Bright Summer Salads Perfect for Cookouts

Summer often brings to mind cookouts. Cookouts mean grilled meat and chips, right? How about adding a delicious summer salad to the mix? Bright flavor combinations can take a boring, bland salad to the next level – it might even become the star of the show.

1.       Watermelon & Feta Salad

This delicious recipe is perfect for anyone watching what they eat. It’s also a snap to prepare. The sweetness of the melon and saltiness of the feta combine to create a pleasing flavor combination. The addition of mint and basil bring the entire dish together. 


6 cups of seedless watermelon
1/4 cup fresh basil
3 tablespoons mint
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 ounces of crumbled feta
1 tablespoon all-natural rice vinegar

Make sure your watermelon is cut into bite-sized pieces. Mince the fresh basil and mint. Combine watermelon, basil, mint and feta in a serving bowl. Pour fresh lime juice and rice vinegar over watermelon mixture. Toss gently to combine. Serve chilled.

2.       Heirloom tomatoes & peach salad

This flavor combination may sound strange, but it’s the most summer-packed salad imaginable. The crispness of the tomatoes pairs well with the softness of the peaches for a delightful texture. The acidy tomato flavor highlights the sweetness of the fresh peaches. Serving this brightly-colored salad at your next cookout is sure to get rave reviews.


1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large fresh peach, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
About 2 lb. sliced heirloom tomatoes
3 ounces crumbled goat cheese (I used Feta cheese)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, and salt. Lightly stir in diced peaches and chopped fresh basil. Spoon the peach mixture over sliced heirloom tomatoes. Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese and chopped toasted pecans. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper to taste.

3.       Beet and Carrot Slaw

Every cookout needs a great slaw to complement the barbecue – but if your family goes to a lot of summer cookouts, you might be tired of cabbage slaws. For something a little different, try out this beet and carrot slaw. The addition of Greek yogurt to this slaw makes it healthier than its cousins that contain mayonnaise or sour cream. Using candy-stripe beets will prevent the color from bleeding into the yogurt, creating a more beautiful salad. Find candy-stripe beets at farmer’s markets and nice supermarkets.


1/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
5 2″-diameter candy-stripe beets, peeled, julienned
1 medium carrot, peeled, julienned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together yogurt, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, and dill in a medium bowl. Add julienned beets and carrot and toss to combine. Use the salt and pepper to season to taste.

The best part about salads is that they are healthy and versatile. If you don’t have an ingredient, you can substitute and make a completely different dish. Adding healthy options to a menu full of hamburgers and fried potato chips can help everyone consume fewer calories and add nutrition to the day’s meals.


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