Summer is the ideal time to ramp up or start your paleo diet. After all, the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables during the warmer months lend themselves easily to quick summer recipes. Besides, who wants to heat up the house with an oven dinner when it’s already hot outside?
Salads are the perfect summertime food as they are light, easy to make and fit perfectly into your paleo diet. The beauty of summertime salads are many. Not only are they nutritious, you can also swap items in and out easily to customize to your taste. Here are some great paleo salads suggested by Dr. Lane Sebring.
Chinese Chicken Salad
Napa cabbage, carrots and snap peas pair perfectly with chicken and crunchy cashews. Add orange ginger dressing for a unique favor. This salad is also rich in nutrients. Napa cabbage has loads of potassium, and Vitamins A and C. Ginger is an important anti-inflammatory and chicken is dense in protein.
Swaps are easy in this one as you can leave out the chicken for a meatless meal or substitute regular cabbage for Napa cabbage. Not a fan of cashews? Substitute any other type of nut. Snap peas may be substituted for snow peas.
1 lb. chicken breasts, poached, then cubed
1/2 medium Napa or regular cabbage, sliced thinly
2 medium carrots, julienned
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup snap peas or snow peas, halved
6 tbsp orange juice
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 cup cashews or other nuts, roughly chopped
Poach the chicken breasts in water for 15 minutes in boiling water with salt and pepper to taste, until the chicken is opaque, or use shredded meat from a previously cooked chicken. Whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and ginger and set aside until ready for use. This salad can easily be prepared ahead of time, but refrain from putting the dressing on until you’re ready to eat so the vegetables will stay crisp.
Blood Orange, Beet, And Fennel Salad
This classic Moroccan salad will allow you to use the abundance of fennel growing in your garden. Beets and oranges provide a gorgeous color contrast.
2 medium red beets
2 medium golden beets
3 blood oranges
1 medium navel orange
1 tablespoon each lemon juice and lime juice
1/2 small fennel bulb, sliced very thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive, pumpkin seed, or walnut oil for drizzling
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 400°. Wash beets and wrap in foil, placing them individually on a baking sheet. Roast until tender (about an hour). Let cool. Cut all peels and white pith from oranges and then cut between the membranes of two blood oranges to release the segments, squeezing all juice from them. Slice remaining oranges into thin rounds, and then place them in the bowl with the segments. Add lime and lemon juices.
When beets are cool, peel them and slice two beets into thin rounds. Cut the remaining two into wedges. Layer beets and oranges on plates and then arrange fennel and onion over beets. Spoon reserved citrus juices over, then drizzle generously with oil. Season to taste. Let salad stand for at least five minutes to allow flavors to meld. Garnish with cilantro.
Balsamic Green Bean Salad
There’s nothing like eating fresh green beans from the garden. Certain bush varieties are also prolific producers, so it’s easy to make this recipe over and over again. Swap in wax beans or even purple bush bean varieties for a splash of color and variety. Even though these beans are technically legumes, they may still be consumed in a paleo diet as they are lower in carbohydrates and lectin than other beans.
1 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Add green beans to a pot of salted water and blanch for two to three minutes. Remove beans and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop further cooking. Drain. Test beans. They should remain crisp. The ice bath is also important in retaining the bright color of the bush beans.
Put beans and red onion in a large bowl and toss with olive oil to coat. Add the balsamic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with raw or toasted chopped walnuts before serving.
This recipe is easy to put together and can be made ahead of time. It may be eaten as a main entree or as a complement to any meat dish and may be served hot or cold.