Summer Salad Sides

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Italian saladIf you’re having a BBQ then your going to need some side dishes, here’s a few that I’ve been making lately. When I make a salad I don’t fuss about exact measurements, I just grab a bowl or a platter, the size of which is always determined on how many people I’m feeding, then I just start cutting and tossing in all my favorite ingredients. If you love artichokes like me then add more, if you’re not crazy about onions, don’t add any. If I’m adding chickpeas I might want to start with a handful at first adding more as I go. That’s how I make a salad, so for these four salads I’m featuring I’m giving you the combination of ingredients I used but not the exact amounts, you can be the judge according  to your tastes!

For my ITALIAN CHOPPED SALAD  which is also great as a starter because of all the antipasto ingredients. I added romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, green and black olives, red onion, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, diced provolone cheese, salami and cooked ditalini pasta. Vinaigrette dressing.

zucchini ribbon salad ZUCCHINI RIBBON SALAD with ASPARAGUS and CORN. Everything here is raw except for the grilled corn, After you dress it let it sit for an hour so all the flavors meld together.  It includes yellow squash and zucchini ribbons, ( that I make with my vegetable peeler) slices of baby zucchini, tender small asparagus cut diagonally, grilled corn, parmesan chards, (the more the better), toasted walnuts, basil and chopped chives. Vinaigrette or lemon olive oil dressing.

grilled potato saladGRILLED RED POTATO SALAD. This is a tasty side for steaks, ribs, pork and chicken. Pre-grill some red potato slices by cutting the top and bottom off of the potatoes then cutting into planks, toss in olive oil and place on your grill until tender. Grilled red, yellow and orange peppers, chopped bite size, Nicoise olives, sliced grape tomatoes, chopped green onion and fresh parsley. Vinaigrette dressing.
Italian vinagrette I get asked many times how I make my Vinaigrette so here it is,  3 parts good olive oil to 1 part wine vinegar, a splash of balsamic, 1 smashed garlic clove, a dollop of dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ground pepper to taste. Whisk everything together. I always have a jar sitting in my fridge at all times!                                                                                                                                                                                                   quinoa saladGrilled Veggie Quinoa Salad. A great healthy lunch as well as a side. For this I used a tricolored quinoa that I precooked according to the package then I just added assorted and chopped grilled veggies, yellow squash, zucchini, onion, eggplant, red, yellow and orange peppers, chopped basil and lemon zest. Lemon slices for garnish. Lemon and olive oil dressing.
 How could something so simple taste so good? Fresh Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing. This simple dressing is one of my favorites! Fresh squeezed lemon juice plus a little zest, a small smashed garlic clove, whisk in some good olive oil, add salt and pepper, done! I taste as I go along checking for the right balance of juice vs olive oil, you’ll know when you get it just right!


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  1. I just have to say this is my favorite blog site….
    This is the way I like to eat.

  2. Wow! Your recipes sound so amazing I can’t wait to try all of them, so simple and fresh and wonderful. I always have leftover grilled veggies now I can use them in a new way ( I usually make grilled veggie wraps). This is a great way to use the tricolor quinoa blend as well. Thanks!

  3. I agree with Cathy’s comment! I’ll be making all of these this summer. I remember when my parents added fennel to their many of their restaurants’ sauces and how the flavor that fennel enhanced the sauces. PS: The buffalo beef was excellent; we’ll go back for more. Hope you’re having a beautiful Chicago summer!!! I’m going back to Iowa in July, but will have to by-pass Chi-town this trip due to packing a truck with stuff from my mom’s house down to my daughter in TN. Maybe this fall I can make it and give you a buzz!


  4. This is the year of the salad for me Marie. A fine selection for sure.

  5. We made the quino veggie side, replaced the basil with mint to go with grilled Lamb Chops……….awesome! Thanks for a great recipe!

  6. Perfect timing! I was just looking for some light, bright dressings vs. bottled ones. Thank you! 🙂

  7. Father’s Day is soon and this will be on the table, Thank You

  8. Marie – Those salads will keep me going all summer! I have never tried making a potato salad with grilled potatoes. Leave it to you to come up with something novel.

  9. What a treasure trove of delicious sounding salads! I have been pinning away and can’t wait to make these this summer! I have a vegetable and herb garden for the first time, right out my back door, so with your always fab recipes I’m all set! Thanks so much!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing the salads and the dressings. I just fixed Julia Child’s recipe for Salad Nicoise last night and the lemon vinaigrette was wonderful. I’m more than ready to try your version.

  11. Beautiful salads, beautiful photos, I am getting hungry just looking….

  12. Altho’ winter has well and truly arrived in my part of Australia, the seasonal difference has never made me stop eating salads – and you do have some lovely combinations here! My favourite would have to be the zucchini ribbon salad followed by the quinoa one. I haven’t eaten potatoes at all for a long time largely because of their high GI and GL, but I would like to try the same with sweet potatoes and see how things pan out 🙂 !

  13. WOW! I could eat and every one of these as a meal–they all look so healthy and delicious, Marie! I’m a potato person so I’m making that salad first and then all the others. Since I’m taking care of my four month old granddaughter all day I don’t have that much time to cook, and these salads look easy to prepare and perfect for summer. The lemon vinaigrette looks outstanding!

  14. connie gotch says

    I love your site…makes me hungry every time and encourages me to make more of these.

  15. I’ll be trying all of these salads, Marie. They are meals in themselves and will be wonderful with grilled meats. Yum.

  16. Great salad ideas Maria, glad you included the dressing recipes too! and by the way, I love your book on sauces,
    your pesto sauce is just right and your all day red gravy is just like my grandma’s!


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