Sunday, June 8, 2014

Your Top 10 Light and Fresh Summer Salads! (and Sides)

It’s already hot outside! Sweaty hot, Sticky hot, the kind of hot, that makes you want to blast up the AC in your home, turn down the shades, and pretend Summer is not yet here. But it is!!! With  Memorial Day behind us, we were all reminded of how pale we had gotten over the Winter. Right…and, also how our curves suddenly seemed to have become more lush, and how our jeans shorts suddenly seemed to have become a little snug…(sigh…!)

But, never mind, Summer is Here!! And so are Saturday visits to Farmers Markets, Sunday sandcastles with the kids, cool cotton tunics and white and turquoise with everything! But what is Summer without a little glow…a little tan…a little leg…and a whole lot of sexy confidence?

Speaking of which, I find that I am less hungry in the Summer, so I find that I eat more healthy, and naturally, I am more thirsty in the Summer, so I drink lots of water and lemonade!. I write this article while continuously sipping Lemonade (of course!) about my top 10 Summer Salads! Full of fruit, (think Watermelon, Strawberries and Mandarins!!) and Greens. Sprinkled with a dash of nuts and smothered with  my favorite marinades. Not to forget Avocados. Which almost always infuses a special green tropical delish into my salads.

As you read this, I ask you – comment below for me. Which your favorite salad of all time is!! Will you do that for me? Please?

For now, let’s dive in!


I am getting you started a summer fresh Watermelon and Basil Salad! Imagine sweltering in a hot summer afternoon picnic or a barbeque and craving the cool and refreshing respite of Watermelon – deemed the world’s healthiest food! I had this salad once when I was in a meat heavy barbeque, where all I could eat was roasted vegetables, and voila, glistening from the middle of the picnic table was this heavenly Watermelon Salad! Ever since, this salad is a staple in my summer menus! Toss cubed watermelons with cherry tomatoes, basil and feta cheese, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and have for yourself the most amazing salad you’d have ever eaten in your life!! Plus, you cannot get more lycopene than in one serving from any other dish!


Coming up next is my other favorite Black Rice and Avocado Thai Salad! Black rice (also known as purple rice or Forbidden Rice) is a new age, protein filled, box blackening kind of rice, that tastes positively delicious. Legend has it that this Chinese black rice got its name because it was so nutritionally beneficial that only the emperors were allowed to eat it. Varieties include but are not limited to Indonesian black rice and Thai jasmine black rice. I cook mine the regular way, and toss it with some olive oil and tons of Avocados, add a dollop of Thai dressing. Dress with  Peanuts and Mandarins. Serve immediately.


I fell in love with the Avocado Pesto Salad during my tropical paradise vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As you might have read in my travel and cuisine post,  it rains Avocados in Puerto Rico. This easy as pie, salad is my ode to healthy, yet indulgent eating!!


This next salad is a just a toss of all my favorite farmers market finds. Strawberries, Strawberries and more strawberries! Of course, a little sprinkle of Vidalia onions and Feta Cheese never hurt any salad. Toss with a lovely balsamic vinaigrette to round out the sweet and tangy taste of the Strawberries.


All moms cheat right? You know that! This particular salad is a great doppelganger for the good ole cupcake. I cheated my twin 4 year olds into believing that these were cool green cupcakes!! Ha ha! Just dice cucumbers into bite sized discs, top with creamy jalapeno crème cheese or mayo, and dress with  walnuts and spring onions!! Yummy delish delight!


Who does not love corn salsa? Everyone I know surely do!! I was first introduced to spicy corn chaat in the streets of Bangalore. Indian street food vendors have got the formula right. The correct proportions of spices, the right crunch of the corn and the perfect portion size, that always leaves you craving for more, after you have scooped up the last bite from your newspaper cup! So, inspired by Indian street food, I present to you the vibrant corn salsa salad. You can just about add anything to it, including the boring broccoli to take a playful approach to getting your veggies in.


Tzatziki is my quintessential ode to Greek cuisine. Tzatziki combines is cool cucumber, zesty  Greek yogurt. Garlic, Dill or Mint, lemon and salt and pepper, to gracefully finish this aaaaahwesome dip/side/just like that accompaniment to pita, chips, wraps or just vegetable slices! Try it this summer! Here’s an awesome recipe.


