Summer Salads

Light, delicious, refreshing, and oh-so-tasty.

Mocktails/Cocktails | Appetizers | Brunch | Summer Salads | Entrees | On the Grill | Desserts


Best Ever Strawberry Spinach Salad


Candied Pecans

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • pinch of salt


  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin light-tasting olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika


  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 (5-ounce) package blue cheese crumbles



  1. Place a silpat mat or a sheet of parchment paper on the counter top to dry the pecans.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat melt butter. Add pecans, sugar and salt. Stir until pecans are well coated. Stir until the sugar caramelizes, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Spread onto silpat or parchment paper. Separate pecans. Allow to cool.
  4. Meanwhile: In a pint-size Mason jar combine dressing ingredients. Seal and shake until well combined. Set aside on the counter.
  5. In a large bowl combine the spinach, onions, strawberries and blueberries. Pour about 1/2 of dressing over salad and toss. Top with avocado, cheese and candied nuts. Serve remaining dressing on the side.
  6. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving (or serve immediately).
  7. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side. Enjoy!



  1. The dressing may solidify in the refrigerator. It is best to allow dressing to sit on the counter for a bit and shake well before using.
  2. If you are making the salad ahead. Prep the salad ingredients and refrigerate. Then dress the salad about 15 minutes before serving. This will help keep the spinach from wilting.
  3. Mozzarella, feta or goat cheese are also amazing on this salad. I usually use these instead of blue cheese. I also don’t use the avocado, just because I am not a big fan.
  4. Lighten it up by subbing plain pecans for the candied ones and eliminate the sugar from the dressing.
  5. Add sliced grilled chicken for a fabulous summer meal.

submitted by Controller Lisa Beers (attributed to Donna Elick at

Avocado Summer Salad


2 medium ears corn

1 cup Houweling’s grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup chopped cucumbers

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 Tbsp. diced red onion

2 ripe, fresh California avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 Tbsp. California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil

½ Tbsp. lemon juice

½ Tbsp. lime juice

½ Tbsp. honey

¾ tsp. salt



  1.  Blanch the corn for 2 minutes in boiling water.  Transfer the corn to a bowl of cold water.  Cut the corn off the cobs.
  2. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and onion to the bowl.  Stir to combine evenly.
  3. Add the chopped avocado and stir gently.
  4. Mix together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl to make the dressing.  Pour over the salad and stir to combine.  Serve immediately.


Large avocados are recommended for this recipe.  A large avocado averages about 8 ounces.  If using smaller or larger size avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.

submitted by President Doug Dibbert ’70 (attributed to


Avocado and Roasted Asparagus Salad

1 lb. fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off

1 T. olive oil

Salt/pepper to taste

Spring mix salad greens

1 c. grape tomatoes, halved

½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, sliced


Preheat over to 400 degrees F. Place asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, just until crisp tender. Time will vary based on thickness of asparagus; do not overcook. Immediately remove from hot baking sheet and cool.


Arrange salad greens on individual plates. Top evenly with roasted asparagus, cherry tomatoes, onion and avocado.  Drizzle with lemon-garlic vinaigrette.

Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette:

¼ c. fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T. coarse or regular Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ c. extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Stir together the lemon juice, garlic, mustard and red pepper flakes. Whisk in olive oil. Taste and add sea salt, if desired.

submitted by Director of Membership Stephanie Miller (attributed to

Avocado and Mango Salad With Black Beans


1-2 limes, zested and juiced

1 mango, stoned, peeled and chopped

1 avocado, stoned, peeled and chopped

½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped (optional, can also use crushed red pepper flakes)

1 red onion, diced

½ cup cilantro, chopped (amount optional depending on preference)

One 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

Sea salt to flavor to taste

Put the lime zest and juice, mango, avocado, tomatoes, chili and onion in a bowl, stir through the cilantro and beans.  Add sea salt to taste.

submitted by Membership Services Assistant Megan Duffy (adapted from

Grandma Ruby’s Fruit Salad


2 medium golden delicious apples, diced

2 medium red delicious apples, diced

1 cup seedless green grapes, halved

1 cup seedless red grapes, halved

10-oz. canned pineapple chunks, drained

6.5-oz. canned mandarin oranges, drained

Combine all of the above.


