By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
When you live in a colder climate, an extended summer 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. 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 only 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
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 pièce de résistance that ties the whole salad together is the deliciously herby crushed basil olive oil that tastes like summer in a bottle. And the decadent fig balsamic vinegar splashed over the top of it all adds a gorgeous depth of flavor with its tangy sweetness that enhances the taste of the ripe fruit and veggies.
Use organic ingredients when possible
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 ears corn, shucked
- 2 nectarines
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup basil olive oil
- 2 tbsp fig balsamic vinegar
- Optional – a handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- A few fresh grinds of salt blend and pepper juniper blend
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 blend and pepper juniper blend. 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!
Use organic ingredients when possible
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 large lemon
- Handful of green herbs – parsley, mint, basil, oregano, rosemary
- 3 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
- Few fresh grinds of salt blend and pepper juniper blend
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.
I can’t wait for you to make these mouth-watering, healthy summer salad recipes and savor the essence of summer.
© 2019 Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.