JULY- Summer Salads and Dressings

All I want to eat in the winter is soups, and all I want to eat in the summer is a great salad!!! (They are good tasting, doesn’t heat up my house, and easy and fast to make) I also love making a homemade dressing… so here are some great ideas for you:

Strawberry Balsamic Spinach Salad– serves 4

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus a pinch or two more
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
10 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
6 tablespoons shallot, minced
1 cup sheep’s milk feta, crumbled
fresh-ground black pepper to taste

In a small bowl or jar, whisk the balsamic and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt into the olive oil, whisking until mixture is emulsified.

Place the spinach leaves into a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle half the dressing over the leaves, and turn to coat with your fingers. Gently toss in the strawberries, shallot, and feta. Drizzle on a bit more dressing. Taste the salad and add more dressing or salt as needed. Finish with several twists of fresh-ground black pepper and serve.

Sugared Almonds Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 bunch of romaine, torn
1 pkg (6 oz) fresh baby spinach
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
3 cups shredded swiss cheese
1 med. red onion, sliced
1/2 lb. sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 can 15 oz mandarin oranges, drained

Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp. poppy seeds

1. In a small heavy skillet, melt sugar low heat add almonds and stir to coat. Spread onto a greased sheet of foil; break apart if necessary.
2. In a large bowl combine romaine, spinach, mushrooms, cheese, red onion bacon and oranges.
3. For dressing, in a blender, combine the vinegar, sugar , onion, mustard and salt cover and process until blended. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream, stir in poppy seeds.
4. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sugared almonds.

Pear Pecan Spinach Salad

  • 8 ounces spring mix
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 pear, sliced thin
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onion, toss to coat, and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the onion is soft and caramel brown. Set onions aside on a plate.
  2. In a dry skillet over medium high heat, toast the pecans for 5-7 minutes or until slightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat.
  3. Toss together the greens, caramelized onions, pecans, pear, cranberries and goat cheese.
  4. To make the vinaigrette, place all ingredients but the olive oil in a jelly jar, seal, and shake until well combined. Add the oil and shake again until smooth.
  5. Serve salad with vinaigrette.

Mexican Kale Salad

Use a bottle of lite italian dressing mixed with 1/2 cup of salsa, to top the salad with

For the salad:
1 bunch kale- sliced thin, 1/4 cup chopped red onion, 1 avocado- cubed, 4 medium radishes- thinly sliced, 1/2 Can of corn- drained, 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, crushed tortillas chips. Can add rinsed and drained kidney beans and slice olives if desired.
In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Pour the dressing over the top and toss gently.

Kale Greek Salad

3 cups chopped baby kale
2 cups diced heirloom tomatoes
2 cups diced english cucumber
1 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped parsley
6 oz. fat free crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt & pepper, to taste

for the dressing:
1 clove garlic, grated
4 teaspoons dijon mustard
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
7 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients for salad into a large bowl. Whisk all ingredients for dressing together in a small bowl to emulsify. Drizzle over salad and toss. Serve immediately, or store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Massaged Kale Salad and Grapes with Poppy Seed Dressing- Serves 2-3
For the massaged kale:
1 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into ribbons
1 lemon
Cold-pressed olive oil
Sea salt

1. In a large bowl, dress kale with lemon juice and olive oil onto kale leaves and add a pinch or two of sea salt. Roll up your sleeves and massage kale until it’s deep dark green, soft, and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add: A couple handfuls each red and green grapes, 1 ripe avocado, ¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Poppy Seed Dressing:
¼ cup cold-pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ shallot, diced
1 tablespoon poppyseeds
Pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon honey

Whisk all ingredients together. Store leftovers in a glass jar for up to one week.

Mexican Quinoa Salad

1 Cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups black beans (or a 15. oz. can)
1 1/2 cups corn  (I used frozen, thawed)
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (I used diced Romas)
1 red bell pepper, diced
5 green onions, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or more to taste)


1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice from 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt


Rinse and drain quinoa.  Add to pot with 2 cups water and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heart to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until water has absorbed and quinoa is tender.  In a small bowl, add dressing ingredients and whisk together  to thoroughly combine.  In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa with all other salad ingredients.  Pour dressing over the top and toss to combine.  Can either serve immediately or chill before serving.

