This time of year, the last thing I want to be doing is turning on the oven or slaving away in a hot kitchen. But I still always (ALWAYS) want to eat delicious food — and resorting to takeout every night isn’t easy on the wallet — or our health in general.
Enter in the ease of throw-together summer salads. And let’s get this clear from the start — these are anything but basic and boring salads.Because when the ingredients are so fresh, seasonal and quality, you don’t really need to do much to make the final product taste delicious.
So what does a throw-together, 5-minute, nutrient-dense and tasty AF summer salad look like?
Here’s all you need:
EASY, FAST & NO-COOK SUMMER SALAD FORMULA —
+ Pick Produce In It’s Prime And Make It The Star of The Show —
Right now this includes watermelon, stone fruit, berries, cherries, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, green beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, bell peppers and greens like arugula and baby/bibb lettuces.
Bonus Tip — Try to buy organic and local when you can. This will limit the risk of exposure to harmful pesticides, loss of nutrients (due to a process called respiration where produce starts to lose it’s nutritional value once it’s picked) and optimize the taste (nothing beats produce from the local farmer’s market IMO).
+ Toss in Something Fatty or Creamy —
Adding something fatty or creamy like slices of avocado, crumbles of almond milk ricotta or goat cheese, extra-virgin olive oil or a spoonful of yogurt ups the flavor, texture and satiation factor of your dish (i.e. it will take longer for your body to break down and provide you with a longer lasting source of fuel so you’re not starving or crashing and burning an hour later).
+ Sprinkle in Something Crunchy or Protein-Rich —
Crunchy nuts and seeds are a delicious way to add nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and protein to your salad, plus they don’t require any prep work. If you need something with a bit more sustenance try a soft-boiled egg, shredded rotisserie chicken, smoked salmon, a scoop of crispy quinoa or chickpeas and legumes.
+ Season & Drizzle (With the GOOD Stuff) —
This part is important. Because you’re not using a ton of ingredients to make a dressing (which can be time consuming and tedious) it’s really important that what you are using is super high quality.
This makes all the difference taste-wise, not to mention it has serious benefits for your health. Choose an organic extra-virgin olive oil (preferably sourced from California, which is less likely to be cut with other bleached and processed oils) an organic balsamic, red wine or champagne vinegar (or try citrus like lime, lemon and orange) flaky pink Himalayan sea salt rich in trace minerals, and freshly cracked black pepper. Honey, maple syrup, or chopped dates add a touch of sweetness, minus the refined sugar.
+ Add Fresh Herbs —
This addition is SO simple, but a total game changer flavor and health-wise (fresh herbs are rich in polyphenols that help to combat disease, get rid of harmful bacteria and promote optimal health). Try tossing in some fresh cilantro, basil, dill, mint or tarragon and watch your summer salad magically come together.
Okay, so those are my tried and true tips to tossing together a delicious + nutritions summer salad in minutes, but I get sometimes we still need a bit more guidance or some sort of recipe to build confidence and get us started.
Enter in this Watermelon Salad with Pistachios & Mint. The watermelon is the star produce, with the pistachios providing crunch, the creamy olive oil, fresh lime juice, raw honey, flaky sea salt and black pepper balancing out all the flavors and the mint providing a sweet and refreshing finish. Up the ante by tossing on some almond-milk ricotta cheese or full-fat feta if you desire and eat.all. summer.long.
Happy (no) cooking!
What To Eat When It's Hot Out -- Watermelon Salad with Pistachios & Mint