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Summer is a time when we naturally gravitate towards lighter, cooler meals. Long gone is the slow cooker, packed away at the back of the cupboard – this season is all about keeping the heat down and the ingredients super fresh! Salads are therefore the perfect accompaniment or main meal event for hot summer days. Salads however can come in many shapes and forms offering a variety of textures, flavours and experiences beyond the classics we can often full into a rut with. Therefore, here is my recommendation for the 5 Best Healthy Summer Salads w minimal fuss to make this summer.
Lychee Nectarine & Mint Summer Salad
The concept of this lychee nectarine and mint summer salad was to create an easy mid-week accompaniment to quick protein such as grilled fish or lamb. This salad is also made to serve one, so double or quadruple the recipe to suit.
If you have never used fruit in a salad then you are in for a delightful treat. The sweetness of the lychees and the nectarines are cut by the freshness of the mint and the peppery extra virgin olive oil. The lemon brings all the ingredients together with its lovely acid finish.
Massaged Kale Salad w Avocado, Fig + Seeds
I could just eat this massaged kale as it is before the add ins. A generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and I am happy. However, I also wanted to add different textures and flavours that played up against the earthy bitterness of the kale.
The hempseeds and pumpkin seeds provide crunch, while avocado and goats cheese provide softness and creaminess. The dried figs on the other hand come through with that perfect hit of sweetness to balance out the bitter and the creaminess. Finally the acid of the lemon juice brings the salad together into one big bowl of salad perfection.
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Apple Pie Salad
This salad tastes like apple pie! I know that sounds somewhat strange, but if you think about it, it does makes sense. The roasted, starchy cinnamon sweetness of the sweet potato, the roasted pecans, and the crisp apple all married with a touch of lemon. Of course you don’t often find kale or sage in an apple pie, but somehow those ingredients don’t seem to detract from the overall apple pie taste.
This Apple Pie Salad is also an example of how just a few simple ingredients can result in a delicious dish when used with a bit of forethought.
Summer Salad w Goji Berries + Ginger Dressing
This summer salad provides a balance of macronutrients from plant-based sources. It is also a good example of how a dish can contain more than one macronutrient in an ingredient.
This can be seen in the chickpeas, mung beans and pecans providing protein, and then the brown rice and once again the chickpeas and mung beans provide slow release carbohydrates.
For good quality fats we have extra virgin olive oil plus the pecan nuts, a mix of both protein and fats in one source.
With all of these lovely ingredients combined, the vegetables are still the star of the dish providing a hearty salad meal.
Roast Pumpkin, Beet & Cannellini Bean Salad
One of my favourite foods to roast is legumes, as they have such lovely starches that are released under heat. Cannellini beans are the star of the show when it comes to such starches. As the beans are tossed through the rest of the vegetables in this roast pumpkin, beet & cannellini bean salad, their starches generously coat everything in their path, creating a lovely textural crust.
This roast pumpkin, beet & cannellini bean salad can be served warm or cold and is best as a side dish to protein such as chicken or lamb. It could also be used as a vegetarian meal and served scattered with crunchy tempeh or tofu. Left overs can be easily packed up and taken for lunch the next day with a can of springwater tuna or salmon.
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Jessica Cox is a qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) and over 15 years of clinical experience. She is the founder and director JCN Clinic, published author and established recipe developer. Jessica is well respected within health and wellness space for her no fad approach and use of evidence-based nutrition.