Healthy Summer Salad Recipes Packed with Vibrant Flavors

Without a doubt, summer is one of my favorite times of year…Not only do I get to spend more time outdoors with bare feet; farmer’s markets and farm stands are everywhere. With such a huge variety of ultra-fresh produce to choose from, I feel like a kid in nature’s candy store!

Summer’s all about bright colors and bold flavors, so I try to pack as many different fruits and vegetables into my summer salad recipes to enjoy everything nature has to offer. Those naturally colorful foods aren’t just eye candy, they contain loads of anti-aging antioxidants, protective compounds and micronutrients that help our bodies function optimally so we feel our best!

Ideally your plate should be 2/3 fresh produce, and eating it raw helps preserve nutrients which is great when it’s too hot to cook! As always, try to choose organically grown salad ingredients to avoid ingesting toxic chemicals like pesticides.

Summer Rainbow Salad

Since food should delight all your senses, this Summer Rainbow Salad is as mouthwatering as it is eye-catching! It’s delicately seasoned with luscious herb-flavored olive oils and a few grinds of all natural salt crystals.

  • 2 cups cooked green lentils
  • 2/3 cups shredded carrots
  • 2/3 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1/2 cups red onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (colorful heirloom varieties are great!)
  • 4 to 8 cups mixed greens or spinach
  • 4 Tbsp organic feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional – 1/3 c or handful mixed fresh herbs, chopped

Prepare lentils per package directions, drain and set aside to cool.

Combine honey with red wine vinegar in a large bowl. Add red cabbage, carrots and red onion and mix well. Let sit while preparing the rest of the salad so vinegar takes the edge off onion’s bite.

In another large bowl, combine olive oil, Dipping Spice Blend and optional fresh herbs. Add lentils and mix gently, distributing dressing evenly. Add a few grinds of salt and pepper blends to taste.

To serve, top a bed of mixed greens or spinach with the cooled lentils, then add the cabbage, tomatoes and feta cheese. Drizzle with basil olive oil to finish.  Serves 4.

Why I love this summer salad recipe: It’s loaded with good-for-you phytonutrients, antioxidants and vitamins – lentils provide magnesium which promotes healthy circulation; onions contain the heart-healthy compound allium, plus health-promoting flavonoids like quercetin; tomatoes are nutritional powerhouses containing a powerful carotenoid called lycopene; cabbage is an anti-cancer cruciferous vegetable rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins K, A and C; and of course my favorite superfood, olive oil is a healthy fat with antioxidants that helps your body absorb nutrients in the veggies. This colorful summer salad is wonderful for picnics, barbecues and easy summer dinners.

Arugula Salad With Goat Cheese And Blackberries

healthy summer salad with arugula and blackberries white bowl

If you could characterize the freshness of summer in one dish, it might be this summer green salad with bitter arugula, creamy goat cheese and juicy, ripe blackberries. It’s naturally jam-packed with bright, flavors, textures and nutrition!

  • 4 to 8 cups arugula
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 3 Tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil,  balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper to taste.

In a larger bowl, combine arugula, goat cheese, optional mint, and dressing, then toss lightly to distribute ingredients evenly. Top with blackberries and serve. Serves 4.

Why I love this summer salad recipe: Arugula is a cruciferous veggie, which makes it an anti-cancer food, and blackberries are absolutely packed with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant plant compounds And the lemon olive oil is like bottled sunshine – it really helps all the delicious summer flavors meld together! Add a little excitement to your “desk lunch” since this salad is easy to take on the go and holds up in the refrigerator.

© Stephen Sinatra, M.D. All rights reserved. Originally published at

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