Creative (and Tasty!) Dressings and Toppings for Summer Salads

Summertime is salad time! According to Ayurveda, the best foods to eat are the ones growing in your region and available at your local farmers market. So grab whatever’s green and try these tips for throwing together light side dishes or hearty meals.

A basic vinaigrette recipe is three parts oil to one part vinegar. Don’t stress about emulsifying your dressing; just whisk it till it’s combined, or put all the ingredients in a jar and shake. You can play with the basic recipe to your taste:

  • Cut back on the oil if you like it sharper
  • Incorporate aromatics like garlic and ginger
  • Add herbs, mustard, miso, or tamari for an extra kick
  • Use lemon juice or red wine vinegar instead of balsamic or apple cider vinegar.

Here's the recipe for our Kripalu House Dressing.

To bring out the flavor, season your salad—not just your dressing—with a dash of salt and a twist of pepper.

You don’t have to stick with one green; mix it up with different textures and tastes, like crunchy romaine with spicy arugula and baby lettuce.

Chop up fresh herbs and toss them in—salads are a great way to use up extra basil, cilantro, thyme, or any other herbs that are sitting around after you bought a bunch and used just a tablespoon or two for a recipe.

Make your salad a meal by adding

  • Grilled or roasted leftover veggies, chicken, or fish 
  • A can of boneless salmon or yellowfin tuna
  • A can of organic beans, rinsed
  • A handful of nuts or seeds
  • Plant-based proteins like avocado or crumbled silken tofu
  • Cooked grains.

Always dress your salad right before serving, so it’s evenly distributed and well tossed, rather than having diners add the dressing themselves. But if you’re taking your salad on the road or to work, prevent wilting by carrying the dressing in a separate container and adding it when you’re ready to eat.

Check out cooking programs with Jeremy Rock Smith.

Sample more videos, recipes, and articles: The Om of Yum

View more Summer Salads from the Kripalu Kitchen

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please email editor@kripalu.org.

Jeremy Rock Smith, Kripalu’s Executive Chef and a graduated of the Culinary Institute of America, began his career in classical French cuisine. He is the author of The Kripalu Kitchen: Nourishing Food for Body and Soul.

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