don’t have to turn on your oven, but you certainly can roast your own if you prefer. This makes excellent leftovers as well. Serves 4, generously.

  • Rotisserie chicken, chilled, with bones removed
  • 6 or more radishes, finely minced
  • ½ cup (125 mL) fresh green beans or sugar snap peas, minced
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
  1. Finely chop the chicken and place in large mixing bowl.
  2. Add vegetables, mustard and mayo, and thoroughly combine.
  3. Serve on warmed crusty bread like Ciabatta, or over baby spinach if you prefer.

78_Ambrosia Salad

Fresh Ambrosia Salad

Once you try this fresh version of the potluck staple, you’ll put away the can opener for good. It’s less rich than traditional ambrosia, and a bit healthier, too. This dessert is best made a few hours before eating, to allow the flavours to combine. Serves 4-6.

  • 3 cups (750 mL) mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Greek yogurt, plain or flavoured to taste
  • 3-4 medium-sized oranges, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 pineapple, cored and diced
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) shredded coconut (or grated fresh coconut)
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  1. Add first five ingredients to a serving bowl and stir gently until thoroughly combined.
  2. Layer halved cherries on top for an extra-special presentation. Serve chilled.