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6 Simple Summer Salads

Karla Conrad

Warm Chicken Salad with Dijon Dressing

Makes: 4 servings


2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 garlic clove, crushed


4 skinless chicken breasts, cooked

Salad greens

15 large green or black olives, pitted and halved

2 red onions, halved, then cut lengthwise into thin wedges


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon cider or sherry



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss tomatoes with 1 teaspoon olive oil, crushed garlic, and salt; put on a baking sheet. Roast until slightly charred and starting to collapse. Cool at room temperature. In a salad bowl, beat dressing ingredients together with a fork. Pull the chicken into long chunks; add to bowl. Add salad greens, olives, and onions; toss to coat. Put on plates, add the tomatoes, and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 404 calories, 29g protein, 12g carbohydrate, 27g fat (4g saturated), 3g fiber

Quick Chickpea Salad


Makes: 4 servings


2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

4 artichoke hearts in water

4 large sun-dried tomatoes

8 ounces very ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

8 scallions, sliced diagonally

A handful of basil, torn

1 small bunch chives, snipped

Leaves from 4 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 small garlic clove, crushed

Salt and pepper


Put the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a fork. Add chickpeas, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes; mix well. Chill, covered, for up to 4 hours. When ready to serve, add cherry tomatoes, scallions, basil, chives, and parsley. Stir; sprinkle with Parmesan and pepper.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 274 calories, 10g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 17g fat (4g saturated), 6g fiber

Big Greek Salad

Makes: 4 servings


1 head romaine lettuce, quartered and torn apart

1/2 cup kalamata olives

4 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled

2 red onions, halved, then sliced into petals

2 Kirby cucumbers, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced diagonally

4 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks

A few sprigs of oregano, torn

A few sprigs of mint, torn

8 anchovies, or to taste (optional)


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste


Put the lettuce in a large bowl. Add olives, feta, onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes. In a small bowl, beat together olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad. Top with oregano, mint, and anchovies (if using). Serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 342 calories, 10g protein, 21g carbohydrate, 26g fat (5g saturated), 6g fiber

Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

Makes: 4 servings


1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste

12 uncooked shrimp, shelled, deveined and halved lengthwise

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

Handful of mint sprigs


2 red chilies, thinly sliced and seeded

1 small shallot, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 teaspoons ground lemongrass powder or lemon zest

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Juice of 2 limes

Zest of 2 limes

Handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped

3 scallions, finely chopped

2 lime leaves, mid rib removed, leaves very thinly sliced crosswise, then finely chopped


Heat the oil and curry paste in a wok; add shrimp and cook for about 1 minute, or until opaque. Let cool. In a bowl, crush 1 chili and half the shallot. Add lemongrass powder, brown sugar, lime juice and zest; stir until sugar dissolves. Mix in remaining chili and shallot, and cilantro, scallions, and lime leaves. Spoon the shrimp into a serving bowl with the cherry tomatoes; toss with the dressing. Garnish with mint and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 99 calories, 6g protein, 12g carbohydrate, 4g fat (1g saturated), 2g fiber

Italian Lentil Salad

Makes: 4 servings


2 cups cooked or canned lentils, rinsed and drained (about 15 ounces)

4 baby artichokes in water

1 red onion, halved lengthwise and cut into thin slivered wedges

6 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese, cut into cubes or crumbled

A handful of mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, and marjoram, coarsely chopped


1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

Pinch of sea salt


In a large bowl, mix together lentils, vinegar, oil, and pepper. Add artichokes, onion, and feta; toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle with the herbs and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 340 calories, 19g protein, 25g carbohydrate, 20g fat (5g saturated), 9g fiber

Tonno e Fagioli

Makes: 6 servings


1-2 large garlic cloves, crushed


1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or white-wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cups cooked or canned cannelloni or other white beans, rinsed and drained

2 red onions, finely sliced into petals, then blanched, or 6 small scallions, sliced

1 14-ounce can tuna in water

A few handfuls of basil

Cracked black pepper


Crush the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife, add a large pinch of salt, then mash the garlic to a paste with the tip of the knife. Transfer to a bowl. Add vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the oil; beat with a fork. Add beans and onions; toss gently. Add extra vinegar and oil to taste. Drain the tuna and separate into large chunks. Add to the bowl, turning to coat thoroughly. Top mixture with basil and cracked black pepper. Serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 329 calories, 20g protein, 28g carbohydrate, 15g fat (2g saturated), 7g fiber

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2008.