We’re not sure we even need to make a case for the health benefits of salads. Providing abundant vitamins and minerals, fiber, and quite often healthy fats and heart-protecting folates, healthy salads are clearly the sweet spot of daily nutrition.
And they’re a classic summer treat: cool and quick to make, so you can get out of the kitchen and on with your outdoor fun.
Here’s our summer salad playlist for 2018. Like hit songs of summer that keep us coming back over and over again, these summery salads reward repeating. But don’t limit yourself to our list. Make a salad playlist of your own and share it with your friends and family.
Beet and Quinoa Salad
When it comes to health benefits, the beet goes on—and on. With B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium, not to mention blood pressure-lowering nitrates, beets are a bona fide superfood. This salad powerhouse pairs them with fellow superfood quinoa, plus radicchio, dill, goat cheese, and pine nuts for a taste combination you’d have to be crazy not to love. (We know not everyone is wild about beets, but the flavor balance of this salad may change your mind.) Pairs well with the 2006 summer hit, “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.
Avocado Caprese Salad
It’s hard to improve on the classic Caprese salad, but this version with avocado really does it one better. Earthy avocado is the perfect complement to the sweetness of the tomato and the bite of the balsamic vinegar. In addition to the health benefits of both tomatoes and avocados, this salad is rich in protein to keep you going during long sunny days. Just right alongside the 1999 song of the summer, “Steal My Sunshine” by Len.
Southwestern Corn and Black Bean Salad
This southwest salad will brighten your palate with flavors of lime, cilantro, and pine nuts. The black beans are not only protein packed, but also full of fiber. Not to be outdone, the red cabbage is rich in vitamins and minerals. Splitting the difference between everything being all right and everything being just fine, this salad goes great with 2002 summer hit “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World.
Summer Market Salad with Jalapeño Dressing
The spicy, tangy dressing is half the appeal of this summer salad, but the salad ingredients—ripe heirloom tomatoes, sugar snap peas, scallions, and corn—more than hold their own. Snap peas and corn add extra fiber, and the heirloom tomatoes bring the vitamins A and C. With flavors and textures that go on and on and on, this summer salad is the perfect pairing with 2010 song of the summer “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz. You may throw your hands up in the air sometimes, so hold on tight to that salad fork.
Triple-Berry Summer Salad
No salad playlist would be complete without a summer berry salad. With strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, this salad has three times the antioxidant oomph. Spinach provides a long list of important vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. Almonds add crunch and cheese brings the tang. An excellent accompaniment to—what else?—1985 summer hit “Raspberry Beret” by Prince and The Revolution.