The best summer salads
It's summer, which means it's the season of refreshing, healthy salads. If you're lacking inspiration when it comes to salad ideas, we've asked our favourite food bloggers for their best summer salad recipes. From a potato salad with a twist, to a nutritious salmon niçoise, these vibrant summer salads do not disappoint.
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This tasty dish from nutritionist Suzi Grant is a great summer salad for a crowd if you have guests over. Not only is it a flavourful taste of the sea, but it has plenty of health benefits too.
"The reason I love this recipe is that it is very tasty, quick and the fish is chock-full of Omega 3. A high intake of oily fish, such as salmon and silver anchovies (not so much the tinned brown ones), has been linked to significant improvements in hormones, memory, moods and mental problems as well as lowering the risk of developing ageing-diseases such as Alzheimer's. Also, after a heart attack, a person eating oily fish three times a week halves the risk of another. Fact. I have also added my homemade caesar salad dressing, but an ordinary vinaigrette will do just as well."
- 2 120g salmon fillets
- 300g green beans
- 2 eggs
- 8 black olives
- A handful of silver anchovies
For the homemade Caesar salad dressing ingredients:
- Anchovy paste, to taste
- Half a fresh lime or lemon juice
- Small tsp mustard
- Worcestershire sauce, a dash (the recipe is just as good if you don't have this in the house)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Put the salmon, skin-side down, in a colander over a pan of boiling salted water, covered, then steam for 8 minutes.
- Top and tail the beans and pop them in the water under the salmon for 6 minutes.
- Gently lower the eggs, next to the beans, and cook for exactly 5 ½ minutes.
- Meanwhile, squash the olives, removing any pips, and finely chop the flesh.
- Remove the salmon and pop it on a board. Then drain the eggs and beans.
- Cool the eggs under cold running water, then peel and cut into halves or quarters.
- Flake the salmon, discarding the skin. I usually give mine to my dog, Jack - they also need Omega 3!
- Add the beans, arrange the eggs, dot the chopped olives all over, pop the white anchovies over the top, and cover or toss in your chosen dressing. How easy was that!
For more recipes by Suzi, visit Alternative Ageing. Photo by Sara Delaney.
Provencal potato salad with truffle oil and edible flowers
When it comes to summer salads, it doesn't get more colourful than this creation from Lavender and Lovage blogger Karen Burns-Booth. With edible flowers to garnish, this creamy potato dish is definitely one to add to your summer salad ideas list.
"One dish that I enjoyed whilst I was in the Vaucluse region of Provence was a simple potato salad dressed in a truffle oil mayonnaise and garnished with assorted edible flowers. On my return, I decided to have a go a recreating this colourful and extremely tasty salad. It's a very simple recipe to make, but looks simply stunning with its bright and cheerful fresh flower garnish. The taste is sublime for all truffle lovers out there, rich and earthy but with a lightness that comes from adding crème fraîche to the mayonnaise dressing."
- 450g new potatoes, scrubbed but with their skins left on
- 4 tbsp homemade mayonnaise or high quality shop-bought mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp crème fraîche
- 1 tbsp white truffle oil
- Sea salt and white pepper to taste
- Fresh chives, chopped
- Assorted fresh edible flowers, such as mallow, nasturtium, pansies, borage and daisies
- Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes, or until just soft. Drain and allow to cool before cutting into bite-sized pieces.
- Mix the mayonnaise, crème fraîche and truffle oil together - you will have a thick sauce like consistency. Season to taste, if required, with salt and pepper.
- Put the potatoes into a large bowl and add the truffle oil mayonnaise dressing. Mix well but be careful not to break the potatoes up or mash them. Add some chopped chives and spoon the potato salad into a serving bowl.
- Garnish with a selection of edible flowers and more fresh chives.
For more of Karen's recipes, visit Lavender and Lovage.
Quinoa salad with pomegranate and pistachios
If you're still in search of summer salads for a party, Maria Kelly's delicious vegetarian salad with quinoa is an easy, healthy option that is a great barbecue side salad. Also, if you prefer your summer salads with fruit, pomegranate seeds add a touch of sweetness to this green dish.
