When the weather gets warmer, you just can’t beat summer salads for lunch and dinner. The zest, crunch and hit of flavour from the dressing are just filling enough to satiate, yet light and delicate enough not to give you that heavy, bloated feeling that we hate so much in the heat.

These summer salads are full of flavour and incorporate a mix of everyday and unique ingredients to put a twist on your usual salad recipes. Enjoy!

Griddled pear and gorgonzola salad


150g day old bread, torn into bite sized pieces

3½ tbsp olive oil

3 ripe pears

100g rocket

100g walnuts, toasted

250g radishes, sliced

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

150g Gorgonzola, diced

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC/Gas Mark 6. Toss the bread in 1 tbsp oil and place on a baking tray, bake for 10 minutes until golden.
  2. Meanwhile, halve the pears lengthways and remove the core, then slice and toss in ½ tbsp oil and griddle in batches for 2-3 minutes each side until golden bar marks appear, set aside.
  3. Mix together the rocket, walnuts, croutons and radishes.  Whisk the remaining oil with the vinegar, season and toss into the rocket. Divide between 4 large plates and top with the griddled pears and gorgonzola.

Watermelon and feta cheese


1 watermelon, about 2 kilos

200g feta, cut into small thick slices

20 g fresh mint leaves

50g rocket leaves

20-30 black pitted olives

3 baby cucumbers or ¼ standard cucumber, sliced fairly thinly

1 medium small red onion, cut into very thin slices

Olive oil, and lemon juice/balsamic vinegar, to taste

  1. Peel the watermelon of its green peel and white layer as well. Slice the pink flesh into chunks or triangles. Arrange the watermelon pieces and feta onto a large platter and scatter with the mint, rocket, olives, cucumber slices and red onion.
  2. Chill, and dress with olive oil and lemon or vinegar to taste.

Tip: Toasted pumpkin seeds add a tasty crunch sprinkled on top of this salad too.

Thai cucumber, prawn and lettuce salad


200g folded rice noodles

1 cucumber

1 round lettuce, roughly shredded

350g cooked king prawns

Juice 1 lime

2 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp light soy sauce

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

25g pack parsley, leaves only

  1. Cook the noodles according to pack instructions, drain and cool under cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, make ribbons from the cucumber using a vegetable peeler, discarding the seed centre.  Place in a large bowl with the lettuce, prawns and noodles.
  3. Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, soy and oil and toss into the salad. Stir in the parsley and noodles to serve.

Tip: Replace the round lettuce with Lollo Rosso or salad leaves of your choice.

Radish & chicory Caesar salad with cajun chicken


1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp Cajun seasoning

3 chicken breast fillets, halved horizontally

1 round lettuce, torn

2 heads red chicory, sliced

200g radishes, trimmed and sliced

4 tbsp Caesar dressing

50g croutons

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, sprinkle the Cajun seasoning over both sides of the chicken and fry for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until golden and cooked throughout.
  2. Meanwhile, place the lettuce, chicory and radishes in a large bowl and toss in 2 tbsp dressing, divide between 4 plates. Slice the chicken and place on top of the salad with the croutons, drizzle over the remaining dressing to serve.

For more summer salads, plus other delicious recipes, head here.

Discover more seasonal summer recipes from I Love Fruit & Veg from Europe at: ilovefruitandvegfromeurope.co.uk