Easy Summer Salads

Closeup of a salad

The Oxford  Dictionary defines a salad as a cold dish of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar,or other dressing, sometimes accompanied by fish, meat, or other ingredients.  That definition is pretty broad and countries around the world have certain liberties with it.  Once most commonly thought of as an appetizer, salads are seen now, more than ever, as a main course,  or even a dessert.  In fact, it seems that almost anything that does not have some kind of bread holding it together can be called a salad. However, it is a common misconception that all salads are healthy.  Many people believe that because the dish is vegetable based, it is good for you. Please note that the mere presence of lettuce and absence of carbs does not a healthy dish make. Heavy dressing and greasy meats, bacon bits and  fatty cheeses can counterbalance the benefits of a few green veggies.

Salads are generally served cold and , thus, make great summer options for the days when a hot oven is out of the question.  Plus, if you keep them light, you may even be able to take a dip in the pool afterward without negative side effects!  Here are some great summer salad ideas:

Avocado salad

Salads 101

Here are a few basic ingredients no good salad should be without:

  1. Avocado:  high in good fat, low in bad fat, no cholesterol and DE-LICIOUS-makes it all worth it
  2. Low fat or non-fat dressing
  3. Eggs:  Packed with protein
  4. Nuts:  Don’t judge them by their fat calories. They are full of protein, fiber and minerals and, because the fat is monosaturated, it will provide great energy for your workout.
  5. Low-fat cheese:  gotta have it to build those bones!
  6. Lettuce:  Or go for spinach if you can.  The darker the leaf, the better for you.
  7. Tomatoes:  These beauties are the queens of lycopene and also serve as a great antioxidant
  8. Carrots:  Bugs Bunny can’t be wrong, packed with beta -carotene for fighting cancer and heart disease.
  9. Beans: Great source of folate and protein.  Chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans will all work.

STOP!  You say!  I’m going to eat the avocado and cheese with the dressing and throw out the rest!  We hear ya.  Ok. so you want something a little tastier?  How about these?

Salad

Advanced Salads

This more your speed?  You can actually leave out the lettuce and go for the flavor with these;

  • Cabbage apple salad with Tahini ginger dressing:  creamy light dressing, crunchy apples, you can’t go wrong
  • Zucchini Mango Salad with Cilantro chutney:  Zucchini base topped with juicy mango
  • Black Bean Quinoa with Avocado:  Bring on the Protein, turn up the mariachi!
  • Cherry Berry tomato salad: Sprinkle with sunflower seeds, ginger and soy sauce for an Asian kick.
  • Beet, Grapefruit and Walnut Salad with Mint Dressing:  Not for the meek!  May be an acquired taste and you’ll have to cook the beets, but so worth it .  With potassium for nerve and muscle function and manganese for you bones, liver and kidneys, beets are the new wonder food!  Live a little!

So, indulge in some summer healthy.  Easy. cool and light, not just for rabbits anymore.

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