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. Personally, I like the taste of raw spinach – as well as the nutrient properties. But I also have other favorite greens for making interesting and cooling summer salads:
My favourite greens for cooling down
- Iceberg lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Spinach (especially baby spinach)
- Butter lettuce (Bibb, Boston)
- Green Cabbage
- Red Leaf lettuce
- Bok Choy
For more variety, add selections from packaged salad mixes, or add dandelions, radicchio, arugula, escarole, parsley, cilantro, celery or green onions.
After you’ve picked your favourite salad greens you can also add either vegetables or fruits.
Refreshing vegetable 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, nutritious refreshing summer salads. You can also add cheese for extra zing. Feta, mozzarella, queso fresco and ricotta are all expecially cooling.
Cooling summer fruit 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 salads, but they can be quite good together.
I sometimes add almonds, pecans or walnuts and flaked coconut to my salads, depending on my mood.
My other 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!