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1-2 cups shredded red cabbage, depending on how much crunch you like
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup diced green onions
  • ½ cup cashew halves or peanuts (honey-roasted is good)
  • Optional: 1 cup edamame or chickpeas
  • Fresh lime, for a bit of tang
  • For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup all natural peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten-free if desired
  • 1 tablespoon honey (use agave if vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Water to thin, if necessary
  1. To cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa with cold water in mesh strainer. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add in quinoa and bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with fork; place in large bowl and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. You should have a little over 2 cups of quinoa.
  2. To make dressing: Add peanut butter and honey or agave to a medium microwave safe bowl; heat in microwave for 20 seconds. Add in ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, and both sesame and olive oil and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner dressing, simply stir in a teaspoon or two of water or olive oil.
  3. Add as much or as little dressing as you’d like to the quinoa. I always start out with a little bit of dressing and usually add more to suit my taste preferences. Alternatively you can save the dressing for later and add when you are ready to eat; however the flavors of the dressing usually soak into the salad so I love adding it to the quinoa first.
  4. Next fold in red pepper, onion, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro into the quinoa. Garnish with cashews and green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature with lime wedges if desired.

Cilantro Lemon Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas)
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • large handful of cilantro, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 2 small lemons
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper


  1. For the quinoa: In a medium-sized sauce pan bring the vegetable broth and quinoa to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let the quinoa cook for 10-15 minutes until all of the broth is absorbed. After the broth is absorbed, remove the sauce pan from the heat, still covered, and let the quinoa sit for a few minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool. While the quinoa is cooking prepare you veggies and dressing.
  2. For the Dressing: In a bowl whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  3. For the Salad: Once the quinoa is done cooking and your tomatoes, avocados and cilantro are all prepped, stir together the quinoa, tomatoes, chickpeas, avocado and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine. If possible let the salad sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving to allow all the flavors to meld. Enjoy!

Caprese Pasta Salad

1 lb bow tie pasta- cooked according to directions, 1 cup cherry tomatoes- cut in half, 1 cup fresh mozzarella- cubed

mix together: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbl balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 2 tsp minced garlic, 12 fresh basil leaves- chipped, 1/4 tsp dried oregano. Combine with salad ingredients and chill.

Chicken Bowtie Pasta salad

  • 1 (16-oz) package farfalle (bow tie) pasta*
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 2 cups red grapes
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 (6-oz) package Craisins cranberries
  • 1 cup cashews (halves & bits)
  • 1 large can mandarin oranges (optional)
  • 1 (16-oz) bottle coleslaw dressing
  • 1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to chill.
  2. In a large bowl combine pasta with chicken, celery, pineapple, grapes, green onions, Craisins and mandarin oranges.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together dressing and mayonnaise. Add to pasta and toss to coat evenly.
  4. Chill at least an hour. Add cashews immediately before serving. Garnish with more cashews.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

16 oz Package of Penne Regate Pasta Cooked Al Dente and cooled
2 Cups Shredded Cooked Chicken (rotisserie chicken makes this so easy)
4 Cups Finely Sliced Romaine Lettuce (Cut about 1/2 inch thick strips)
12 oz. Jar of Marie’s Caesar Salad Dressing (it’s cold and found in the cold produce section)
1 Cup Shredded (not grated) Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 teaspoon Cracked Pepper

Begin by tossing the caesar dressing, and pasta together until the pasta is coated. Next, add the shredded chicken, garlic salt and cracked pepper and continue to mix. Next add the parmesan and reserve a little to top each serving. Keep in mind that the mix will look like way too much dressing but once you mix in the lettuce, it’s the perfect ratio.  Be sure and wait until you are ready to serve to toss in romaine (so that it stays fresh).

 Healthy Cabbage Salad

Chop, Grate and Dice crunchy veggies….

Red Cabbage, Green Cabbage, Carrot, Celery, Radish, Zucchini, Red onion, Green apples. Juice a lemon and pour over salad. Season with S&P

Toasted Almond Cabbage salad

  • 1 head  cabbage chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1 cup carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 (3-ounce) package ramen noodles
  • 3 tablespoons sliced toasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a skillet on the stove over medium heat stir the almond and the sesame seeds till lightly toasted. Careful they will turn brown quick keep and eye on them as soon as they are done take off heat and put on a plate to cool. Set aside.
Chop the cabbage, green onions and carrots, and place in a large salad bowl.
For the Dressing: In a jar with a tight lid, combine the oil, sugar, vinegar, and salt & pepper. Cover the jar, and shake well to blend the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad, add the toasted ingredients, and toss to combine.

