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Refreshing Salads for a Light Summer - Rivertea Blog

Refreshing Salads for a Light Summer

| On 31, May 2013

Summer is the perfect time to change your diet. Not just because you need to be stunning when you’re strolling down the beach, but, because of the hot weather, you need to look out for health problems such as dehydration or vitamin deficiencies. The upside is there are a lot of delicious options to choose from when you’re putting together your menu for the day.

Eat local and seasonal is what the experts say and we agree! That’s why we’ve made a list of a few appetizing and refreshing salads that will make you feel light as a feather and help you stay cool throughout the heat.


Very easy to make and full of all the good stuff your body needs to be healthy and active, these 8 recipes are the pick of your meals under the sun. Don’t be afraid to spice them up and add one or two other ingredients to make them your own. Remember that salads can be a culinary delight! 


1. Lemon-Basil Shrimp Salad

Your taste buds will love the lemon flavor and tasty shrimp!



  • 3 pounds unpeeled, cooked large shrimp
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • Lemon-Basil Marinade
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 16 cups salad greens
  • 8 Parmesan Baskets (optional)
  • Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette



Peel shrimp, and devein, if desired. Place shrimp and next 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Seal and chill 8 hours or up to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally. Stir in basil 1 hour before serving. Drain and discard marinade just before serving.

Divide greens evenly between Parmesan Baskets or serving bowls; arrange drained shrimp mixture evenly over lettuce. Serve with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette.


2. Fresh Peach-Basil Vinaigrette

You can count on the peaches for a chilling taste. Serve alongside fresh tomatoes from the local farmer’s market.



  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large peach, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil



Whisk together the first 5 ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in olive oil. Stir in chopped peach and basil. Serve immediately.


3. Strawberry-Spinach Salad

Such a combination is pretty rare, but as strange as it sounds, it’s quite delicious. It’s perfect for a quick lunch or an easy dinner.



  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 (6-oz.) bags baby spinach
  • 1 (16-oz.) container strawberries, quartered
  • 1 (4-oz.) package crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
  • Bottled red wine vinaigrette
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste



Toss together red onion and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with red wine vinaigrette; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.


For a tasty flavor combination, replace the almonds, blue cheese, and red wine vinaigrette with pecans, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.


4. Herby quinoa, feta & pomegranate salad

Quinoa is the wonder grain of our times, being rich in protein and a good source of fiber as well as iron and magnesium.



  • 300g quinoa
  • 1 red onion , finely chopped
  • 85g raisins or sultanas
  • 100g feta cheese , crumbled
  • 200g pomegranate seeds from tub or fruit
  • 85g toasted pine nuts or toasted flaked almonds
  • small pack each coriander , flat leaf parsley and mint, roughly chopped
  • juice 3 lemons
  • 1 tsp sugar



Cook the quinoa following pack instructions – it should be tender but with a little bite. Drain well and spread over a platter or wide, shallow bowl to cool quickly and steam dry.

When the quinoa is just about cool stir through all of the remaining ingredients with plenty of seasoning.


5. Summer potato salad

It’s a classic, but in tune with the season!



  • 750g new potatoes
  • 75ml buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 100g sliced radishes
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 20g pack mustard cress , to serve


Put potatoes in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 12 mins until cooked through. Drain and cool.

Whisk buttermilk, light mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar and caster sugar with seasoning. Once spuds are cool, toss with the buttermilk dressing, radishes and poppy seeds. Sprinkle over cress to serve.


6. Chicken Salad With Grapes and Pecans

It’s the season to avoid red meat or, maybe, meat altogether. If you’re still craving it from time to time, just have a chicken salad!



  • 1/2 cup light or regular mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup light or regular sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds skinned and boned chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 3 cups red and white seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • Lettuce leaves (optional)



Stir together 1/2 cup mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chopped chicken and grapes, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Stir in pecans just before serving. Serve in stemware lined with lettuce leaves, if desired.


7. Watermelon-Prosciutto Salad     



  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups seeded and cubed watermelon
  • 2 bunches watercress
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Garnish: watermelon wedges



Brown prosciutto in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat 5 minutes. Remove prosciutto, and set aside.

Whisk together basil and next 3 ingredients; gradually whisk in oil until blended.

Arrange watermelon cubes over watercress. Sprinkle with prosciutto and pepper, and drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.


8. Perfect Summer Fruit Salad

The list wouldn’t be complete without desert. A fruit salad is a perfect reason to take a break and indulge yourself!




  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 cup seedless grapes
  • 2 cups blueberries



Bring orange juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.

Layer the fruit in a large, clear glass bowl in this order: pineapple, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bananas, oranges, grapes, and blueberries. Pour the cooled sauce over the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.


These are our top 8 salad recipe suggestions for this summer, but we’re sure there are many more uncovered  wonderful recipes, so feel free to share them with us! Leave us a comment with your favorite combos!