7 Amazing Summer Salads That Are Miles Better Than Lettuce and Ranch

7 Amazing Summer Salads That Are Miles Better Than Lettuce and Ranch

by Victoria Simpson

It’s tempting after a hectic day at work to pull out a head of lettuce, grab some leaves, toss them in a bowl, douse the whole thing in ranch dressing and call it a salad-and a days-worth of vegetables. Sound familiar? It does in this house.

Lucy Waverman’s delicious seasonal recipes can help fix this. There’s something relaxing about a good cookbook with great recipes and inspiring photos. Cruising through one like “A Year in Lucy’s Kitchen”, Waverman’s 2009 year-round cookbook, can feel like planning that long-imagined trip to Paris, where simply looking at the photos transports you to that other space.

As a Cordon Blue-trained chef and a food columnist with The Globe and Mail Waverman will lead you down the path to solid salad change. If you let her, she will lead you far away and into the land of multi-faceted, beautiful roughage.

Read on and savour the following seven recipes; delights from a tome that The Quill and Quire accurately called ‘the sort of book worth staying home for’.

1) Mango Chicken Salad

grilled chicken

Serves 4


1 small barbecued chicken, skin and bones removed

1 mango, peeled and slivered

2 cups bean sprouts

½ cup slivered green onions

3 cups baby spinach



½ tsp grated lime rind

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce


Lucy says:

Whisk together lime rind and juice, vinegar, vegetable oil, hoisin, soy sauce and sesame oil in a bowl. Season with salt.

Shred chicken and place in a separate large bowl. Add mango, snow peas , bean sprouts and green onions and toss to combine.

Toss salad with three-quarters of dressing.

Place spinach on a platter and toss with remaining dressing. Top with mango salad.


2) Salad of Arugula and Artichoke Fritters

Serves 4

Artichoke Fritters

½ tsp kosher salt

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup club soda

vegetable oil for deep-frying

5 roasted artichoke hearts, quartered



2 tbsp lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste



6 cups baby arugula

12 white anchovies

½ cup roasted cherry tomatoes


Lucy says:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Combine salt and flour in a bowl. Whisk in club soda to make a smooth paste. Work the moisture as little as possible. Gently stir in the rest of the soda.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add 2 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 350°F, or until a cube of bread browns in 15 seconds. Working in batches, quickly dip artichoke pieces into a batter and add to oil. Do not crowd pan. Deep-fry for 1 minute, turning once, until golden. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep warm.

Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine arugula, anchovies and tomatoes in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Serve salad garnished with fritters.


3) Grilled Caesar Salad


Serves 4 to 6


3 small heads Romaine lettuce or hearts of Romaine

¼ cup olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 red onions, peeled

6 slices baguette, ½ inch thick

1 clove garlic, halved


Caesar Dressing

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp lemon juice

½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese

¼ cup olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper


Lucy says:

Cut Romaine heads in half or in quarters if they are large.

Brush with 2 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill on high. Grill Romaine for about 1 to 2 minutes per side (with lid closed), or until charred but not limp.

Cut red onions into thick rounds and brush with 1 tbsp oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, or until limp and slightly charred. Cool and separate into rings.

Grill bread for 1 minute per side, or until toasted. Remove from grill and brush with remaining 1 tbsp oil. Rub on both sides with halved garlic clove.

Combine anchovies, minced garlic, mayonnaise, Worcestershire and lemon juice in a small bowl.

Crumble in 2 tbsp. Parmesan. Whisk in oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cut thick core from grilled Romaines. Place on individual serving plates and pile onions alongside. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and serve with toasts on the side. Drizzle extra dressing around lettuce.


4) Elvi’s Tomato Salad


Serves 4

3 cups ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2tbsp torn fresh basil leaves

sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Lucy says:

Place tomatoes in a bowl. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with basil and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.


5) Simple Potato Salad


Serves 4

2lb (1kg) potatoes, unpeeled

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup white wine vinegar

1 tbsp horseradish

salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup finely chopped green onions


Lucy says:

Cut potatoes into same-sized pieces. Place in a pot, cover with salted water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are crisp-tender. Drain well.

Whisk together oil, vinegar and horseradish in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer warm potatoes to a bowl and toss with half the dressing. Cool.

Add green onions and remaining dressing, seasoning again if needed.


6) Corn and Tomato Salad

Serves 4

3 ears corn, husked

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 jalapeno

½ tsp chopped garlic

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 head red leaf lettuce

4 oz (125 g) cooked green beans

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

¾ cup chopped red onions

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander


Lucy says:

Brush corn with vegetable oil, and grill over high heat, rolling corn around occasionally, for 15 to 17 minutes, or until corn is tender and kernels are golden. Grill jalapeno for 3 minutes per side or until skin is blistered. Cool.

Skin, seed and chop jalapeno. Remove corn kernels by slicing them off with a knife into a bowl (reserve any juice).

Place ½ cup corn and any liquid in a food processor. Add garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar and maple syrup. Process until as smooth as possible. The vinaigrette should look like lightly whipped cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Tear lettuce into a salad bowl. Top with green beans, tomatoes, onions, remaining corn and jalapeno. Drizzle salad with vinaigrette. Garnish with coriander.


7) Asian Plum Salad


Serves 4


½ tsp grated lime rind

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp granulated sugar

½ tsp grated gingerroot



½ cup thinly sliced red onions

1lb (500g) plums, pitted and thinly sliced

½ English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on the diagonal

¼ cup fresh Thai basil


1 small head Boston lettuce


Lucy says:

Whisk together lime rind and juice, fish sauce, oil, sugar and ginger in a small bowl.

Combine red onions, plums, cucumber and basil in a separate bowl.

Toss plums and vegetables with dressing and season with salt.

Line a plate with lettuce leaves and pile salad on top.

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