Made of colorful and bright fresh produce of various textures, salads are essentially summer in a bowl.
Just because they're healthy doesn't mean they have to be boring, though. If you're stuck somewhere between good ol' Caesar and your run-of-the-mill garden salad, fret no more.
Here are six easy, delicious, and refreshing ways to revamp your summer salad into the top contender at the barbecue.
1. Add edible flowers
Beautify your salad (and seriously impress guests) by tossing in some edible flora. Flowers like yellow-colored zucchini blossoms, hibiscus, and pansies are more than just eye-pleasing garnish. Be sure to double-check that your petaled ingredient is actually edible, though.
2. Grilled fruit
Don't let kabobs hog the grill. Juicy fruit dressed in honey, a neutral oil like butter, or a glaze like vinegar will caramelize and sweeten up your salad. Try it out with watermelon, pineapple, and peaches. Cut big fruit like mangos into wedges and skewer small fruit like berries onto kabobs. Cook the fruit over moderate heat and watch to avoid mushy burns.
3. Add a grain
Make your salad the star of the show and ditch the side dish label by tossing in some filling and nutrient-packed grains. Quinoa, millet, and farro are all packed with fiber, protein, and other vitamins. You'll want to properly cook the grain before sprinkling it into your salad.
4. Swirl in some veggie noodles
Move over, pasta salad, there's a new type of noodle in town. I'm talking about zoodles, poodles, and toodles, aka zucchini noodles, parsnip noodles, and turnip noodles. Use a vegetable peeler or spiralizer to slice raw veggies into ribbons that'll make your salad even healthier and brighter.
5. Add nuts
Add a satisfying crunch factor to your summer salads by sprinkling in some heart-healthy nuts, like almonds, walnuts, and pecans.
6. Avocado-fy it
Get rid of your plastic salad bowl and give your salad a new home by putting all the ingredients in a halved avocado. Not only are avocados packed with healthy fats, but they're also portable and single serving-sized. Dress the halved and pitted avocado with pico de gallo or a salsa.
Now, who said salad had to be boring?