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5 Satisfying Summer Salads

Leftover Chicken Chopped Salad with Creamy Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

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Bursting with summery flavors, this salad is the perfect way to use up any extra chicken leftover from a barbecue.

RELATED: 7 Slimmed-Down Salad Dressings

Serves: 6

For vinaigrette
2 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For salad
4 cups Romaine lettuce, finely chopped
2 cups rotisserie chicken, skin removed, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 ear grilled corn, shaved
1 avocado, cubed
2 tablespoons feta cheese
2 tablespoons cilantro (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients until smooth.
2. Add lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, corn, avocado, and cilantro to bowl. Toss to combine with dressing.
3. Divide salad onto plates. Top each serving with feta and cilantro, if using.

Nutrition score per serving: 233 calories, 16g fat (3g saturated), 9g carbs, 16g protein, 43mg calcium, 209mg sodium

Asian Ginger Garlic Steak Salad

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This flavorful salad packs in protein plus tons of veggies in one dish, ideal for a low-key date night dinner. You could also lighten it up by swapping the steak for a chicken breast or tuna fillet.

Serves: 4

For marinade
3 tablespoons Tamari low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey

For ginger dressing
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon Tamari low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey (optional)

For salad
1/2 to 3/4 pound flank steak
6 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 1/2 cup carrot, thinly sliced or grated
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, or green onions, for garnish (optional)

1. In a large re-sealable plastic bag, add soy sauce, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar and honey. Place flank steak into the bag, coating it evenly with marinade. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
2. After marinating, place steak on a hot grill pan or skillet. Cook for approximately 6 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, place on a cutting board, and allow meat to rest for approximately 5 minutes to allow juices to settle. Using a sharp knife, slice steak against the grain into thin slices.
3. In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients for dressing together.
4. In a large bowl, combine spinach, bean sprouts, carrots, and red onion. Toss with dressing.
5. Serve salad on individual plates, topped with steak. Crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, or green onions can be used as optional toppings.

Nutrition score per serving: 178 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated), 16g carbs, 16g protein, 4g fiber, 65mg calcium, 3mg iron, 618mg sodium

Coconut Curry Salmon Salad

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Serve this salad for dinner one night, then keep half of it undressed to pack for lunch the next day—the coconut oil and curry spices will marinate and become even more flavorful overnight.

Serves: 4

For salmon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound wild salmon fillets, portioned into 4 servings

For coconut curry dressing
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For salad
1 bunch (about 1 pound) Lacinato kale, finely chopped, stems removed
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup feta cheese

1. In a medium mixing bowl, add first 5 ingredients for marinade. Whisk well to combine. Baste salmon fillets with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove salmon from fridge and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
3. In a large salad bowl, add dressing ingredients and whisk well to combine.
4. Add kale, quinoa, red onion, beans, and feta cheese to bowl. Toss to coat with the dressing. Divide salad evenly onto 4 plates.

Nutrition score per serving: 473 calories, 19g fat (9g saturated), 42g carbs, 36g protein, 9g fiber, 301mg calcium, 6mg iron, 604mg sodium

Tequila Lime Shrimp Salad

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Even my meat-and-potatoes-loving father considers this salad to be a “full meal.” For a perfect cocktail pairing, whip up batch of fresh lime margaritas to serve alongside this dish.

Serves: 4

For shrimp
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound medium shrimp, deveined
3 tablespoons high-quality tequila
1 teaspoon dried chipotle powder
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

For salad
 4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, sliced thin
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced

For dressing
1/2 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons high-quality tequila
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1. Add extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add chopped garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add cumin and red pepper flakes, and sauté, approximately 2 more minutes to let flavors blend together.
2. Add shrimp to skillet. Carefully add tequila and cook 1 to 2 minutes until alcohol burns off. Season with dried chipotle powder and salt, to taste. Sauté shrimp about 3 to 5 minutes, until fully cooked. Then add chopped cilantro, toss, and set shrimp aside on a plate.
3. In a large salad bowl, toss spinach, roasted red peppers, red onion, and garbanzo beans.
4. In medium bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together. You can alter to your desired taste by adding additional chili powder. Top with avocado slices and sautéed shrimp.

Nutrition score per serving: 342 calories, 16g fat (2g saturated), 17g carbs, 22g protein, 6g fiber, 124mg calcium, 2mg iron, 1,148mg sodium

Spicy Soba Noodle Salad

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With fresh, sweet red bell peppers, Japanese eggplant, and a simple yet exotic rice wine vinaigrette, you can’t go wrong with this Asian-inspired dish. Soba noodles are packed with protein and fiber, most varieties are gluten free, and they make an incredibly filling salad!

Serves: 8

For soba noodles
1 cup quartered and thinly sliced Japanese eggplant
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 (8-ounce) package soba noodles
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup arugula or mizuna greens
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts (optional)
2 tablespoons Thai basil or regular basil (optional)

For vinaigrette
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce

 1 teaspoon honey

1. Sauté eggplant over medium heat in sesame oil and soy sauce until just tender.
2. Cook noodles as directed on package. Strain and rinse under cool water. Set aside.
3. While soba is cooking, mix all vinaigrette ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine.
4. In the same bowl, gently toss cooled soba noodles in vinaigrette, then add eggplant, red pepper, and arugula.
5. Coat well and serve with tongs, twisting the noodles when you serve them so they stay firm. Top with crushed peanuts or Thai basil, if desired.

Nutrition score per serving: 181 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated), 26g carbs, 6g protein, 1g fiber, 427mg sodium

Photo credit: Lauren Volo

Adapted from Cook Yourself Sexy by Candice Kumai, Rodale Books, 2012


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