I am not going to belabor good ole guacamole! If you have been following my culinary adventures on Facebook, you will know that I overdo Guacamole to a fault! And you cannot blame me. I have a failsafe recipe for Guacamole, that I will share with you, and hope that try!!! Here it is – Finely dice onions and tomatoes. Add 2 scooped up avocados in a medium size mixing bowl (the brighter, the better!) and add the diced veggies.. Add finely minced garlic, green chillies, cilantro, salt and add a handful of cooked corn to the bowl, and voila your Guacamole is ready!! And call me if you don’t love it! JServe with chips, tortillas and fajitas.


The Farfelle salad is a toss together of the leftovers from last night. Commonly known as "bow-tie pasta", the name is derived from the Italian word farfalla (butterfly). If you have some cooked pasta (it could be any kind!) left over, toss together with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and dress with your favorite veggies. You can never go wrong with bell peppers, onions and peas! Add cheese crumbles and nuts just before you serve!


Arugula and pears flourish during the cooler late-autumn weather. But I do find them in our local farmers market throughout the year! Put them together for a great balance of sweet and piquant. The roasted pear is lightly dressed with a maple-sweetened vinaigrette to accentuate the natural flavor of the arugula. 

As I close, I hope you enjoyed this cool, fresh, and easy ode to summer lunches! Also known as PURE SALAD HEAVEN. And maybe even dinners. Be sure to comment below for me. Which your favorite salad of all time is

And I am heading out for a Sunday morning walk right now. Cos, it’s not all about what you eat is it?

Stay Fit and Light this Summer my friends.




  1. Great post supriya! I am inspired to eat right and stay fit! Thanks for these simple and delicious fixes. I love a mean desi salad too - the usual veggies tossed in with a pinch of cumin and paprika powder and a cubed mangoes for just the right hint of tangy "ness". Here's to summer!

  2. Here's the Summer! Thanks Deepa. Oooh, your salad sounds delish! I cannot wait to try it!


  3. Nice collection of salad-recipes! My current favorite summer salad is all green and blue. Thin slices of English cucumbers, chopped green peppers, celery and (my favorite part) blueberries - tossed with lime juice and ground pepper. Refrigerate before serving.

  4. Shruthi, that sounds very refreshing. And I love the color palette too! It would be a veritable delight photographing this gorgeous salad! :)

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  5. Excellent list and a great variety for summer for sure..I like the good old Carrot Kosambri (salad) with fresh tomato cubes, a few mango and cucumber pieces to add the extra crunch, cilantro, lemon juice, a dash of rasam powder, salt..Enjoy..

  6. I love your compilation and pictures. My favourite has to be figs and panna cotta with lettuce in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing and some walnuts for crunch. I had this in a breezy outdoor cafe in the courtyard of an old traditional house in Bengaluru,hooked to this since then :D

  7. Oh my that sounds delightful!! Thank you for sharing VIDYA! I am going to have your salad for lunch tomorrow!


  8. SJ - Nothing to beat the classic faves with a non-traditional twist huh? I am sure the mango and cucumber taste summer splendid with the kosambri!



  9. Logan David Whitehouse The kale and Brussels sprout salad at Costco is awesome and very replicable. And crossfit for the body. Lots of that...
    June 12 at 7:13am · Unlike · 1

    Supriya Murthy Hahaha! !
    June 12 at 7:22am · Like

    Shibani Shenoy Wow thats one exotic salad list.I am not a salad person but for one simple tomato & onion salad which my grandmom use to make & now i hve my hubby hooked on to it too
    June 12 at 7:34am · Unlike · 1

    Sripriya Murthy Heard chocolate is now considered to be a salad. So,I would say chocolate salad with chocolate dressing.
    June 12 at 7:49am · Unlike · 1

    Divya Rao 3-bean-mix + shredded carrot + cucumber + corn + peanuts (lots of it) with a simple lime juice & salt dressing
    June 12 at 7:53am · Unlike · 1

    Suman Seshadri red bell pepper, cucumber, garbanzo beans, avacado all with a dash of salt, pepper, lime. YUM
    June 12 at 11:47am · Unlike · 1