This summer salad is one of the best salad recipes to make with seasonal produce. Top your healthy salad with homemade orange-basil vinaigrette dressing, made using fresh basil and orange juice. This delicious salad recipe makes a 15-minute, easy summer lunch or dinner!
Although the variety differs depending on location and time of year, fresh produce is available to all of us. If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm location, your choice of fresh fruits and veggies is nearly endless.
What fruits and vegetables are in season now?
Obviously, this summer salad is full of summer vegetables that are local to me. But do you know what produce is in season in your area? If you don’t, you can find out with an incredibly helpful online tool, and it’s free!
The Seasonal Food Guide website is an amazing resource. When you get to the site, simply choose your state from the dropdown menu. At that point, you’ll want to choose the time of year on the calendar menu. Then wait a couple of seconds and magically, a list of seasonal produce in your area will appear.
How to build a healthy summer salad
The base of our salad is lettuce; any variety you like. Personally, I like a mix of healthy greens. Some options might be:
- Baby spinach
- Green or red leaf lettuce
- Lamb’s Lettuce
If you’re the type of person who prefers iceberg lettuce, I encourage you to mix it with a darker green. Unfortunately, there isn’t much nutritional value in iceberg lettuce.
Have you heard the saying, “Eat the rainbow”? No, I’m sorry to say, they aren’t referring to a bag of Skittles. Not only are colorful veggies appetizing, but they’re also usually the most healthy. Aim to add 3 or 4 of them to your salad.
Great vegetables to add to your summer salad are ones that you enjoy eating raw. After all, this is a quick and easy salad recipe, remember? Cooked veggies need not apply. Some of my favorites include:
- bell peppers
- red cabbage
NUTS OR SEEDS AND PROTEIN
For a bit of crunch and a good source of B-vitamins and minerals, consider adding some sunflower seeds to your summer salad. Other healthy choices might be almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin, flax, or chia seeds. For extra protein, consider adding some grilled chicken, steak, or a vegetarian protein such as tofu or sprouted lentils.
The orange-basil vinaigrette dressing on the summer salad is made with extra virgin olive oil. That’s a healthy fat that also happens to be delicious. Other healthy fats to add to your salad could be avocados or avocado oil.
Summer Salad Dressing Options
If you don’t care for the orange-basil vinaigrette dressing on your salad, consider making Maple Mustard Balsamic Dressing or Honey Lemon Vinaigrette. No matter what dressing you add to your salad, be sure that it’s homemade, or at the least, bottled without sugar added.
Summer Salad with Homemade Salad Dressing
- 2.5 oz lettuce (70g)
- 2-3 carrots
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 avocado
- 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 Tbsp mustard
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 3 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 cup basil leaves
- Wash and spin dry lettuce.
- Wash, peel, and julienne carrots.
- Wash, deseed, and thinly slice the red bell pepper.
- Add corn (either fresh or if frozen, defrost by pouring boiling water over it, then add to the salad)
- Peel, pit, and dice avocado.
- For the vinaigrette add orange juice, mustard, avocado oil, rice vinegar, honey, and basil leaves to a jar and then blend with an immersion blender.
- Pour dressing over salad, give a quick stir and serve immediately.