Refreshing Summer Salads

The Dog Days of summer have officialy arrived here in Central Illinois.  I don’t know about you but when its this hot (115 degree heat index plus humidity) I prefer a cold refreshing salad for lunch and/or as a side for dinner.

Spinach Salad

One of my go to salads that you can pretty much bet I have all the ingredients on hand any given day of the summer is a Spinach Salad.  Now, I wish I could take credit for this lovely combination but our dear friend Diana made it for me once and I was hooked! Yes, I always have spinach because my kids are weird and love to east dry uncooked spinach by the handfuls.

Anyways….Here it is!


  • Spinach
  • Feta Cheese
  • Orchard Valley Salad Toppers Glazed Pecans and dried cranberries
  • Poppy Seed Dressing
  • Pear
  • This one is pretty self explanatory to make, right? Just put it all toether as much or as little as you want.

Panzanella Salad

One of my absolute favorite “salads” is Panzanella.  I know its not a typical “salad” but I do make it in place of one so to us… it is!

  • French Baquette
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Everything but Bagel seasoning if you have or want
  • 2 Bell peppers any color ( or more if you want to make batch for a crowd)
  • Large Onion
  • 1-2 cucumbers
  • Grape Tomatoes (I personally omit this because I am allergic.
  • Balsamic Vineager
  • Brown Mustartd
  • Minced Garlic
  • Italian seasonings

Ok, this one requires some prepping and chopping for sure but its so worth it!

First cube the baquette. Drizzle it with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then slightly crisp up in the oven for 25 minutes at 225 degrees.

Then Chop up the peppers, onion, cucumber, and tomatoes into chunks and toss in a bowl.

The dressing I don’t have exact measurements I do it all by taste. Mix  about 1/8 of a cup of Balsamic Vinegar with  1/4 cup of Olive oil, about 1 tablespoon of brown mustard, 1/2 – 1  tablespoon of minced garlic, salt, pepper, and italia seasonings to taste.

Combine the veggies, bread and drizzle with the dressing. Let it all marinate for 30 minutes to and hour to combine and bread to soak up all the goodness.

Quinoa Salad

Then of course…Mexican Quinoa Salad that pairs nicely with Tacos, Fajitias, and really everything else!


  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa (follow package directions)
  • diced red pepper
  • diced orange pepper
  • 11 oz canned corn, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 avocade diced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapenos
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro

 In a large bowl combine cooked and cooled quinoa, peppers, onion, black beans, corn, cilantro, and avocad – toss gently until mixed and set aside.

In a food processor comine the apple cider vinegar, oil, honey, lime juice, jalapeno, cilantro, dijon mustard, garlic, and salt and pepper. Blen until very smooth

Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa, beans, corn, and veggies – mix and serve.

If you want it to last a couple of days…keep the avocados separate and add as you eat.

I truly hope you enjoy these salads as much as we do! Make sure to follow and tag me on Instagram if and when you make these! One of my favorite parts about blogging is getting to know my followers! Enjoy!


I am a wife and mom to 3 children. I have a love for fashion, cooking, staying up on trends, and of course my family!

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