No matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer months, the hottest days can make you wish for a cold winter day again. Iced beverages and lighter meals are the order of the day, and cool summer salads that take the heat off in the kitchen fit the bill perfectly.
Lettuce is the mainstay of most summer salads, although it isn’t a necessity to have lettuce in your cool summer salad. For example, I like the nutrient properties and the taste of raw spinach. Here are some of my favorite greens for making cool summer salads 7 days a week:
4. Butter lettuce (Bibb, Boston)
5. Green Cabbage
6. Red Leaf lettuce
7. Bok Choy
For more variety in your cool summer salad, add selections from packaged salad mixes, or add dandelions, radicchio. arugula, escarole, parsley, cilantro, celery, green onions. After the salad greens are selected, you can choose to add either vegetables or fruits to your basic cool summer salad.
Vegetable Cool Summer Salad
Slice, grate, chop or cube tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, mushrooms, radishes, onions, bell peppers in all colors (green, orange, red, purple and yellow), or zucchini. These make very healthy and nutritious cool summer salads. Cheese is another great topping for this type of cool summer salad.
Fruit Cool Summer Salad
Slice, grate, chop or cube pears, peaches, apples, mangoes, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, grapes, bananas and strawberries and add to your greens. Of course, you don’t need salad greens with fruit based cool summer salads, but they can be quite good together. (I confess that not long ago I ate a whole banana and some fresh sweet strawberries together for dinner one night. It was so delicious and satisfying.)
I sometimes add almonds, pecans or walnuts and flaked coconut to my cool summer salad, depending on my mood. My other favorite cool summer salad is made of mixed melons, such as watermelon with cantaloupe and honeydew.
If you like, add some salad dressing (like Miracle Whip), more savory mayonnaise, flavored yogurt, marshmallow bits, or whipped toppings to the fruits (except the melons). Hint: salads with these types of additions are quite tasty when frozen for a change from ice cream as a dessert.
So this summer, remember to take the heat off in the kitchen with cool summer salads. I’m sure you have plenty more cool summer salad ideas in your family cookbook. Gee, I didn’t even talk about the cold pasta or cold bean potential for cool summer salads!