How To Build The Perfect Summer Salad

If you think salads “aren’t filling enough” or are “too boring”... then you’re totally right!

Some of the time.

It’s super simple to make a really healthy, but really lame salad. Luckily it’s pretty darn easy to make a great one too. It just take a little bit of creativity and variety.

Here are 6 steps to making a fantastic salad every time.

1. Greens
Anything goes here. Kale (or baby kale), romaine, spinach, bib lettuce, mixed greens, arugula, or a combo of it all!

2. Veggies, Fruit, etc.
What we’re going for here is color. What flavors and colors look appetizing together? Pick as many veggies as you want (or happen to have in the fridge). When in doubt choose what’s in season because the fresher and more in season, the better the taste. Like veggies from a CSA.

Also, rather than cutting veggies into big chunks, I often like to use a vegetable peeler. The thinner strips of veggies are easier to chew and can be more appetizing than say, biting into a huge piece of raw beet.

For some extra pizzazz, try adding herbs. Making a mexican salad? Add cilantro. Maybe something really fresh and simple? Try mint or basil. Chives and parsley are a great on almost any salad.

For a vitamin-rich topping, go for some sprouts.

For sweetness and contrast, try throwing in a type of fruit like strawberries, mandarin orange or apple slices.

3. Nuts & Seeds
Crunch is key. in order to keep interested, mixing up the colors, flavors and textures is important. These guys also add some healthy fats so you stay fuller, longer. Pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, or pine nuts are all great options.

4. Avocado
For me, this one is a must. On every salad. It’s a really healthy fat, but also adds a creamy flavor that can almost take the place of salad dressing.

5. Something Grilled
Need a little something more? Top your salad with grilled fish, chicken or the aforementioned veggies and avocado thrown on the grill. A little bit of char on some corn, peppers, broccoli or mushrooms can add a nice flavor to any salad.

6. Dressing
I’m personally not a salad dressing fan. They are often full of processed stuff and something about the cap and how long they live in the fridge just seems icky.

Try just a simple squeeze of lemon or lime w/ S&P.

Or try making your own salad dressing, like a simple vinaigrette: olive oil, lemon, vinegar (I like champagne vinegar), dijon mustard + S&P. Put in a jar and shake. Or for a creamy variety: add an avocado, handful of cashews and a touch of water to that mix and throw in a blender.

There ya go. Salad options a plenty.


Do you have any go-to salad ingredients you love? I'd love to hear in the comments below!