Tastes good, less filling

The scoop on summer salads: Stay cool with light fare (recipes included)

The scoop on summer salads: Stay cool with light fare (recipes included)

News_Sarah Beth Seifert_turkey taco salad
Turkey taco salad Photo by Sarah Beth Seifert

Writer Anna Mitchael recently expounded on the effects of this hellish weather we are experiencing:

You know it’s hot when…sipping on a glass of red wine sounds like the worst possible way to spend an evening, and you’re seriously considering being the person who starts skipping meals because nothing sounds good except crawling into a bathtub full of ice…”

I can relate. It takes a lot for me to lose my appetite. And not much (read, NOTHING) can prevent me from having three meals a day.

But the triple digits make me want to consume only things that will lower my body temperature. Fortunately my frozen yogurt cravings have been almost matched by my taste for salads.

But as it’s now August, my salad repertoire is turning mundane. So here are five salad ideas from around the Interwebs to help pull us out of our summer salad rut. (Click on the salad name to find the recipe.)

Make at home

Eat, Live, Run’s Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

An underrated grain, quinoa is a solid base for a filling salad. And when tossed with feta cheese, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and spices, the result promises no shortage of flavor, freshness and nutrients. Top with grilled chicken for dinner and store in the fridge for a few days' worth of leftovers.

Sunset’s Arugula Avocado Salad

Fresh, understated and substantive, this is the perfect pre-entrée treat to serve guests on a summer night. Pine nuts, cheese and avocado add weight to this light salad. Toss in lemon juice and olive oil immediately before serving.

Real Simple’s Turkey Taco Salad

This recipe is healthier than it looks. The combination of ground turkey, beans, avocado and a bit of cheese makes it fit for dinner. Sub black beans for pinto, if you prefer. Go fajita style by adding sautéed onions and peppers and fresh tomatoes.

Smitten Kitchen’s Cranberry-Walnut Chicken Salad

This is a very basic chicken salad. Alter the mayonnaise portions according to your taste and serve in a wheat pita or over a bed of lettuce. Or try this even simpler version, now a staple recipe for me: cooked  (in crock pot with water) chicken, shredded and tossed with whole grain mustard, a dollup of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt, Craisins, slivered almonds, green onions and feta.

Martha Stewart’s Shrimp and White-Bean Salad

Complete with shrimp, whole grain mustard, white beans and vinegar, this salad offers a unique combination of flavors. Cooking the shrimp in bacon fat adds a savory depth to the dish. For another nourishing dinner option, sub grilled chicken for the shrimp. 

Or opt for takeout

Putting together a salad at home makes for a healthy and affordable meal, but sometimes we are too busy to pull it off. We squeeze in meals between meetings and errands, or later than we would prefer in the evenings. So for a quick fix, I’ve listed my three go-to salads from around town.

Zoe’s Kitchen’s Greek Salad

Fresh greens, veggies, feta cheese and chicken (or not) sit atop old fashioned potato salad. I’ve been eating Zoe’s for 10 years and still crave it every week.

BRC’s Steak and Tomatoes Salad

This is the only salad with beef that I’ve ever loved. Juicy tomato slices and red onions rest beneath grilled slices of skirt steak, peppered to perfection.

Mission Burrito’s Que Mas Salad

Greens, potatoes, corn, roasted red peppers and jicama mingle with the meat of your choice in this local favorite. And a side of corn tortillas, please!

Whether you’re on the go, in your cubicle or hibernating from the heat at home, nosh on one of these salads this week. Then go crawl into a bathtub full of ice.