Thai Cabbage Salad

  • — For the Sauce —
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. Thai curry paste
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • fresh juice from 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • For the Salad —
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, crushed (for garnish)
  • sprinkling of sesame seeds (for garnish)

In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk well, until creamy. Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the sauce to the salad and stir well.

Bean Salsa/Salad

You can serve this as either salsa with chips or a salad. It’s just that good!

4 cups frozen white corn, 1 red onion- diced, 4 tomatoes- diced, 2 avocado’s- chunked, cilantro to taste, 2 cans black beans- drain and rinse, 1/2 cup red bell pepper- diced.

Salt and pepper to taste, then i add lite italian dressing, about 1/2 a bottle. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Balsamic Green bean Salad

1 lb. green beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
Feta cheese

{For the dressing}
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
Trim ends off green beans and rinse. Steam (or boil) for about 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender. In a colander, rinse well with cold water to stop cooking, then pat dry. Cut green beans into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
Dice red onion and halve cherry tomatoes.
Place onion and green beans in a bowl. Drizzle dressing over top and toss to coat.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to marinate.
When ready to serve, add in tomatoes and feta and lightly toss.

Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit Salad

    • 1 lb fresh strawberries, diced
    • 1 lb fresh pineapple, diced
    • 12 oz fresh blueberries
    • 12 oz red grapes, diced into halves
    • 4 kiwis, peeled and diced
    • 1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges in juice, drained well and sliced into halves
    • 2 ripe bananas, diced*
Honey Lime Dressing
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp lime zest (zest of 2 medium limes)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice


  • Add all fruit to a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together they honey, lime zest and lime juice. Pour over fruit just before serving and toss to evenly coat

Secret Fruit Salad Serves 3-4

2 tablespoons dry instant vanilla pudding mix
1 pound of strawberries, quartered
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 pineapple, cubed
1 bunch grapes

Sprinkle pudding powder over fruit and stir. Serve immediately or allow to sit overnight.

Fruit Salad for a crowd

1 fresh ripe pineapple- cut into chunks, 1 ripe cantaloup- cut into chunks, 2 lbs fresh strawberries- cut in half, 4 cups seedless green grapes- left whole, 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, 4 fresh mangoes- cut into chunks. toss with 3 -5 cups powdered sugar

Cheesecake fruit salad

  • 1 3.4 ounce instant dry cheesecake pudding package- see note
  • 1 1/2 cups cool whip
  • 2 8 oz containers of strawberry yogurt
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 peach, chopped


  1. mix in a large bowl the dry cheesecake pudding powder, cool whip and strawberry yogurt. fold in the fruit being careful not to smash and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

notes: use whatever fruit you prefer, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, peaches etc…

*you do not mix the pudding before making this recipe. you are only using the dry powder mixed with the other ingredients.


Sweet Garlic Dressing

Put everything in a blender: 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 of large red onion. Liquify

Pasta Dressing #1

Mix together: 1 cup vegetable oil, 2/3 cup teriyaki sauce, 2/3 cup white wine vinegar, 3 Tbl sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper

Pasta Dressing #2

Mix together: 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbl Sugar, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tsp Pepper

Pasta Dressing #3

Mix Together: 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 2 Tbl balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp dry mustard powder, 1 clove mined garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper

Balsamic Dressing– great marinade for dehydrated tomatoes

1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar, 1 cup olive oil, 1 tsp dry mustard powder, 2 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper 1/2 tsp each

Avocado Ranch dressing

1/2 ripe avocado, 1/4 cup greek yogurt, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tsp white wine vinegar, 3 Tbl buttermilk, 1/2 tsp dill weed, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp onion powder, 1/4 cup milk- can use more if you want to thin the dressing

Thai Sweet Chili Dressing

  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce (like that used in thai cooking)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegetarian)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (~1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
  1. Simmer everything in a sauce pan over medium heat until the peanut butter has meted in and let cool

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing 

1 cup fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon honey

Combine in a blender. Store in fridge.