Summer is fast approaching and one thing I look forward to eating more of is salads.  There is something about a big bowl of leafy greens with all the fixings that screams summer.  It’s a healthy meal and is light and refreshing on a hot day.  You also don’t often feel like you overate with a salad, and you can customize the ingredients to match your tastes.

I want to share 4 of my favorite salad recipes with you:


All are simple to make, delicious, and large enough to feed a family of 4.  If you leave the dressing off, you can portion out the ingredients to have lunches prepared for the week or dinner a couple night during the week (just add the dressing when you are ready to serve).

Let’s start with the BLT Chicken Chopped Salad.  This salad is full of fresh lettuce, crispy bacon, tender chicken, juicy tomatoes, and cheese.  It’s a jazzed-up BLT sandwich in salad form 😊

The recipe can be found here.

Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the chicken breast in a shallow baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil and turn the chicken so both sides are evenly coated with oil.  Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and garlic powder evenly over the top and bottom of the chicken.

Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the bacon according to package instructions.  Once cooked, transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain the excess grease.  Once cooled, chop and set aside.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven, and let rest for about 5 minutes.  Then slice and set aside.

Chop the lettuce and place in a large bowl.  I prefer to use stalks of romaine lettuce, but you can use a spring mix or pre-shredded lettuce – whatever works!

Top with the bacon and chicken.

Add the tomatoes, avocado, and shredded cheese.

Serve immediately with the salad dressing of your choice.  Enjoy!

The recipe can be found here.

You can toss all ingredients together before serving so it’s easier to scoop onto each plate.  You could also add some croutons (to act in place of the bread on a BLT sandwich) or add extra veggies of your choosing.  The salad dressing flavor is completely up to you.  I personally like to use a Greek vinaigrette or Western dressing because the flavors complement each other but Ranch or Blue Cheese would also work just fine.

Next up is Grilled Chicken Arugula Salad with Strawberries & Feta.  This salad is super yummy and really pretty!  It’s made up of arugula, which is fairly bitter and peppery, tender chicken, feta cheese, which is a little tangy, and strawberries.  The sweetness from the strawberries complements the bitter/peppery taste of the arugula.  It just works!

If arugula isn’t your thing, substitute spinach.  If you don’t care for feta, substitute goat cheese.  Try blueberries or blackberries instead of strawberries.  Add slivered almonds for a little crunch.  Basically, I’m saying you can mix-and-match ingredients to create your own salad variety.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by preparing the chicken.  Combine 2 Tbsp olive oil with 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar in a Ziploc bag.  Add the chicken and seal the bag.  Knead to coat the chicken with the mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and place in the hot skillet.  Discard the bag and marinade.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste.  Cook on each side for 7-8 minutes or until cooked through and an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board and slice into strips.  Set aside.

Next, make the dressing.  Combine 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp sugar in a mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine and set aside.

Now you are ready to assemble the salad.  Divide the arugula between 2-4 plates.  Top with sliced strawberries.  Divide the chicken between the plates.  Sprinkle feta cheese over the top.  Divide the dressing evenly between the salads.  Enjoy!

The recipe can be found here.

I love the warm chicken with the crisp arugula and sweet flavors of the fruit.  It’s a wonderful meal that will taste like it took forever to prepare when in reality….it was quite simple!

Next up is Doritos Taco Salad.  This is a salad most of us have probably had before…. think deconstructed taco with the fillings mixed in a bowl with some lettuce and topped with a dressing.  However, this version adds crushed up Nacho Cheese Doritos (who can say no to that?) and a zesty salad dressing.  The dressing is Catalina style, which means it is sweet, sour, and a little zippy.  It’s bright red and packed with flavor!

The taco salad is somewhat customizable.  If you don’t like green bell pepper, use red bell pepper.  Or skip the black olives and add jalapenos, for example.  Any topping you would put in a taco or fajita is fair game for the salad.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by making the dressing.  Add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, ketchup, honey, Worcestershire, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder to a mason jar (or any container with a secure lid).  Shake will.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  You can make the dressing up to 2 days in advance.

I do think this dressing is powerful, so when you are ready to eat, I recommend adding a little at a time (or let everyone sauce their own salad) and adding more as needed.  You can always add more but you can’t take away!  If you don’t care for the dressing at all, skip it, and use something you like.

Next, prepare the chicken (or use ground beef).  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook to completion.  Add the taco seasoning and water (according to package instructions).  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer for about 5 minutes to let the chicken absorb the flavors.  Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.

You are now ready to assemble the salads.  Divide the lettuce between 4-6 bowls.  I like to use pre-shredded lettuce from the store.  It’s iceberg lettuce and works well in this salad.  Top with green pepper, black olives, tomatoes, corn, black beans, and cheese.

Once cooled slightly, divide the chicken between the bowls.  Top with crushed Doritos.  You can crush the Doritos by adding them to a Ziploc bag and crushing the bag with your hands or a rolling pin.  You want some large pieces so don’t create crumbs!

Drizzle a LITTLE salad dressing over the top and serve immediately. Enjoy!

The recipe can be found here.

I still suggest tasting the salad before adding too much dressing.  You can also add more Doritos, black olives, corn, etc. as you eat.  If you are like me, you eat all the toppings with the first half of the salad and don’t have much of the good stuff left for the other half, so I always need to sprinkle a little extra cheese or tomatoes on for the rest of the meal 😊

Last but not least is Spinach Salad with Fruit & Maple Dressing.  It’s exactly as it sounds…a bed of spinach, topped with fresh chopped fruit, and drizzled with a sweet dressing.  It’s incredibly refreshing and the perfect meal when you are looking for something light to eat.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by making the dressing.  Add the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice to a mason jar (or any container with a secure lid).  Shake well to combine.  Taste and add lime juice if needed.  This will help make the dressing less sweet.  Set aside.

Next, prep all the fruit.  Core and peel the apple and pear (you can leave the skin on).  Drain the can of oranges.  Optional, peel and slice the kiwi.

Last, assemble the salad.  Add the spinach to a large bowl.  You can substitute a spring mix or 50/50 mix here.  Add the apple, pear, oranges, kiwi (optional), and cranberries.  Toss to combine.

Pour about ½ of the salad dressing over the top and toss to combine.  Add more if needed or let everyone add their own dressing.

Serve immediately, letting everyone scoop heaping portions onto their plate.  Enjoy!

The recipe can be found here.

I couldn’t get enough of this salad!  The combination of fresh fruit with leafy greens was just what I needed that day.  So healthy yet so tasty 😊

What are some of your favorite salads to make?  These recipes sure got me in the mood for some warmer weather and sunshine.

Happy Cooking!

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