The summer swelter is here! July is the perfect time to whip up some light and refreshing fare that fuels our fun in the sun. Salads are a great way to make the most of the delicious and nutritious bounty that is Summer’s produce. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the superfoods of Summer boast a variety of health benefits and mouth-watering flavors. Read below to learn how to make your summer salads sizzle!
- Dark Leafy Greens – build the base of your salad with rich green leaves. The darker the color the higher in fiber and energy boosting vitamins. Opt for crisp spinach, kale, and romaine leaves, or try arugula for a peppery bite.
- Citrus – add refreshing flavor and a hefty dose of Vitamin C by sprinkling salads with some citrus. Fresh lemon or lime juice or slices of mandarin orange bring color and zest. The Vitamin C they contain also helps our bodies absorb the iron that is found in dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale.
- Tomatoes – this ubiquitous summer vegetable (technically fruit) is touted for its high concentration of the antioxidant lycopene. Giving tomatoes their bright red color, lycopene helps protect against certain types of cancer especially of the prostate, lung, and stomach. Pair tomatoes with another summer time favorite, basil, and mozzarella for a simple caprese salad.
- Stone Fruits – include apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums. Try adding these fruits to a salad for a fresh summery bite or grilling them to bring out a mix of savory and sweet flavors. Not only to they add a fresh flavor to salads, but they also add a boost of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
- Berries – for a touch of sweetness add berries. They contain some of the highest amounts of fiber amongst all fruits and adequate intakes of fiber have been linked to improved digestion, heart health, and weight management. Strawberries and spinach pair deliciously!
- Legumes – beans, chickpeas, and soybeans are all types of legumes that can round out a salad. Add a diced black bean burger, falafel, or tofu can substitute for meat in a savory summer salad.
- Mushrooms – did you know there are more than 2,000 types of edible mushrooms? Tons of variety to add to your summer salads. High in vitamin D, potassium, and B vitamins, mushrooms pack a nutritious punch and add meaty texture and umami flavor to all dishes.
- Quinoa – a complete protein with a nutty flavor, this whole grain will add some complexity to your salads. Toast the grains in a pan for a crunchy salad topper, or add cooked quinoa into any salad. Packed with omega 3, B vitamins, iron, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals, you can’t go wrong by putting quinoa in the salad mix.
- Lean Protein – chicken, fish, turkey, and plant based proteins like tofu, tempeh, and seitan make the perfect final touch to any salad. Protein keeps us feeling satisfied and gives us long lasting energy for our busy days. Be sure to add some powerful proteins to your super summer salads.
- Healthy Fats – olive oil based dressings aren’t the only source of healthy fats that can make a salad standout as a heart healthy, brain boosting powerhouse. Slices of avocado provide a touch of creaminess and a handful of walnuts, pecans, or sunflower seeds adds crunch.
What summer superfoods do you plan to cook with this summer?