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3 Satisfying Summer “Dinner Salads”

3 Satisfying Summer “Dinner Salads”


Looking for easy ways to keep cool this summer, especially in the kitchen, when summer is still in full swing? Finding dinner options that are tasty and satisfying can be tough when you’re trying to keep the heat down in the kitchen – and a trim waistline. The perfect remedy? A “dinner salad!”

A dinner salad is a bright and hearty salad big enough for a whole meal. Here are three summer dinner salads to fill your belly even on the hottest summer days.

Panzanella Salad with Steak

A meal-in-one salad that gets its flavor spark from the zesty vinaigrette. 


For the Dressing

  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 1 clove of clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 bulb fennel, quartered
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced into thin 1-inch pieces
  • 3 slices ciabatta or sourdough (1 inch thick)
  • 1 large bunch kale, leaves chopped 
  • 1 lb. sirloin steak


  1. In a small skillet toast the caraway seeds, on medium heat, for about 2 minutes. 
  2. Add to a small bowl, the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the oil, mustard, garlic, caraway seeds, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and whisk together. 
  3. Heat grill or a grill pan on medium-high heat. With 1 tablespoon oil, brush the fennel, onion, and bread. Season the fennel and onion with just a pinch of salt. Place the fennel, onion, and bread on the grill, cover, and turn often, until the vegetables are tender and  charred and the bread is toasted. Vegetables will take about 5 to 8 minutes and the bread, about 1 to 2 minutes. When ready, transfer to a cutting board. Core and thinly slice the fennel and coarsely tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. 
  4. Add the kale, grilled vegetables, and the bread to a large bowl along with half of the dressing and toss. Then, let sit but toss occasionally. In the meantime, sprinkle the steak with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Rub the steak with the mixture and place on the grill and cook for 5 to 7
    1. minutes per side for medium-rare or to desired doneness. When finished cooking, transfer steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. 
    2. Add steak to the salad, stir carefully and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and serve.


    Spicy Shrimp and Chorizo Salad

    A spicy and colorful summer salad for any night of the week.


    • 2 oz. chorizo, finely chopped
    • 1/4 c. roasted unsalted almonds, chopped
    • 20 large peeled and deveined shrimp 
    • Sea salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
    • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
    • 1 pt. cherry or grape tomatoes (red, orange or a combination), halved
    • 1/2 seedless cucumber, sliced into half-moons
    • 5-8oz mixed greens 


    1. Add the chorizo to a large heated cast-iron skillet and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to a bowl using a slotted spoon so the oil drains back into the skillet. 
    2. Add the almonds and toss them with the chorizo.
    3. With a ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, season the shrimp. On medium-high heat, add the shrimp to the cast-iron skillet and cook. Turn the shrimp once and cook until opaque throughout, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. When cooked, transfer the shrimp to a plate. 
    4. Add the oil, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper to a large bowl and whisk. Toss in the scallions, tomatoes, and cucumber and gently stir until they’re coated. Add the salad greens and gently toss. 
    5. To serve, place salad on a platter, add the shrimp and scatter the chorizo and almond mixture on top.


Vegetarian Ratatouille Salad

A cool version of a classic veggie dish that will satisfy everyone. 


  • 1 red pepper, quartered
  • 1 small eggplant (about 12 oz.), sliced into 1/4″-thick rounds
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 6 oz.), sliced lengthwise into 1/4″-thick strips
  • 1 small summer squash (about 6 oz.), sliced lengthwise into 1/4″-thick strips
  • 1 lb. Campari or plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil, leaves torn
  • 4 c. baby arugula
  • 2 large thick slices sourdough or country bread
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn


  1. Heat grill or a grill pan to medium-high heat. 
  2. Add vegetables to a large bowl and toss with 1½ tablespoons of oil and ½ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Place vegetables on the grill and cook until tender and lightly charred. For the pepper, eggplant, zucchini, squash about 3 to 4 minutes per side and 1 to 2 minutes for the tomatoes on the cut side only. 
  3. Place the eggplant and the tomatoes back into the bowl. Transfer the remaining vegetables to a cutting board.
  4. Slice the vegetables and add them to the bowl with the eggplant and tomatoes and gently toss with the vinegar, basil, and arugula. 
  5. With the remaining tablespoon of oil, brush the bread slices and grill until they are lightly toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Once toasted, rub both sides of the bread with the cut side of the garlic clove.
  6. Cut bread slices in half and place on plates. Spoon the veggie salad, along with any juices, over the bread and add the mozzarella on top. 
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