Elevate your summer salad game with this delicious recipe featuring sweet and tangy fruits and greens tossed in a light vinaigrette, then sprinkled with creamy bleu cheese crumbles.
Summer is the time to indulge in fresh, vibrant salads bursting with the season’s flavors. With an abundance of juicy fruits available, why not take your summer salad to the next level by incorporating a few favorites? This refreshing summer salad features raspberries, nectarines, blackberries, and watermelon, all topped with creamy bleu cheese. This easy summer salad is visually stunning with its colorful array of fresh produce and is packed with flavor and nutrients, making it ideal for a summer gathering or as a light and satisfying meal on a hot day.
Why You’ll Love This Summer Salad
- Fresh and fruity – This salad celebrates seasonal fruit by displaying its sweet and tangy flavors to create a series of refreshing, fruity forkfuls.
- Creamy twist – Adding bleu cheese brings a sharp, piquant flavor to the salad, creating delicious contrast to the fruits. The rich creaminess of the cheese also gives the salad some bulk, so it eats more like a meal. A bit of cheese tends to make salads more satiating, and this case is no different.
- It takes minutes to prepare – The hardest part is washing and prepping fruit, which isn’t difficult at all.
- Room for protein – Serve the salad as is, or top it with your favorite protein. Grilled salmon would be a tasty addition, as would chicken or shrimp!
Summer Salad Ingredients Notes
- Raspberries: Choose ripe raspberries for the best flavor and sweetness. Look for berries that are bright in color and have a fresh scent.
- Nectarines: Opt for ripe nectarines that give slightly when lightly pressed. Ripe, ready-to-eat nectarines also have a sweet aroma and sugar spots. Sugar spots indicate that they’ve gotten more sun exposure which equals sweeter fruit. Furthermore, avoid nectarines with a green hue since this suggests the fruits were picked too soon.
- Blackberries: Choose blackberries that are plump, shiny, and deep in color. Avoid berries that are mushy or have signs of mold.
- Watermelon: Look for a watermelon that is heavy for its size and has a uniform shape with no soft spots or bruises. Also, look for a strong, consistent stripe pattern on the rind and a duller finish. A shiny exterior indicates an underripe melon.
- Greens: I use romaine and mixed greens. Go with what is in season/available at your local grocery store or farmers’ market.
- Bleu cheese: Choose a creamy and tangy, high-quality bleu cheese. Lower-quality cheese of this type is milder.
A complete ingredients list with amounts is in the recipe card below!
How to Make This Summer Salad
- Prepare the produce: Wash the raspberries, blackberries, and watermelon under cold running water. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut the watermelon into bite-sized cubes or use a melon baller to create small watermelon balls. Pit and slice the nectarines into thin wedges (or dice for heartier bites). It is also a good idea to wash lettuce and greens.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl or on a serving platter, combine the fruit, lettuce, and greens.
- Make the dressing: Either whisk the ingredients together in a bowl or add everything to a small jar and shake it up!
- Dress and add cheese: Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss to coat, then crumble the bleu cheese over the top of the salad, distributing it evenly.
Variations and Substitutions
Grill the fruit – You probably don’t want to grill berries (that would be hard), but nectarines and watermelon do well over high heat. The grill imparts a charred, smoky flavor that adds depth of flavor.
Add peaches – If nectarines are not available, substitute them with peaches. The flavor is similar.
Bring the crunch – Add nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews) or a lightly seasoned crouton. The added texture is very satisfying.
Use feta – Not a fan of blue cheese? Crumbled feta is an excellent alternative. It has a salty but otherwise neutral flavor that is a savory contrast to the fruit-forward summer salad.
What to Serve with Summer Salad
This summer salad can be a light meal, a side dish, or transformed into a more filling dish with the help of your favorite protein. You can’t go wrong with chicken, fish, or seafood brushed with oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.
This salad is a great make-ahead. Since no cooking is involved, all you have to do is prepare the produce. Wash and dry your fruits and greens, then store them. It is that easy. You can even prepare the dressing and store it separately. Dressing the salad ahead of time can compromise texture.
Storage and Freezer Tips
Store the prepared fruits and greens in an airtight container and refrigerate. Consider glass instead of plastic if you have it. Fruits and vegetables tend to stay fresher much longer when stored in glass containers.
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup sliced nectarines
- 1 cup cubed watermelon
- ½ cup blackberries
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup mixed greens
- ¼ cup bleu cheese
- The juice of one small lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 pinch of salt
- A scant ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup mixed greens
- Combine fruit and greens in a large bowl.
- In a small jar (or bowl) combine all dressing ingredients. Shake, or still until well mixed.
- Dress and toss to combine. Top with bleu cheese and serve!
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