5 Superb Summer Salads That Fit the Bill All Summer Long

I don’t know about you, but all throughout the summer, I get a craving for salads. Who wants to be tied to a hot stovetop when sunshine and street fests are calling? Pick up some produce at your local farmers’ market, whip up a dressing and dig in.

Pro tip: I like to chop and assemble everything on Sunday so I have prepared meals all week. Some of these recipes do call for oven or stove time, but then you’re set for several days. These salads keep well in the fridge – just add the avocado right before eating/serving so it doesn’t go bad.

Cobb Salad

Get your protein fix with this healthy take on a traditional Cobb salad. Serves one.

Ingredients and Directions

Assemble and serve:

  • Kale or mixed greens
  • 1-2 slices of turkey bacon
  • ½ cup of artichoke hearts
  • ½ of an avocado
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (I like yellow ones)
  • ½ cup of cooked chicken (buy a rotisserie chicken to make this super easy)
  • Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice
  • Optional: add a hardboiled egg

Aliza’s Salad

My good friend Aliza shared this salad with me, and now I’m hooked. Serves one (plus extra ingredients for next time).

asweatlife_summer salads_Aliza's salad


  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Large red onion
  • Can of garbanzo beans
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup of marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1/8 cup of slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 ounce of manchego cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Roughly chop a large red onion.
  • On a foil-lined pan, drizzle the chopped red onion and garbanzo beans with a little bit of olive oil and a lot of balsamic vinegar. Roast for 30 minutes.
  • Mix together the spinach, arugula, artichoke hearts, almonds and sun-dried tomatoes. Add ½ cup of the onion and garbanzo beans mixture. Grate manchego cheese on top.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard with ½ tbsp of olive oil and ½ tbsp of maple syrup. Dress the salad and enjoy.

Updated Caesar

This is a super simple but delicious salad that’s easy to modify to your preferences. Serves one.

asweatlife_summer salads_Updated caesar

Ingredients and Directions

Assemble and serve:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • 2 small tomatoes on the vine, chopped
  • ¼ cup of garbanzo beans
  • 10 kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup chopped cucumber slices
  • ½ cup broccoli florets
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • Caesar dressing (I like Cardini’s)
  • Optional: My husband always adds croutons, cheese and hardboiled eggs.

Panzanella Salad

Pair this refreshing summer salad with a crisp white wine. Perfection! Serves four.

asweatlife_summer salads_Panzanella 1


  • 1 crusty loaf of bread (I like ciabatta)
  • ½ pound red cherry tomatoes
  • ½ pound yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces of small mozzarella balls (the kind that comes in liquid)
  • 1 small container of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or substitute dried garlic)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • Cut ciabatta bread into cubes and place in a single layer on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Toast the bread in an oven at 375 degrees for a few minutes until lightly browned.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar and garlic together, then add the oil. Add the remaining ingredients, layering to mix things up. Top with more olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the dressing. Alternatively, store it in the fridge and eat it cold once you’re ready to dig in.

Taco Salad

We ate taco salad at least once a week in my house growing up, and I always requested it for my birthday! Over the years, I’ve modified the recipe to make it a bit healthier. Serves two (plus extras for next time).


  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • Tomatoes on the vine, chopped
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Optional: Mexican cheese, tortilla chips


  • Cook the meat in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the meat is cooked through, add the packet of taco seasoning. Continue cooking for several more minutes, until the meat is browned.
  • In two separate bowls, layer each of the following: generous handful of romaine lettuce, ½ cup of black beans, handful of chopped tomatoes, ¼ cup of corn and ½ cup of turkey meat. Top each bowl with generous spoonfuls of guacamole and salsa.
  • Add Mexican cheese and tortilla chips, if desired.
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About Kelsey Schagemann

Kelsey is a former NCAA Division III cross country and track athlete who exchanged sneakers for spin shoes in her twenties. Hailing from the great state of Oregon (by way of St. Louis, where she spent her childhood), Kelsey has made Chicago her home since 2006. She can often be found at the helm of her daughter’s stroller, walking miles throughout the city. Her other favorite fitness activities include spinning, yoga, lifting weights and biking. As a freelance writer, Kelsey works with universities, nonprofits, websites and magazines (visit bit.ly/kelseyschagemann for more information). In her spare time, she enjoys trying new recipes, traveling with her family and keeping the library in business. Kelsey holds a BA in English from Kenyon College and an MA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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