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Level up your salad

July 8, 2021 | Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

July is National Picnic Month. Summer picnics sound very entertaining, in which we can enjoy food and companionship at the same time. I shared some picnic food ideas previously (a long time ago), this time I am sharing some refreshing, easy, minimum prep-time salad ideas. I don’t know if you are feeling the same way as I am, with the temperatures continuing to rise, the thought of cooking (turning on the stove and/or oven) just doesn’t sound exciting at all.

So why salads? Salads are super easy and take minimum time of preparation. They are also very refreshing and flavorful. The flavors are variable depending on the ingredients we choose. As for their nutritional values, most of the salad is packed with fiber, vitamins/minerals, and antioxidants; low in fat and sodium content (as long as you go easy on the dressings). Most salads fit into a lot of trendy diets, which includes balanced diet, heart healthy diet, diabetic-friendly diet, Mediterranean diet, plant-based diet, and many more.

What kinds of salad are we talking about here? The salad recipes are very flexible. First, pick your vegetables/fruits (spinach, spring mix, kale, coleslaw mix, berries, citrus). Then, choose your protein for the salad (cheese, egg, fish, chicken, beef, nuts). Lastly, select your salad dressing.

NOW! Are we ready to get our hands (and mind) busy? I am sharing these delicious salad recipes with you, with most of them requiring just a minimum cooking.

Vegetarian salad

Summer fruit salad with peach dressing: Before trying this fruit salad, I never knew we could incorporate greens to fruit salad. This recipe proves me wrong! It is a unique, refreshing, flavorful fruit salad! I actually used canned peaches to make the peach poppy seed dressing, because I only had canned peaches available at the time. The dressing is still very delicious, even with me slightly twisting the recipe! The recipe is adapted from Jessica Gavin.

Black bean quinoa salad: It is a very filling salad that is made with plant-based ingredients, which is perfectly fit for a vegan diet. Although it is a plant-based recipe, it contains a rich source of protein (from quinoa and black beans). The recipe is adapted from Feasting at Home.

Mexican pasta salad: The main ingredients used in this pasta salad are similar to black bean quinoa salad, so I recommend you make them at the same time (just prepare the avocado when you are about ready to serve). It is so appetizing! The recipe is adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

Salmon salad

Thai salmon salad with sesame ginger dressing: This recipe surprised me the most (in a good way)! I have never tasted kale salad before, and always iffy about eating raw kale. I love the taste of the dressing, it is very flavorful! The recipe is adapted from delicious little bites. The salad was prepared by Chef Brendan.

Salmon Greek salad with lemon basil dressing: Looking for something light for lunch? This salad is just perfect for you! The dressing is very light, and tastes tangy. The recipe is adapted from Jessica Gavin. The salad was prepared by Chef Brendan.

Greek salmon salad bowl: the ingredients are similar to salmon Greek salad with lemon basil dressing, so when you are grilling salmon, make sure you grill an extra piece for this recipe. Actually, this salmon salad bowl is easier to prepare. The recipe is adapted from Gimme some oven.

Grilled chicken salad

Sesame chicken salad: How do I describe this sesame chicken salad? It is definitely a combination of sweet, savory, creamy chicken salad. I enjoyed every bite of this sesame chicken salad. The recipe is adapted from Gimme some oven.

Caribbean grilled chicken salad: Having a serious craving for tropical food? Let me introduce you to this Caribbean grilled chicken salad! This salad is made with grilled chicken, pineapple, mango, shredded red cabbage/carrots, diced red bell pepper, and avocado, and lastly we serve it with homemade honey lime vinaigrette! The recipe is adapted from Lemon tree dwelling.

*Most of the ingredients are sponsored by DRH Health’s Food and Nutrition department.

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