Perhaps the greatest thing about summer—aside from the sunshine, pool parties, and long weekends—is how easy it is to cook this time of year. Pick up some fresh-looking vegetables from the farmers’ market, do very little to them, and you’ll have a beautiful salad. For solo lunches and dinner parties alike, it’s the perfect strategy; completely easy and delicious. Try these tips for spicing up your summer salads this season.
Make a Big Batch of Dressing for the Whole Week
Since summer is salad season, you’ll want homemade dressing on hand at all times. Combine chopped garlic with your favorite oil and vinegar combo (typically a 3-to-1 ratio of oil to vinegar is the way to go) along with a spoonful of dijon mustard and even a kiss of maple syrup or honey—mix ‘em up in a dressing shaker and drizzle over your greens all week.
Spiralize, Spiralize, Spiralize
One of the most fun ways to eat squash, beets, zucchini, and other fresh produce is to turn them into loopy noodles—which you can dress however you like. Spiralizers are super easy to use, and this handheld one is small enough to tuck into your kitchen drawer. Try these fun ideas for fruits and veggies you can spiralize.
Don’t Forget Fresh Herbs
Herbs abound all summer long. They bring a bright green freshness to any salad. Don’t just relegate them to your caprese or your tabbouleh—sprinkle a handful of chopped herbs like mint, basil, parsley, and tarragon atop any salad to give it an extra punch.
Keep it Simple
Buy the freshest lettuce you can find, make sure to store it properly, wash it well in an easy-to-use salad spinner, and dress it in a simple dressing—when you’re feeling lazy, there’s nothing better. Pair it with some fancy cheese and a nice loaf of bread, and you’ve got a meal.
Fire Up the Grill
A little bit of char—on vegetables like corn, peppers, and eggplant—adds smokiness and textural contrast to any salad. Or try grilled fruit for a unique take on things. Check out this easy recipe for grilled summer vegetable salad.
Look Past Leaves
Sure, a green salad will never do you wrong (it is, essentially, the little black dress of salads) and summer is an excellent time for fresh green salads, simply dressed. But don’t feel constrained by them! Finely chop summer squash and peppers and marinate them in lemon juice and olive oil, then top them with a shower of fresh herbs. Toss baby tomatoes with fresh corn, basil, olive oil, and salt. Pick your favorite summer produce and go crazy. If you don’t use all the produce in one go, be sure to keep it nice and crisp for future salads later in the week (you’ll thank yourself later).