"I love this fresh and zesty salad because it makes a fabulous accompaniment to pretty much everything. It's really pretty too with the bright red pomegranates and green pistachios looking like jewels! I love the changes in textures this salad gives you. For people who don't like pomegranates, I've switched these out for pieces of dried apricots before which works really well. It's super healthy and my husband says he likes it because he can ditch the guilt and eat it with a giant pile of ribs!"
- 70g shelled pistachio nuts
- 1 red onion
- 70g rocket
- 225g ready to eat quinoa
- 100g spring or continental salad onions
- 100g pomegranate seeds
For the dressing:
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Start by chopping the onion thinly.
- Then gently toast the pistachios and cook the onions in a little olive oil. You want the pistachios to have a little colour and the onions to be soft and caramelised, but not overly browned.
- Put the onions and pistachios aside to cool.
- For the zesty dressing, juice and zest the 2 limes. Add the juice of half a lemon to the lime.
- Add the olive oil to the dressing.
- Now add the crushed garlic and salt and pepper (to your taste). Give it a good mix with a fork.
- Now all you have to do is assemble it all. Get a good sized bowl and add the rocket and quinoa together.
- Now slice up and throw in those lively salad onions.
- Pour your dressing over the salad. Give it a good mix.
- Now all that’s left to do is add the decorative ingredients. Add the pomegranate seeds, the sweet, juicy onion slices and, finally, the bright green crunchy pistachios.
- Now mix up the salad gently. You don’t want the best stuff to hide at the bottom.
- Serve and enjoy - it's health in a bowl!
For more of Maria's recipes, visit Passionfruit, Paws and Peonies.
For a touch of the Mediterranean (we can dream, can't we?), this flavourful salad from Robbie Lowes, aka Ginger Grandma, is one of our favourites. Seasoned to perfection and featuring crumbled feta, kalamata olives and a mustard and mint dressing, this recipe is ideal for a light lunch or as a garden party side dish.
"It's very satisfying to serve up a salad that even the salad sceptics in the family come back to for second helpings. I happened to have some oven roasted, seasoned sweet potato shards in the kitchen (I was trying out a spiraliser gift from a friend) and these a lovely, slightly sweet crunch to the finished salad. You could cheat and crush some root vegetable crisps into it instead."
For the tortilla:
- 50ml olive oil
- 1 large red onion
- 250g waxy potatoes
- 2 large peppers (not green)
- 6 large eggs
- 100g feta
For the salad:
- Salad leaves of your choice
- ¼ large cucumber, deseeded and cut into 0.5cm half moons
- Tomatoes, cut into mouth-sized portions
- Small handful kalamata olives
- 100g feta, crumbled
- Mint sprigs and dill fronds to garnish
For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 5 tbsp Spanish olive oil
- Scant tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp mint jelly
- Pepper and salt
- 10g chopped dill
- Thinly slice the potatoes, onion and red pepper, mix with the oil and roast in a preheated oven (180°C fan, gas 6) for approx 25 minutes. The timing will depend on how thinly you managed to slice your potatoes. Keep an eye on the vegetables and turn occasionally to prevent burning. Test with the point of a knife to ensure the potatoes are done.
- Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs, season well with pepper and salt and stir through cubed feta.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven and cool slightly before stirring into the egg and feta mixture.
- Return to a greased and parchment-lined tin, approximately 20 cm square, and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Test with the point of a knife to ensure there is no runny egg.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool whilst assembling the salad.
- Make the dressing by whisking together the first four ingredients and seasoning to taste. Stir through the chopped dill.
- Assemble the salad in a serving dish and dress sparingly (left over dressing may be served on the side).
- Cut the tortilla into tapas size portions (approximately 2.5cm cube) and topple onto the salad.
- Scatter with herbs, drizzle over a little more dressing and serve with ciabatta.
For more recipes by Robbie Lowes, visit her website, Ginger Grandma.