As a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, lover of all things vegetable based, and a salad connoisseur, I am often asked, “Don’t you EVER get sick of salads?” My answer is a firm NEVER , since they are so super versatile. But I do love salads the most in the summer, when the weather is HOT, so the crisp veggies are extra refreshing. Not to mention, the fruit tastes like candy (to me!), and adds an additional great element to a savory salad. You just can’t beat that salty sweet combination!
Below I’m sharing a couple of my homemade recipes, to which you can add your own favorite proteins (anything from burgers, to hard boiled eggs and fish) and switch up the fruits and vegetables. I’ll also show you some of my favorites from both local and destination restaurants that you can visit to enjoy, or copy for your own at home. Happy creating!
Massaged Kale and Mango Salad with Grilled Chicken
This one has superfoods that can help naturally detox against extra summer cocktails and ice cream!
- Avocado: contains glutathione, a compound that blocks fat absorption and helps in cleansing the liver. It’s also high in fiber to improve digestion.
- Kale: binds to bile acids to get rid of them and eliminate from the body, thus lowering cholesterol levels.
- Lemon: detoxes the liver, aids in digestion (increased saliva with its sight, smell, flavor), and stimulates pancreatic juice for digestion.
- 1 bunch of kale (black, also called Lacinato, works great): remove stalks, and chop leaves thin
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup olive oil, with extra for drizzling
- Himalayan pink salt
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup mango diced
- 2 heaping tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 2 grilled chicken breasts
- 1/2 avocado diced
- In a large bowl, add kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little salt. Massage with hands (or add these ingredients to Ziploc bag and massage in bag) until the kale starts to soften up. This takes about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make dressing.
- In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with maple syrup and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper (to your taste). Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until dressing is well mixed. Add the dressing to the kale, and toss thoroughly.
- Add the mango, pumpkins seeds, chicken breast, and avocado.
- Toss again, serve, and ENJOY!
This recipe serves 2-3 people depending on your appetite!
Spinach Berry Salad
This salad is great for your SKIN!
1.5 cups spinach leaves
1/4 avocado diced
1 tbsp sliced almonds
Dressing: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together and ENJOY!
Here’s why this salad has super skin powers:
- The spinach is very high in Vitamin A. With more than the Daily Value of Vitamin A just in one cup, it can help promote cell turnover, inhibit oil gland activity, and help prevent acne. Without sufficient Vitamin A, skin can become dry, rough and scaly. Vitamin A is fat-soluble and spinach contains no fat, BUT the olive oil and avocado help for the best absorption.
- The spinach, berries, avocado AND almonds all contain FIBER. Fiber improves digestion, helps rid the body of waste and decreases inflammation, all of which is great for the skin.
- Spinach, berries, lemons, and avocados are great sources of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental pollutants + toxins and prevents bruising. It also aids in collagen production and improves blood vessel dilation, which brings more blood and nutrients to the skin. It helps with quicker healing.
- Spinach is one of the best sources of Potassium, which helps with fluid balance, and skin is healthiest when hydrated.
- Almonds and avocados are high in Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps repair and protect the skin. It helps protect skin from UV light and free radical damage.
- Avocados (and olive oil) contain healthy fat, which helps keep skin moisturized from the inside out. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that are great for the skin.
Healthy “Hot Dog” Salad
One afternoon when the kids were having hot dogs on the grill, I had an Organic Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage from Trader Joe’s. I sliced it, placed it on top of a salad and added gut-healthy sauerkraut and some mustard. These toppings have so much flavor that this salad doesn’t even require salad dressing!
Wild salmon is one of my favorite proteins. I love the flavor and it’s very high in Omega 3s, which are anti-inflammatory and great for you skin, brain, and even sore muscles. Here are the details for these three summer salmon salads:
- Terrain Café Westport: Their Strawberry and Asparagus Salad is made with: frisee, pickled celery, shaved carrots, marcona almonds, almond vinaigrette. I added salmon.
- Water at 1 Hotel South Beach: These salads were so good I had them everyday I was on vacation in Miami last month. The first one was the Organic Green Salad with greens, cherry tomatoes, radish, alfalfa sprouts, soy nuts, and key lime dressing. The soy nuts added an interesting crunch (almost like a crouton!) that I would add to other salads in the future! The second one was the Edamame + Carrot Salad made with purple and green cabbage, avocado,, scallions, sesame, Serrano pepper, cilantro, and carrot cumin dressing. Using cabbage instead of lettuce is a fun switch, full of fiber and nutrients.
There is nothing better in the summer than cold, sweet, juicy watermelon. Not only does it taste amazing, it is high in water content, lycopene, antioxidant Vitamin C, and potassium. This all means it’s great for summer skin! I love how it tastes paired with a strong cheese, such as feta, and placed over greens. This salad here was from a Mediterranean restaurant in NYC called Amali. It had greens, watermelon, feta, radishes, and cucumber with a honey vinaigrette. Try making this one at home!
Kale Mango Salad
This salad is from Mystic Market in Westport. I served it multiple times and work and family events. It was a hit every time. The sweet mango compliments the strong kale flavor perfectly. The edamame and quinoa make it a delicious complete meal. You can order from Mystic Market OR try your own at home.