Summer Salads Made Simple [Infographic]
Have you seen the tomatoes in our Marketplace lately? Everything from colorful heirloom varieties to Early Girls to one-of-a-kind strains of wild cherry tomatoes are here just in time for the dog days of summer.
And all that stone fruit — so many juicy peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums to sink your teeth into before fall. Pluots, too, just in case you’re having trouble choosing between apricots and plums.
Beautiful Japanese cucumbers from Hikari Farms are also in season. Thin-skinned and seedless, they’re perfect for chopping into salads, especially with a sprinkle of sea salt and dash of vinegar.
Don’t even get me started on all the leafy greens making their way to our Food Hub from local farms — peppery arugula and watercress, tender butter lettuce, crispy little gems, and bittersweet frisée. There are plenty of salad mixes to choose from, too.
Fragrant herbs like mint, basil, and chives are abundant this time of year, ready to be chopped and tossed by the handful onto whatever you happen to be eating.
What’s the best way to enjoy all this fresh summer produce with minimal effort (and minimal stove time)? Build a salad. The secret is in the balancing of flavors — salt, fat, acid, and to a certain degree, heat.
Fresh produce is the foundation of any no-cook summer salad, but it will only get you so far. To achieve balance, both in flavor and texture, consider adding some crunchy, salty, tangy elements — like cheese, nuts, cured meats, olives, oil, and vinegar.
We’ve created this infographic to help you assemble balanced salads all summer long. Choose an ingredient from each of the six sections, combine, taste, adjust, and enjoy. That’s all there is to it:
Tips for Elevating Your Summer Salad
You can make thousands of different salads by combining the ingredients from the infographic, but it’s still just a starting point. Sometimes a secret ingredient, a drizzle of the right oil, or the way a vegetable is seasoned or cut can make a big difference, so we asked Good Eggs employees to share their summer salad tips. Here are some of our favorites:
Our Head Chef, Chris, recommends seasoning your salad with high-quality olive oil, like Seka Hills, a 2019 Good Food Awards winner crafted from olives grown in the Capay Valley.
Before you dress your tomatoes, Chris suggests seasoning them with salt, which sweetens them by masking natural, bitter flavors while softening them so they release their juices — perfect for salads mixed with dressing.
Speaking of tomatoes, one of our category managers, Thuy, saves time on prep by sandwiching cherry tomatoes between a couple of plastic deli container lids (like the ones used for Good Eggs Kitchen products) and running a sharp knife between them to slice them in half all at once — genius!
When it’s time to dress a tomato salad, Chris likes to go with something creamy, like yogurt or aioli.
Pineapple and rhubarb make a deliciously sweet and tart pairing that will elevate any salad, according to one of our engineers, Keith.
If it was up to Keith, he’d take that stone fruit (or any grilled fruit) and sprinkle it with one of his secret ingredients to introduce a medley of exciting flavors: pumpkin pie spice mix.
Sweet summer corn also makes a great salad base. Thuy’s go-to recipe? Raw corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and garlic-lime dressing. She uses a bundt pan to prep the corn. Just stick the cob into the opening in the middle of the pan and the bowl will catch all the kernels as you slice them off.
Alex, who works on our Assortment Team, suggests adding granola to your salad for a sweet, nutty crunch.
Our copywriter, Hannah, turns her salads into dinner by using protein-packed grains like farro or quinoa as a base and adding a handful of crispy chickpeas.
Now that we’ve shared our summer-salad formula along with some tips, we want to hear from you. Your salad can be whatever you want it to be. What weird (but delicious) ingredients find their way into your bowl? Do you have any go-to pairings? How about tips and tricks that cut down on prep time? Share all your salad-related inspiration by leaving a comment below.