Delicious vegan salads that are perfect for summer! Salads can be sad and boring, but not these ones. They’re packed with lots of flavor, interesting textures, and are refreshing for warm weather.
Choose from a hearty grain salad featuring roasted beets and a creamy citrus-date dressing, an asparagus and green bean salad with a tangy tahini dressing, or a two greens salad with an easy lemon vinaigrette.
If you try out one of these recipes, be sure to let me know down below in the comments :) And to see all the recipes in action, check out the Youtube video!
Roasted Beet and Fennel Grain Salad
This is one of my absolute favorite salads. It has such a wide variety of textures, which makes it an interesting salad to eat: crisp raw fennel, chewy farro, crunchy walnuts, creamy avocado.
And the ingredients pair so harmoniously together: beets and fennel are a match made in heaven, and get even better when paired with earthy walnuts and fresh dill.
Plus, the slightly sweet citrus-date vinaigrette is the perfect pairing for peppery, bitter arugula and the earthy flavors from the beets and walnuts.
You’ll notice there are several prep steps to this salad, but many of them can be done ahead of time. You can cook the farro and roast the beets several days in advance, or use store-bought cooked beets.
Two Greens Salad with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
I call this salad a “two greens salad” because one of my favorite ways to add more interest to salads is simply by using two different types of greens. In this salad, I use lacinato kale and romaine, but you can get creative and experiment. I especially love pairing two salad greens that have differing textures (think soft arugula with frisée, or tender baby spinach with crunchy romaine), or different flavors (think mild bibb lettuce with bold radicchio).
For more variety in texture, I add crunchy pepitas (toast them to bring out their full nutty flavor), crisp cucumbers, and sweet chewy dried cranberries.
When it comes to salad dressing, this recipe uses my favorite lemon vinaigrette, which is always a wonderful pairing with kale. When it comes to dressing greens, I learned from Bobby Flay that to add the most flavor, you should (1) lightly salt and pepper the greens directly, and (2) pour the vinaigrette around the salad greens in the bowl, not directly on top of them.
Asparagus and Green Bean Salad
This final salad is playing it a little fast and loose because it doesn’t even have any salad greens! Yes, you can make a salad without lettuce, and this is a perfect leafless salad to start with.
Instead of salad greens, the base of this salad is blanched asparagus and green beans. It takes just a few minutes to blanch them (blanching, instead of boiling, helps preserve their bright green color and prevents them from getting soggy).
Since the base of this salad is quite mild, I throw in some thinly sliced raw shallots to add a sharp punch (you could also use thinly sliced red onions). For texture, we’ve got crunchy toasted almonds, juicy cherry tomatoes, and a creamy oil-free tahini dressing. It’s the perfect summer picnic salad!
- 3 to 5 cups arugula chopped if pieces are quite large
- 1 cup pearled or semi-pearled farro
- 1 medium or large fennel bulb (reserve the fronds)
- 3 medium beets
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 large avocado, sliced thinly or diced
- 1 handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
Citrus-Date Vinaigrette (makes about ½ cup dressing)
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted (if they're not soft; soak in warm water for 5-10 minutes)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (or whole grain mustard)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Water, as needed
- Roast the Beets. Skip this step if using pre-cooked beets.1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/218°C.2. Prep the beets. Trim off the greens and most of the stalks. Do not trim the beet tails (it results in less juicy beets). Wash and scrub the beets clean.3. Lightly rub the beets in olive oil. Place the beets in an ovenproof casserole-style or baking dish and cover. Roast for 45-90 minutes, depending on the size of your beets, or until fork-tender. Medium-sized beets usually take 1 hour.4. When beets are cool enough to touch, run them under cool water and peel off the skins. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Cook the Farro. Bring 2 ½ cups (600 mL) of water to a boil and season well with salt. Once boiling, add the farro and any seasonings of choice (black pepper, garlic cloves, bay leaf). Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until al dente – tender yet chewy (15-20 minutes for pearled farro; 20-30 minutes for semi-pearled farro). Drain in a sieve. If you have the time, spread the farro out on a pan to dry.
- Slice the Fennel: Chop off the fennel stalks off and reserve the fennel fronds. Slice the fennel bulbs in half, lengthwise, through the core. Then slice each half lengthwise again. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, very thinly slice the fennel crosswise.
- Toast the Walnuts: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts in a single layer, stir frequently, until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Make the Citrus-Date Vinaigrette: Add all ingredients except for water to a food processor and blend until smooth. With motor running, drizzle in a few spoons of water until desired consistency; season to taste. Store leftovers in the fridge in a glass jar for a week.
- Assemble the Salad: Layer arugula and cooked farro into a salad bowl or serving bowl. Top with sliced fennel, roasted beets, toasted walnuts, sliced avocado, chopped parsley and dill, and fennel fronds. Drizzle on the Citrus-Date Vinaigrette and toss to combine.
- 1/2 head romaine
- 1/2 head lacinato/dino kale
- 1 small or 1/2 large English cucumber
- A few spoons of sauerkraut
- Cooked French green lentils or black beluga lentils (as much as you want)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup pepitas
- Sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette (makes about ⅓ cup dressing)
- 1 small lemon, zested
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard (or whole grain mustard)
- 1 garlic clove, (crushed or finely minced)
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Toast the pepitas. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add pepitas in a single layer, stir frequently, until mostly golden browned and fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Chop the vegetables. Wash and clean the the romaine and kale. Cut each into thin strips. Slice the cucumber into half moons.
- Assemble the salad. Place the sliced romaine and kale in a large bowl. Lightly season the greens directly with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Pour the Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette around the bowl (not directly on the greens) and then toss to coat, ensuring all the greens are coated in the dressing.
- Transfer the dressed greens to your serving bowl. Add the cucumbers, dried cranberries, toasted pepitas, sauerkraut, and lentils. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
- 8 ounces (227g) asparagus woody stems trimmed
- 8 ounces (227g) green beans, trimmed
- 1/2 pint (150g) cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 small shallot
- 1 to 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can)
- 1/4 cup roasted almonds
- 2 to 4 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 handful of fresh basil, slivered
Easy Tahini Dressing
- 1/4 cup (56g) tahini
- A few sprinkles of lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/4 1to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
- Blanch the green beans and asparagus. Bring an inch or two of water to boil in a large saucepan. Once boiling, add the green beans; cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for 1-3 more minutes (1-2 minutes if asparagus are skinny). Immediately drain the vegetables into an ice bath (large bowl of ice water). Once the vegetables are cool, drain on clean towels to dry completely.
- Slice the vegetables. Once the green beans and asparagus are dried, slice them into 2-inch pieces at an angle. Peel the shallot and slice it crosswise, as thinly as possible. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Toast the almonds. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add almonds in a single layer, stir frequently, until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Once cool, chop the almonds.
- Make the dressing. In a bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt. Stream in the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisk until creamy, fluffy, and desired consistency.
- Assemble the Salad: Layer sliced green beans and asparagus into a salad bowl or serving bowl. Top with sliced cherry tomatoes, shallots, chickpeas, chopped almonds, hemp seeds, and chopped herbs. Add the Tahini Dressing and toss well to coat.