Summer Salads

With an abundance of fresh produce during summer, salads are a perfect summertime meal.  July celebrates Salad Month, so if you have not been enjoying delicious and nutritious summer salads, now is a great time to start.

Salads can be as basic as lettuce with a little dressing or a complete meal such as spinach with grilled chicken, berries, blue cheese, and light dressing!  The great thing about salads is you can make them to your liking and there are endless options so you won't get bored.

Salads are typically based on leafy greens such as lettuce, romaine, spring mix, spinach, or kale.  When it comes to the leafy greens, the darker the greens, the more nutrition.  Spring mix, spinach, and kale are among the most nutritious leafy greens!  Salads do not have be based on leafy greens; two other great options are slaw based and grain based.  Slaw based salads are generally shredded cabbage, but could also be broccoli slaw or any other mix you find at the supermarket, or chop up veggies to make your own!  Grain based salads should be made with a whole grain for the best nutrition.  A few favorite grains for salads include:  quinoa, farro and brown rice.  Grain based salads can even be served over plain leafy greens or slaw for a even healthy meal!  

Once you pick your base for your salad, you can then add protein, more veggies, may be even fruit, cheese, light dressing, and toppers for texture and added flavor! Checkout our guide below for ideas to make Leafy Greens, Slaw Salads, and Grain Based Salads.  Start by picking your salad type and follow the chart down.  These are just suggestions, so don't be afraid to get creative with other foods than those listed!

summer salads

As you can see, salads are not boring when you consider the many different ways to enjoy one!  Most people are used to leafy green and slaw based salads, so here is an excellent recipe for a grain based salad to get you started on those!

Southwest Quinoa Salad
Recipe from:  Full Circle Foods - find Full Circle Quinoa in our stores!
Preparation Time: 20 minutes; Cooking Time: 20 minutes; Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Full Circle Quinoa Salad


  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup Full Circle Quinoa
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Our Family no salt added black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4cup Our Family olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce of choice
  • 1 teaspoon Our Family ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Our Family salt
  • 1 large avocado, seeded, peeled, diced


  1. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan, stir in quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, spoon into large bowl and fluff with fork. Cover and refrigerate ½ hour. 
  2. Remove cover and add beans, red and yellow peppers, green onion, jalapeno and cilantro to quinoa. Whisk together lime juice, oil, hot sauce, cumin and salt in small bowl, add to quinoa and vegetables and toss to coat. Gently fold in avocado just before serving.  Enjoy!

Stephanie Edson Wellness Specialist SpartanNash Company
Stephanie Edson - Regional Wellness Specialist

Stephanie is an award-winning registered dietitian who believes in empowering every individual to make nutritious food choices to support a healthy lifestyle. She believes in the power of food as medicine and loves sharing about nutrition with others.