Nourishing salads for summer

Take advantage of all the delicious summer produce with these satisfying salad recipes. These easy recipes go a step above your usual salad by featuring ingredients like fresh peaches, watermelon and corn. Thanks to additions like goat cheese, chicken and quinoa, these colourful bowls will keep you fuelled for all your summer activities.

Emily Tam, Registered Dietitian and Special Projects Lead at UHN’s National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), shares some of the surprising benefits that can be found in these recipes. Enjoy!

Watermelon, cucumber & quinoa salad

Pairing a summer staple like watermelon with a nutritious grain like quinoa, this easy-to-make salad is the ideal summer dish. Top it with a refreshing basil and mint vinaigrette and enjoy! You can also make it a full meal by adding a protein of your choosing (like chicken or edamame).

“Quinoa is rich in magnesium, a mineral that plays an important role in a variety of processes in the body, yet many people do not consume it in adequate amounts.” – Emily

Yields: 4 servings



  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • ½ cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • ½ cup thinly shaved red onion
  • ½ cup crumbled goat Greek feta cheese


  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Put a medium saucepan on the stove, add the water and quinoa on medium high heat. Stir and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 12-15 minutes (or until cooked). Fluff with a fork and let cool.
  • In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients for the salad.
  • In a small container or jar, mix all the ingredients for the dressing and shake to mix.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Summer peach salad with avocado, toasted almonds and goat cheese

Spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the outdoors this summer with this delicious peach salad. Loaded with heart-healthy avocado and nutrient-rich spinach, this healthy dish will only take you 15 minutes to prepare. Make it a meal by adding a grain and protein of your choosing!

Yields: 4 servings


  • 4 to 6 cups spinach
  • 2 sliced large peaches
  • 1 diced avocado
  • ½ thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • ½ cup sliced toasted almonds (for a nut-free recipe, omit the almonds)


  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • Optional: 1 tsp sugar to sweeten the dressing
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a small bowl or container, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, Dijon and salt and pepper.
  • In a large bowl, add spinach. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over spinach and mix together to evenly coat the spinach.
  • Top salad with peaches, avocado, red onion, goat cheese and toasted almonds (if desired).
  • Gently mix it all together, serve, and enjoy!

Summer salad with corn, strawberries & avocado

Is there anything better than fresh corn in the summer? It turns out there is. Enjoy the flavours of summer in this hassle-free meal.

“In addition to being summertime stars, corn, strawberries and avocado are high in fibre and folate.” – Emily 

Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 ear of corn, husk removed
  • 1 long cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomato
  • ½ avocado, cubed
  • 2 cups fresh quartered strawberries
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add corn straight into the water or use a steamer basket. Cover and let it steam for 5 minutes.
  • While the corn is steaming, chop the remaining ingredients (strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, fresh basil) and crumble the feta.
  • Remove corn from water and let it cool until it’s cool enough to touch; stand the corn upright and use a large knife to slice the kernels off the cob.
  • In a large salad bowl, combine the corn with the strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and fresh basil.
  • Top with crumbled feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss the salad and enjoy!

Tip: you can let the salad cool in the fridge for 30 minutes before eating if desired. If you go this route, add the avocado, lemon juice and olive oil separately, right before you’re about to eat.

Bonus: Mediterranean tuna pasta salad

Try this hearty mayo-free Mediterranean tuna pasta salad from Stephanie Kay nutrition!

Did you try out any of these recipes? Let us know! Share your picture on social and tag us

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