4 oz. cream cheese, softened

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour over fruit, toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

8-10 servings

submitted by Coordinator of Membership Services Katie Thore ’15 


Spicy Siracha Crab Salad


  • 1 large cucumber
  • rice vinegar to taste
  • 4 oz. quality jumbo lump crab meat (the pre-cooked kind)
  • 1 TBSP homemade or store-bought mayo
  • 2 tsp Sriracha plus extra to taste
  • 1/2-1 avocado sliced
  • a pinch of salt

Tasty Toppings:

  • 1-2 tsp toasted sesame and/or chia seeds
  • 1 TBSP panko breadcrumbs (optional – skip for paleo/GF)


  1. First, peel the skin from your cucumber.
  2. Next, use a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler to turn that super refreshing veggie into even more refreshing noodles.
  3. Drizzle the noodles very lightly with rice vinegar. You can skip this step if you’re not a fan of vinegar or acidity; I’ve had the dish both ways and find it delightful regardless.
  4. Next, use a fork or your fingers to shred the crab.
  5. Combine with mayo and sriracha and set atop the noodles.
  6. Top with sliced avocado. Sprinkle avocado with a teeny pinch of salt to season.
  7. Garnish with sesame/chia seeds and optional panko and dig in!

submitted by Director of Enrichment Programs Marcie Leemore ’99 (attributed to

Cool as a Cucumber Lemon and Dill Salad

This recipe is great since you can make as much, or as little, as you like.  You should plan on this taking a little time to get the water out and soften the cucumbers.  It’s refreshing as a cool summer breeze that blows the mosquitoes away.

Family Meal Size


  • 4 cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 8 oz. sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon, or more, lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon, or more, dill


  • Peel 4 cucumbers
  • Slice as thin as you can and place into a bowl.
    • It’s best to have a mandoline or slicing attachment for your Cuisinart.
  • Heavily salt the cucumbers with about a ½ tablespoon of salt, taking time to stir them as you sprinkle the salt on the cucumbers.
    • Place in the refrigerator, or let stand out, for about 30 minutes
  • Drain the water from the bowl and salt the cucumber slices with another ½ tablespoon of salt, mixing as you sprinkle the salt in.
    • Place in the refrigerator, or let standout, for 30 minutes
  • Drain the water from the bowl taking time to smush the cucumbers in the bowl to get more water out.  You can also place in a kitchen cloth and squeeze the water out but you don’t have to.
  • Add 8oz of sour cream or Greek yogurt and stir to coat all the cucumber slices.
  • Add dill and lemon juice to taste and mix.  I usually do about ½ to a full tablespoon of dill and at least a tablespoon of lemon juice but it’s up to what you like.  These two ingredients make it refreshing and light.

submitted by Senior Coordinator Faculty Relations and Travel Catherine Nichols ’89

Caprese Avocado Salad


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless, thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 6 ounces ovaline fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade


  1. To make the balsamic reduction, add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a slight boil and reduce by half, about 6-8 minutes; set aside and let cool.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, to taste. Add to skillet and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Let cool before dicing into bite-sized pieces.
  4. To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes, avocado and basil. Pour balsamic reduction on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  5. Serve immediately.

 submitted by Coordinator of Student Enrichment and Young Alumni Engagement Caroline Bowers ’16 (attributed to

Orzo With Roasted Vegetables

This is easily adapted with whatever veggies you prefer. I like to sub in zucchini and squash instead of the eggplant.


For the Vegetables:

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ pound orzo


For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:

  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • ¼ cup pignolis, toasted
  • ¾ pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade


1.      Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

2.      Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.

3.      Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

4.      For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

submitted by Coordinator of Outreach for Alumni, Clubs and Families, Anna Brooks Whichard ’10 (attributed to

Records and Information Systems

Cowboy Caviar


1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 14-oz. can corn, drained

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 TB jalapenos, diced

½ medium onion, diced

5-6 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 avocado, diced

½ cup fresh cilantro

½ tsp garlic powder

¾ cup Italian dressing



Mix together tomatoes, black beans, corn, onion, green pepper, jalapenos, and green pepper in a large bowl.  Sprinkle garlic powder on top, then stir in dressing and cilantro.  Serve with tortilla chips.

submitted by Assistant Director of Alumni Records Rachel Orr (attributed to