Recipes: Summer Is Made For Salads

Summer salads are extra special. The bounty of fresh fruits and veggies build flavor and boost nutrition. Salads are perfect for summer cookouts and are some of the best ways to use the season’s delicious fruits and veggies. If you need some salad inspiration, check out these recipes— they are perfect for when those lazy days of summer set in.

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Cucumber

Watermelon and Feta is one of those flavor combinations that sounds odd, but just works so well together. Add some crisp and refreshing cucumbers and fresh mint to the mix, and you’ve got a colorful side dish that everyone will love. An added bonus: This easy summer salad is perfect to bring to a cookout or party because there’s no lettuce to get soggy.

• 3 cups watermelon cubed or balled
• 1 1/2 cups sliced cucumber seeds removed
• 2 tablespoons mint thinly sliced or small mint leaves
• 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Place the watermelon, cucumber and mint in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper.  Drizzle the dressing over the melon mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta and serve.

Zucchini Artichoke Summer Salad

When your garden is overflowing with zucchini, make this salad for dinner or as a side dish.  It’s a perfect way to use up the bounty.

• 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
• 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 4 zucchini, cut into 1 1/2-inch sticks
• 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced
• 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook chicken breasts in the hot oil until they are no longer pink in the center and juices run clear, 5 to 10 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a breast should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat; cook and stir zucchini in the hot oil until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer zucchini to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Mix zucchini, garbanzo beans, olives, artichoke hearts, and Parmesan cheese with chicken; toss to combine. Chill in refrigerator before serving, about 1 hour.

Red White & Blue Patriotic Salad

Red White & Blue Patriotic Salad is perfect for your upcoming 4th of July party.  So simple to make and yet so impressive, leave the salad bare until you are ready to eat so the stars stay crisp.

• 1/4 cup cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
• 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
  6–8 wonton skins
• 12 cups baby spinach
• 1 1/2 cups blueberries
• 1 1/2 cups strawberries
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans
• 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium nonreactive bowl whisk vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, vegetable oil, poppy seeds and mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Using a star cookie cutter and one wonton skin at a time, cut as many star shapes as possible. Place on cookie sheet brushed with butter. Brush the tops of the stars with butter. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned.

In large bowl add spinach, blueberries strawberries, pecans and feta. Top with baked wontons. Wait until just before serving to toss with poppy seed dressing.