Going Beyond Lettuce: Top 5 Summer Salads to Savor

Summer means keeping things simple—especially when it comes to food. What’s simpler than throwing a few fresh ingredients together to make a delicious salad? The season’s bountiful offerings make finding fresh, flavorful produce easy as pie. From juicy tomatoes to buttery avocados and sweet melons to crunchy corn—summer is meant to be savored! So, hit the farmers’ market and make one of these five sensational summer salads today.

1. Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad with Arugula
There are few things more refreshing during the summer than cold watermelon. Add in salty feta, sweet mint and peppery arugula and you’ve got a simple dinner side or a healthy lunch. Start by rinsing fresh arugula or buy it pre-washed at the market. Next, cut seedless watermelon into uniform, bite size pieces. Then stack mints leaves on top of one another, roll them up, and slice them thinly crosswise. Cut feta into one-inch pieces or buy it pre-crumbled. To assemble the salad, place all the ingredients into a large bowl and drizzle with olive-oil or a light vinaigrette. Toss and serve!

2. Caprese Salad
Nothing beats a garden-ripe tomato—except maybe a garden ripe tomato paired with creamy mozzarella and sweet basil. Those three ingredients are all it takes to make this stunningly simple salad. Use fresh cherry tomatoes or any other bite-size tomato to make salad prep a breeze. Place tomatoes in a bowl with bocconcini (the petite mozzarella balls that come in a tub at the store). Throw in chopped or julienned basil leaves and toss the salad. Sprinkle in salt and drizzle balsamic vinegar and you’re done!

3. California BLT Salad
Add a little west coast flavor to this classic sandwich-turned-salad with the addition of in-season avocado. First, fry bacon in a skillet until it’s crisp. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess grease. Then wash and chop a good amount of your favorite lettuce, like Romaine or Bibb. Next, cut a few fresh tomatoes into bite-size pieces or use grape tomatoes. Finally, remove the skin and pit of an avocado and cube it. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss with your favorite dressing. You won’t even miss the bread!

4. Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing and Mint
This colorful fruit salad is perfect for taking to baby or bridal showers. Blueberries, strawberries, grapes, melons, and pineapple all work well in this recipe. Basically, you can use whatever fruit you have on hand or whatever is in season. Dice fruit and add it to a large bowl. Fold in any berries that don’t need to be cut. Next, mix equal parts honey and lime juice in a glass measuring cup. Whisk in lime zest and equal parts chopped mint leaves. Chill salad and dressing separately. Gently fold the dressing into the salad right before serving. Enjoy!

5. Festive Corn Salad
Corn on the cob is a summertime favorite, but try it off the cob in a zesty salad adapted from this recipe. Shuck 3-4 ears of corn and slice the kernels of the cob. Add the corn to a bowl and add in a can of black beans that has been rinsed and drained. Chop a red bell pepper and add it to the bowl along with half of a chopped red onion. Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, hot sauce, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour it over the salad and let the flavors blend. Chill and serve! Pro tip: grill corn for even more flavor.

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