Is the summer really complete if you haven’t been to a BBQ? We don’t think so. Gathering with friends around good food is a summer must, but those side salads that are loaded with mayo, mushy potatoes and overcooked macaroni? We could do without.
Instead, we’ve put together five side salads that we urge you to consider in place of the classics. Some of these are just a lightened up spin, some introduce fresh flavours and twists, and all are sure to please your guests!
1. Greek quinoa salad: this salad is so easy and so delicious. Quinoa makes the salad filling, chickpeas add protein, and the fresh veggies offer a satisfying crunch. Let the cooked quinoa cool, and then add chickpeas, chopped cucumber, tomatoes, red peppers, and red onion. To dress the salad, we used Greek spices, olive oil and lemon but you could also use a Greek salad dressing if you choose to, and topping with feta is always an option.
2. Vegan potato salad: this is a fun twist on a classic, and is perfect for guests who don’t eat meat/animal products. We baked potatoes at 400 degrees until they were crispy (no oil needed) and lightly salted using sea salt. We then topped with vegan ranch sauce, chives and coconut bacon. Did we mention we love coconut bacon? To make it, simply bake coconut flakes with liquid smoke, soy sauce and a bit of maple syrup until crisp. It’s a perfect, delicious alternative and will please even the biggest bacon lovers. This option is much lighter because it isn’t weighed down with mayo, but is equally (if not even more) delicious.
3. Avocado salad: this salad is so fresh and light. The ingredients list couldn’t be simpler – avocado, cucumber and tomato. The cucumber and tomato are so juicy and refreshing, and the avocado pairs perfectly with them. Top with lemon juice, a touch of olive oil if desired, and Parmesan cheese for a salad that is sure to please. You can even opt for vegan Parmesan to make this vegan-friendly!
4. Chipotle pasta salad: we love the kick this salad offers. Inspired by a great Ambitious Kitchen recipe, we combined gluten-free pasta with corn, black beans, green onion, tomato and cilantro. For the dressing, we combined a chipotle pepper with a few spoonfuls of adobo sauce, lime juice and Greek yogurt for a light yet spicy dressing. Then, we topped with avocado and more cilantro. The Greek yogurt adds protein and makes a creamy dressing that isn’t as fatty as mayo, and the veggies pack crunch and nutrients that are sure to please!
5. Berry avocado salad: we had to include at least one green salad. For this, we topped a bed of baby kale with strawberries, almonds, dried cranberries, avocado and feta. We didn’t even need dressing because the combination of strawberries and feta offered a sweet and salty flavour, but a light balsamic dressing or some lemon juice would be perfect!
What are some of your favourite summer side salads? How do you like to shake things up and stray from the old classics?