Summer Salad Inspiration!


Are you in a salad rut?  If you are not one of those people that can open the fridge and use a little of this and a little of that to throw together a salad or are you making one of maybe three in our recipe arsenal then this post is for you!

Heather here and I have been making all of these salads for years.  I serve them at regular week night dinners and also entertain with them.  Several have become popular in my friend’s households, with one becoming a staple at the Thanksgiving table for one of my college friends (p.s. the mandarin salad).  I am not 100% sure where these recipes originated.  I peruse Pinterest, Southern Living, Cooking Light, (for basic/classic dishes), and others for weekly meal planning inspiration.   If you google the titles I am sure you will find many sources.

Hopefully with the recipes below you will be inspired to try something new!  Salads are pretty forgiving so feel free to leave out or add ingredients to suit your tastes.  Scroll all the way to the end to get your new GO TO dressing recipe.  It is super easy and works on any salad!

Cantaloupe-Blueberry-and-Prosciutto-Salad-3Cantaloupe, Blueberry and Mozzarella Salad


  • 1 cantaloupe, scooped with a melon baller or just cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 ounces blueberries, washed
  • 8 ounces pearl mozzarella balls
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped mint
  • 10 slices prosciutto, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Combine cantaloupe, blueberries, mozzarella, and herbs. Make dressing by combining in a small mason jar and shaking well. Pour over salad and stir well to combine. Add prosciutto and toss.

IMG_7470.5Apple and Pear Fruit Salad


  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 6 oz Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1 apple sliced
  • 1 pear, sliced


  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 TBS poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp grated onion
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt


In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, and salt. Process until well blended. With machine still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture is thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds, and process just a few seconds more to mix.  In a large serving bowl, toss together the romaine lettuce, shredded Swiss cheese, cashews, dried cranberries, apple, and pear. Pour dressing over salad just before serving, and toss to coat.

mandarin-orange-chicken-salad-v-Mandarin Salad


  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 can mandarin oranges
  • 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (caramelized with sugar, optional)


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 1 TBS dried parsley
  • 2 dashes of tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine.  For the dressing, combine the balsamic vinegar and sugar and whisk until the sugar starts to dissolve.  Then whisk in the parsley, tabasco and salt.  Once combined slowly whisk in the olive oil.  This salad is better if it is dressed all together.

IMG_0761Not Your Average Summer Fruit Salad


  • 2 avocados, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups loosely packed arugula or romaine
  • 2 cups halved seedless green grapes
  • 1 mango, julienned
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1/2 cup bottled poppy seed dressing
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger


Whisk together dressing and grated ginger in a large bowl. Cut avocado slices in half crosswise; gently toss with dressing mixture. Add arugula and remaining ingredients; gently toss to coat. Serve immediately.

dsc_0357Corn and Black Bean Salad 




In a medium bowl, mix together the corn, black beans, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, and mango. For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, basil, and cumin. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Refrigerate for 1 hour, and toss again, before serving.  I love to serve this as an appetizer with tortilla chips! (Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.)

BONUS: “1-2-3-4” Salad Dressing

1 TBS of dijon mustard
2 TBS of red wine vinegar
3 TBS honey or agave
4 OZ of olive oil

This is my go to dressing recipe and it couldn’t be easier!  I call it the 1-2-3-4 because it is 1 TBS, 2TBS, etc.  Easy to remember so you can whip it up anywhere.  Whisk the first three ingredients first and then slowly ad the olive oil.  Presto!

Images courtesy of: Heather Liskow, ahintofhoney, thegraciouspantrythecocinamonologues, and greensnchocolate.

About Roz Pactor

I am a fashion and marketing consultant and blogger based in Houston, Texas. With more than three decades of experience in fashion retailing that has spanned Foley’s, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s NYC, I have earned a reputation for delivering expertise, energy and enthusiasm to my roster of clients. I have remained closely connected with designer women’s fashion as well as the misses, teens, men’s and children’s apparel and accessories markets from coast to coast.

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