If you think salads are bland and boring, you’ve been using the wrong recipes. In honor of National Salad Month, we’re here to help you change that. These seven delicious salads keep the calories and fat to a minimum and instead offer an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and flavor.
— Melissa Valliant, HellaWella
Zucchini ribbon salad
Lettuce isn’t the only veggie you can use as the foundation for your salad. Proud Italian Cook had the genius idea to use thin, long slices of zucchini, mixed with arugula, as the base of the salad, and top it with some feta, pine nuts, and homemade vinaigrette. Known as the "summer squash," zucchini is just about to come into season, and this salad is a wonderful complement to whatever protein you prefer to cook up on the grill in the warmer months. Click here for the recipe.
Avocado and grilled corn salad with cilantro vinaigrette
One of our favorite things about summer is sweet, juicy, wonderfully messy corn on the cob. While we love to grill up ears of it during the summer months and eat it in its full form, this salad recipe from Authentic Suburban Gourmet finds the next tastiest way to get your corn fix. Cook the ears of corn on the grill for the best results, cut off the kernels, and mix with avocado, tomato, cucumber, feta, and this cilantro vinaigrette. Click here for the recipe.
Bulgar salad with chickpeas, roasted red peppers, and spiced cumin dressing
We particularly love this recipe from Smitten Kitchen because of its unique spiced cumin dressing that uses lemon juice, honey, cayenne, and — you guessed it — cumin. The salad combines chickpeas, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and bulgar, a quick-cooking form of whole wheat, but the bulgar could also be substituted with quinoa for added protein. Click here for the recipe.
Watermelon, heirloom tomato, and feta salad
There’s nothing like a refreshing, juicy salad when you’re soaking up the vitamin D in the summer heat. This recipe from MyRecipes.com chops up a sweet summer favorite, watermelon (both red and yellow), and tosses it with heirloom tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, and a light lemon-herb vinaigrette. Add some mint, basil, parsley, and chives, and you’ve got an impressive lunch or side dish to bring to your next barbecue. Click here for the recipe.
Summer corn salad
We decided to celebrate summer early and made this a couple of weeks ago, so we can guarantee it’s a winner. Not only is it ridiculously simple to make, this summer corn salad from the Food Network is very low-calorie, low-fat, and nutritious — an ideal meal or side salad for those looking to watch their weight and prep for beach season. All you need is a few ears of corn, tomato, red onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and lime juice. Click here for the recipe.
Radicchio salad with tahini lemon drizzle
Serious Eats’ ingenious idea to pair the bitterness of radicchio with the creamy, rich taste of tahini made this salad stand out to us. The recipe calls for a mix of radicchio, lettuce, cucumber, and avocado, tossed in a flavorful dressing made of tahini, oil, lemon juice, garlic, and honey. Yum! Click here for the recipe.
Pan-grilled tomato salad with lemon dressing
Until now, we had been boring enough to keep our capers to hot dinner dishes. How silly of us! This recipe from Real Simple shows that they can be part of a flavorful fresh salad as well. The capers are used with lemon juice and parsley for the dressing, which is drizzled over pan-grilled beefsteak tomatoes, tender green beans, feta, and arugula. Click here for the recipe.
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Originally published 5/23/12