It’s almost summer, and with the seasonal change comes many changes to our bodies.

It’s a well-known fact that prolonged exposure to the sun can increase exhaustion — though the benefits are added vitamins — the heat also drains us of energy and can leave one feeling totally wiped out.

The good news is that despite the heat waves and lazy days, there are a few things we can do to keep our energy up all summer long. Mainly, what fuel we put into our bodies.

Greens are proven to give your body high levels of powerful antioxidants which leave you energized and protected from harmful molecules. Salads also increase the fiber in your diet, lowering your cholesterol levels and preventing uncomfortable constipation.

Salads are also great because they increase feelings of fullness without adding unnecessary calories to your diet. This is awesome, especially in a season when the weather alone makes us feel weighed down — we don’t need heavy meals to add to that.

Bottom line: Salads are a superfood, and should definitely be a tasty, summer go-to.

Unfortunately, salads get a bad rap for being unsatisfying, often referred to as “rabbit food.” But that’s not true! And we’re here to prove that.

Below you’ll find five savory salad recipes that’ll not only keep your tastebuds happy, but they’ll keep you energized and healthy this summer.

Roasted Carrot, Fennel, & Blood Orange Salad

Recipe found here: Kitchen Konfidence

1 pound carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 large fennel bulb, root end and stalks trimmed, fennel fronds reserved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided in two
1 tsp whole cumin seeds, lightly crushed
1 tsp whole coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 tsp whole fennel seeds, lightly crushed
Kosher salt
Cayenne pepper
4 blood oranges
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Quarter carrots lengthwise, and cut each length crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Cut fennel in half lengthwise, and cut each half into 4-5 wedges.

2. Place carrot and fennel in a medium bowl, and drizzle with two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle three-quarters of the cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds. Season kosher salt. Toss distribute the spices. Transfer carrots and fennel from the bowl to rimmed baking sheet, and sprinkle with remaining crushed spices, another small pinch of salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Place the baking sheet in the oven, and cook until carrots and fennel are tender and caramelized (20-25 minutes), tossing a few times to ensure even browning. Let the carrots and fennel cool completely before adding to the salad.

3. To make the salad dressing, finely grate the zest of one blood orange into a small bowl. Add garlic, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and a pinch of kosher salt, whisking to combine. Season to taste with additional kosher salt.

4. Next, segment the blood oranges by cutting off the top and bottom just until the pulp is exposed. Stand the blood orange up on one of the flat ends. Working from top to bottom, cut away the the peel and pith, following the curve of the fruit. Slice out each orange segment by cutting in towards the center of the fruit along the connective membranes. The segment should fall out on its own, but you can use your knife to help if needed. Repeat with remaining three oranges.

5. To assemble the salad, add carrots, fennel, arugula, and black olives to a serving bowl. Gently toss in salad dressing. Taste, then add more kosher salt and lemon juice if needed. Scatter blood orange segments and fennel fronds over top.

Superfood Salad

Recipe found here: What’s Gaby Cooking

2 bunches of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup whole natural almonds
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
6 whole beets, roasted and skin removed
3 satsuma mandarins, peeled and divided into sections
1 avocado
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp orange muscat Champagne vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1. Combine the kale, quinoa, almonds, raisins, and cranberries in a bowl. Whisk together the olive oil and orange muscat Champagne vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle half of the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine.
2. Meanwhile, cut the beets into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the salad along with the sectioned mandarin oranges. Cut the avocados in half, lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin and dice into bite-sized pieces. Add the avocado to the salad.
3. Toss everything together. Taste and add the remaining vinaigrette, if desired. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

Summer Farro Salad

Recipe found here: FoodandWine

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1 small carrot, halved
1 celery rib, halved
12 ounces farro (1 3/4 cups)
5 cups water
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the yellow onion, carrot and celery, cover and cook over moderately low heat until barely softened, about 5 minutes. Add the farro and stir to coat with oil. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the farro is barely tender, about 10 minutes; season with salt. Cover and simmer until the farro is al dente, about 10 minutes longer. Drain the farro and discard the onion, carrot and celery. Let cool completely.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the farro, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes and basil, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Butter Bean, Tuna and Celery Salad

Recipe found here: Foodandwine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup snipped chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Four 3 1/2-ounce cans Italian tuna in olive oil, drained
3 celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced on the bias
Two 15-ounce cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers

1. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the mustard, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the chives and season the lemon-mustard vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, gently toss the drained tuna with the sliced celery, butter beans and capers. Add the lemon-mustard vinaigrette and toss to coat the salad. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Salmon salad with honey mustard vinaigrette

Recipe found here: Annie’s Eats

For the salmon:
4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets, deboned
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the dressing:
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. low fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. honey
1½ tbsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad:
Mixed salad greens and/or lettuce (about 16 oz.)
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled
1-2 ripe avocados
Thinly sliced red onion
Sliced or quartered grape or cherry tomatoes

1. Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the salmon fillets on the baking sheet skin side down. Brush the top sides lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 145˚ F, about 12-15 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, make the salad dressing. Combine the oil, vinegar, yogurt, honey, and mustard in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Whisk rapidly until well combined and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust seasonings to taste.
3. Slice the hardboiled eggs and the avocados. To serve, plate portions of salad greens on salad plates. Top with the egg, avocado, tomatoes and red onion as desired. Remove the salmon fillets from the skin and then transfer use to top the salads. Flake or slice gently. Drizzle lightly with the mustard vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Hope it helps!
wenzelDr. Aaron Wenzel M.D.| Founder of Bariform

P.S. Add 4-6 oz of your favorite lean protein source to any of these salads if a higher protein diet is your goal. Suggestions for great sources of protein are:

  • Eggs — hardboiled and crumbled or sunny side on a bed of spinach
  • Fish or any seafood — great sources of protein while also adding heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids
  • Pistachio nuts — just 50 of them will add 6 grams of protein to your diet
  • Turkey or Chicken — both are lean sources of protein