Summer Salad Ideas

This past weekend, I invited a few of my long-time girlfriends over for dinner. One of my friends doesn’t eat fish, so instead of figuring out which protein to use, I decided to skip the protein and make a vegetarian dinner.

Everyone ended up loving it! Try these easy recipes for 4th of July, or any time you are entertaining this summer.

First, I made Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes. I thickly sliced the tomatoes and layered them between thick slices of BelGioioso Fresh Mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. Then, I lightly drizzled Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze, thyme-infused olive oil, pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper over the salad. Serving the salad at room temperature is the secret!

Next up were the following….

Baby Spinach and Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato Salad 

The night before dinner, I cooked two medium-sized purple sweet potatoes (rubbed them with olive oil, wrapped in heavy foil and baked them at 350° for 90 minutes). They went into the refrigerator overnight, which makes them super sweet and moist. The next day, I peeled the potatoes and cubed them into ½ inch chunks.

For the salad, I put a whole bag of baby spinach in a large wooden salad bowl, along with the cubed potatoes, 2 oz. of crumbled feta cheese, ¼ cup pumpkin seeds and ¼ cup sliced almonds. Then, I poured homemade vinaigrette over the salad and added salt and pepper to taste. Finally, I tossed everything together and served. The purple sweet potatoes soaked up the dressing and the nuts added the perfect crunch.

Super Fresh Jicama Coleslaw 

Even though there were only four of us for dinner, I decided to make a huge bowl of chopped salad so I could eat leftovers for lunch for a few days. If you don’t want to make this much salad, here is a link to where I first shared this recipe last June. I recommend making the dressing before chopping the salad.

Fresh Lime Juice Vinaigrette: 
1 cup fresh lime juice (5 large limes)
½ cup olive oil
2 tsp quality salt (I use Himalayan)
1-2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs cilantro, finely chopped
1 packet Stevia (I use Truvia), or 2 tsp of sugar

Mix dressing ingredients in a shaker jar. Let the dressing sit for at least 2 hours, at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

8 cups green cabbage, coarsely chopped (¾ of a large head of cabbage)
4 cups jicama, peeled and cubed (one medium sized jicama)
3 cups hothouse cucumbers with peel, cubed (1 whole cucumber)
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced, then quartered (10 red radishes)
4 celery stalks, diced
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (about ¾ of a large bunch)

Toss all ingredients into a large bowl. Be sure to mix well.

Pour the dressing onto the salad (it’s your choice if you want to use it all). Toss and mix well. Store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. Toss the salad one more time before serving. This really doesn’t take that long to make, and it’s a nice change of pace instead of regular coleslaw or green salad.

Here is a photo of both salads on a plate.

For our main course, I made vegetarian lasagna. Instead of using pasta, I thinly sliced zucchini, lengthwise, using my Mandolin Slicer.

I layered in some ricotta and Parmesan cheese, coarsely chopped fresh basil, a little cayenne pepper for some zing, sliced Roma tomatoes, pasta sauce, sautéed onions, garlic and sliced mushrooms. I baked it at 350° for about an hour. You can see how yummy it was!

Since we were also celebrating two birthdays, you can see we enjoyed some Sprinkles Cupcakes.

My good friends Vivian, Shirley and Kari.

So, next time you are entertaining, don’t be afraid to go vegetarian. It gives you more options for flavors and textures. And try my Super Fresh Jicama Coleslaw for your July 4th barbecue. It’s a winner!

Happy Independence Day!