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Best-of-Summer Salad Recipes

When you live in a colder climate, summer weather is like a lovely dream you don’t want to wake from. Some years you get lucky, and that eternal green feeling of summer lingers for weeks after Labor Day. I try to keep it alive and on my dinner table as much as possible… with healthy, colorful salads.

These best-of-summer salad recipes use a handful of fresh ingredients you can easily find teeming in your garden or piled high on grocery store shelves in late summer, so you can get dinner on the table without a lot of planning and preparation. They’ll also hold up wonderfully for backyard BBQs and bringing the leftovers to work for lunch the next day.

Summer Caprese Salad Recipe with Corn and Nectarines

Summer Caprese Salad with corn and nectarines dressed in Vervana Crushed Basil Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Vinegar Vinaigrette

Caprese salad is a classic for good reason – the unbeatable blend of juicy, ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese and fragrant basil just screams “summer” to me. I added honey-sweet nectarines and the tenderest corn of the season to this recipe to showcase even more best-of-summer flavors. And the only cooking involved is boiling the corn for a few minutes!

I like to use a rainbow of tomatoes in this recipe to add even more color – the mild yellow grape tomatoes go especially well. The secret ingredients that tie the whole salad together are the crushed basil olive oil and the decadent fig balsamic vinegar splashed over the top of it all, which together add gorgeous depths of tangy-sweet and herby flavors.

rich fig balsamic vinegar bottle

Use organic ingredients when possible

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook corn for 3 minutes. Remove from water, set aside to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, remove kernels from cob with a sharp knife and break up the larger chunks of corn with your hands.

Slice tomatoes and chop nectarines and mozzarella into bite-sized chunks. If using fresh basil leaves, tear or chop them roughly. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle with basil olive oil. Mix gently with serving spoon, then drizzle fig balsamic vinegar over the top of the salad. Finish with freshly ground salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Healthy Chicken Salad Recipe

Chicken salad is another warm-weather staple you can usually find at summer get-togethers. But the version you’re likely to encounter is laden with mayonnaise and unhealthy saturated fats. My healthy chicken salad is made with organic olive oil so buttery and delicious you won’t even miss the mayo! The fresh summer herbs and lemony kick add so much flavor, too. I love making chicken salad wraps with large leaves of romaine or butter lettuce for a quick bite packed with protein and satiating healthy fats from the olive oil. You can play around with the olive oil you use to amp up the flavor of the chicken salad – try lemon olive oil or crushed rosemary olive oil to add even more zing!

easy, healthy summer chicken salad with Vervana organic extra virgin olive oil

Use organic ingredients when possible

Cook chicken breasts and shred into bite-sized pieces.  In a large bowl, grate the zest of half a large lemon and extract the juice. Whisk lemon juice and zest together with olive oil and season with salt and pepper juniper blend.  Chop herbs and add to bowl, then mix in shredded chicken and stir thoroughly to distribute dressing. Place a bed of greens on a plate then top with chicken salad or use as filling for lettuce wraps. Serves 4.

From my heart to yours,

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