Salad is not quite enough for lunch or dinner unless you add a lot of ingredients to it. My Hearty Summer Salad is chock-full of deliciousness! Local greens, campari tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, steamed broccoli, toasted walnuts, and feta. Did I forget anything? Oh yes and topped with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
For Hearty Summer Salad Go Local If You Can
Whenever possible, I like to buy local greens because, to me, there is a huge difference between supermarket greens and those from a local farm. The freshness of farm greens is something that truly makes a better salad.
Lately, I've been intrigued by hydroponic-grown greens. There is a local farm near me that is producing greens by this method and I love them. It's called Lef Farms: www.lef-farms.com. I will use this lettuce during the fall and winter months and switch to regular local greens come summer. They are so fresh! Can't say enough good things about them. Also, if there is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in your area you should look into buying a share. I've been a member at Clark Farm in Carlisle, MA for the past two summers and I love it. You can read more about this in my CSA Summer Series where I incorporate my CSA greens and veggies into my recipes.
It's Your Summer Salad - What Are Your Favorite Things?
One key ingredient to a great salad, for me, is toasted nuts. Walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios. I loooove nuts in my salad. And it's worth it to toast nuts like walnuts, pecans and pine nuts because it really elevates the flavor. You can roast them in the oven or you can toast them on low heat in a pan. I chose the latter and toasted the walnuts in a pan for five minutes, stirring frequently. Remember: you must let them cool down before you eat them.
I typically choose campari tomatoes (a vine-ripe variety) for my salads because they are sweet, juicy and that deep red color is gorgeous. At this point in life, summer salad isn't summer salad without a perfectly ripe avocado. Cheese is important too and I lean towards feta, goat cheese or fresh shaved parmesan.
Salads are a great opportunity to get creative. I especially love adding steamed vegetables that have been chilled. And if you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that my most picky item when it comes to salads is the dressing. I rarely use store-bought dressing. Whipping up a vinaigrette is so easy there is no point to buying that bottled stuff.
Need More Salad and Dressing Ideas? I Gotcha Covered:
- Jonah Crab & Asparagus Salad w/Basil Vinaigrette
- My Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Sweet and Tangy Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- Avocado, Tomato, Cucumber Salad w/Basil, Dill & Feta
- How To Make Delicious Homemade Croutons
- Super Tangy Garlic Scape Vinaigrette
- Roasted Beet Salad w/Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- Kale, Radish & Parsley Salad w/Fennel, Carrots & Walnuts
- Thai Lettuce Wraps w/Rotisserie Chicken
- Steak Salad w/Pickled Red Onions & Bleu Cheese
Hearty Summer Salad w/Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 2-4 1x
Local greens, veggies, feta and toasted walnuts. Can't think of anything more satisfying for a healthy, yet hearty meal.
- 1 package salad greens (your choice)
- 2-3 tomatoes (depending on size)
- 2 avocados
- ½ head steamed broccoli
- ½ a cucumber
- ½ cup feta cheese, more if you want
- ½ cup toasted walnuts, more if you want
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (yield: approx. ¾ cup)
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ clove minced garlic
- pinch of salt & pepper
- small sprig of rosemary (optional)
- For the vinaigrette: mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk or use a jar and shake it with the lid on. The mustard will help emulsify the dressing so that it thickens and stays together.
- Steam the broccoli using a pot and a steamer insert. I like cooling it down, but if you like a warm component to your salad, you can serve it warm too.
- Toast walnuts in a pan on low heat for five minutes stirring frequently. You’ll know they’re done when you can smell the nuttiness. Let them cool before eating.
- Cut your tomatoes into quarters. If using a larger tomato, cut it accordingly.
- Slice cucumber into half-moon pieces. First slice cucumber down the middle lengthwise. Then proceed to cut into half-moons from there.
- Peel and chop avocado. Add a pinch of salt.
- Assemble your salad. Sprinkle feta on top at the end.
Steamer Insert, Stainless SteelBuy Now →
Ball Wide-Mouth Mason Jars (pint)Buy Now →
- I steam a whole head of broccoli because I like having leftovers. If you don’t want leftovers, just cook what you need for this one meal.
- Same with the nuts. I LOVE toasted walnuts as a snack so I always toast more than I need.
- The portion size. Since this is a hearty summer salad one package of greens could make two large salads or four small-to-medium salads - really depends on the size of the greens you by.
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