Summer is the season for salads – they’re perfect in hot weather, and generally easy to make.
If you don’t mix them up then they can easily become boring though!
Thankfully salads are a versatile dish, with so many ways to make them exciting. From texture to temperature, here are ten different ways to jazz up your summer salad recipes.
Mix up your greens
I’m the first to admit that I often get stuck in the habit of using the same greens with every salad. It’s usually Kos or Iceberg lettuce, which isn’t particularly exciting!
There are so many other options to use instead though… Swiss chard, kale, spinach, and rocket, to name a few. My favourite thing to do is to use a whole selection of different leaves, which adds a lovely depth of flavour.
Remember as well that you don’t even need leaves when making a salad – try using vegetables or certain carbs as a base instead.
Add a salad dressing
Leaving a leafy salad plain is a rookie error! To really create something wonderful, adding a salad dressing is a must. Shop-bought or homemade is fine as both are really simple, and there is such a range of different dressings available.
For some great salad dressing inspo, check out this post for five easy salad dressings you can make at home.
Garnish with nuts and seeds
A good salad has crunch, and that’s a fact. Nuts and seeds are the perfect way to achieve this, whether you use one or two or a whole selection.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds work with most salads, and cashews are a great nut to go with. You can also roast and/or season these nuts or seeds beforehand to bring even more flavour to your summer salad recipes.
Make your salads seasonal
With climate change a massive issue it’s more important than ever to eat seasonally. Despite sounding restrictive, seasonal salads can actually jazz up your salads as you’ll be eating different elements depending on what time of year it is.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables vary between countries, so check out what’s seasonal in your area and keep it somewhere accessible. Then, only buy what’s in season for your salads – not only are you keeping it exciting but you’re helping to save the planet, too!
Add roasted, grilled, or marinated elements
Roasted vegetable salads are my absolute favourite, and if you’re not eating them already then you should! They have a lot more flavour than using raw vegetables.
You can also grill vegetables or meat to mix things up or marinate elements of the salad beforehand. Marinated chicken makes a lovely salad topper, as does grilled or barbecued Mediterranean vegetables.
Base your recipe on your favourite meal
Sometimes it’s fun to really get creative with salads. If you’re getting bored of them, think of trying to make a salad that represents your favourite meal. Like pizza? Chuck your favourite toppings on a bed of leaves along with roasted tomatoes, cheese, and croutons.
Or maybe you prefer stir fry? Add those stir-fried vegetables to a salad, and top with an Asian-inspired dressing of soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, and garlic. You can pretty much do anything you like with a salad – see what crazy creations you can come up with!
Add a dash of colour with edible flowers
Edible flowers can turn a salad from all-green amateur to exquisite expert level. They’re the best way to add vibrancy to your summer salad recipes as they’re just so colourful!
There are loads of edible flowers out there such as pansies, magnolia, and hibiscus, and you can grow them in your garden or forage them in the wild. Just make sure to go for fresh, healthy flowers, and check that they’re edible first!
Use contrasting textures and temperatures
When putting a salad together it’s a good idea to consider each individual ingredient and how they all work together as a whole. Don’t just add leaves and a topper – think about other elements you can throw in.
Use a combination of hot and cold ingredients to add a new dimension, or mix leafy, crunchy, soft, and saucy together for a different experience.
Make it beautiful with a spiraliser
Aside from edible flowers, spiralisers are another way to make your summer salad recipes stand out. Yes, you could just chuck in some carrot rounds… Or you could make it look amazing with spiralised carrots!
There are many different vegetables and fruits that you can use a spiraliser on. This technique works well for the salad base (e.g. courgette) or for accents on top.
Add a completely new ingredient
This is the easiest way to make a salad more exciting… Simply throw in something that you haven’t eaten in a salad before.
Try a different meat or cheese on top, or perhaps use some more unusual vegetables. Perhaps you don’t usually include carbs – in which case, add some quinoa or couscous! Pretty much any ingredient will work in a salad, which means the options are plentiful.
What are your favourite summer salad recipes? Share below, and make sure to like and pin if you enjoyed this article! For more summer salad inspiration, check out these amazing recipes for healthy detox salads.
Hannah is the blogger behind Pages, Places, & Plates, a blog dedicated to reading, eating, and travelling. Her passion is sharing her experiences with others and helping them to make the right decision for their next book, food, or travel venture. She lives in Essex, England, on the Sunshine Coast with her partner and her Kuomba, her African giant mantis.