Simple summer salads


Whether they’re a side-dish at the family BBQ or an easy and healthy lunch – summer is a great time of year to hone your salad-making skills. Check out our steps for making easy salads at home by using up what you have in your fridge, including fruit.

Step 1 – base

Your salad needs a base. Most of us will have greens in our fridge or growing in the garden. Whether you have baby spinach leaves, cos lettuce, kale, cabbage or even raw broccoli, these can all be used as a base for almost any salad. Feel free to get creative and think outside of the box.

Step 2 – body

Next you need some body. This is the fleshy part of the salad, which will not only fill you up but guide the flavours you’ll be working with. As it’s summer, don’t be afraid to mix things up! Most of us will have tomatoes lying around but what about that watermelon you haven’t gotten around to cutting up yet? Do you have some stone fruits that look like they need using before they start attracting fruit flies? What about a mango? Find two to three fruits, vegetables or a meat protein that will pair well together like tomatoes and watermelon, chicken and mango and throw them in with your base. Fruit is a great way to sweeten your salad with the juices also acting as a dressing.

Step 3 – garnish

What herbs do you have lying around that could act as a garnish? If you don’t have any that’s fine, you can skip this step. If you do, this is a great opportunity to use them up. Green leafy herbs like parsley, basil and chives will complement most flavours. What about that spring onion sitting in your crisper or in the garden? Spring onion can be a real pain to use up but would go nicely with a mango and chicken based salad or any Asian flavours.

Step 4 – dressing

Now it’s time to dress the salad. The type of base and body you have chosen will guide your dressing. A simple no fuss dressing is olive oil and lemon juice. If you want to up your salad game, throw in some herbs and spices and see what condiments you already have in the fridge that could balance the flavours you have already chosen. For instance – a blue cheese dressing would go well with a broccoli base, balsamic would bring out the sweetness in watermelon, roasted garlic and olive oil pairs well with tomato, a mustard based dressing would complement chicken and a soy sauce, sesame and chilli dressing would go nicely with spring onions and a base of Asian greens.

You’re really only limited by your imagination! Start by trying the following three recipes and tweak them to suit what’s left in your fridge.

Raw broccoli salad with blue cheese dressing


  • 1 head of broccoli, trimmed into florets (base)
  • 1 punnet of cherry or small tomatoes (body)
  • 100g blue cheese (dressing)
  • 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (dressing)
  • juice of one small lemon (dressing)
  • salt and pepper (garnish).

Optional extras (if they need using up)

  • your choice of nuts (almond, toasted pine nuts, walnuts)
  • bacon fried and diced
  • chicken cooked to your liking and sliced
  • spinach
  • red onion, sliced thinly.


  1. Crumble and mash blue cheese with a fork. Add lemon juice and mayonnaise and mix.
  2. Slice tomatoes and place in a bowl with the broccoli.
  3. Add dressing and mix well.
  4. Add any optional extras and mix through.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste – if required.
  6. Set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes then enjoy.

Asian mango salad


  • 1 cup of bean sprouts or Asian cabbage thinly sliced or both (base)
  • 1 mango (ripe or unripe), sliced julienne (body)
  • 2-3 sprigs of spring onion, finely sliced (garnish)
  • juice of 1 lime (dressing)
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce (dressing)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (dressing)

Optional extras (if they need using up)

  • 1 capsicum (any colour), thinly sliced
  • small bunch of mint leaves
  • ½ cup of cashews or peanuts
  • red chilli (sliced)
  • coriander leaves
  • chicken cooked to your liking and sliced.


  1. Toss julienned mango, cabbage/bean sprouts in a bowl.
  2. Mix the lime juice, soy sauce and honey in a separate bowl, then pour over salad mix.
  3. Add any optional extras, mix.
  4. Garnish with spring onion and serve.

Watermelon salad with balsamic dressing


  • ½ watermelon* cut into bit-sized pieces (body/base)
  • 2/3 cup of feta crumbled (body/garnish)
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (dressing)
  • 2 tablespoons of good quality balsamic vinegar (dressing)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
  • salt and pepper.

Optional extras (if they need using up)

  • red onion thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of fresh basil leaves
  • spinach or rocket leaves
  • tomatoes.


  1. Toss together watermelon and feta.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sugar.
  3. Add any optional extras.
  4. Drizzle dressing over salad ingredients.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

*Tip: if you don’t have any watermelon to hand, lightly grilled figs or peaches also work well in this recipe.

Date posted:
Last updated:24 October 2019
Topics: blog green