Delicious Summer Salads and Sides With Fruits, Nuts and Seeds


Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Food, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Recipes | Posted on 06-23-2014

A Whole Bunch of Healthy Summer Salads and Veggie Sides!

By Jill Whalen

Be it in salads or side dishes or just a healthy lunch, I love adding fruits and nuts to my veggies! They add so much flavor and character and go so well with just about any vegetable. I had been using dried fruits during the colder months, but now that summer is here and fresh ones are more abundant (and affordable) I’m using them when I have them on hand.

Below are a few of the recent lunches I’ve made for myself which you could easily recreate!

[Added: I decided to continuously add new creations to this post as I create them, so be sure to check back now and again!]

I love brussels sprouts for lunch. While I could certainly eat them with just a bit of garlic, they’re much tastier paired with the little sweetness that fruits and nuts can give. This one didn’t have fresh fruit in it, but was extremely flavorful, nonetheless:

Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, Cranberries, Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar

Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, Cranberries, Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar




I also eat a ton of salads for lunch, but mine are not your typical “garden salad”!  For this one I had a pear that I thought my son would eat when he was home, but which he never got around to. So it was sitting around getting browner and browner until I decided to “save” it and chop it up with some greens, blue cheese and walnuts:

Pear, romaine, baby spinach, chicken, scallion, blue cheese, walnuts, apple cider vinegar

Pear, Romaine, Baby Spinach, Chicken, Scallion, Blue Cheese, Walnuts, Apple Cider Vinegar


Sometimes when I get home from my afternoon yoga class, I don’t feel like cutting up tons of veggies for a salad. Enter my Ninja high speed blender! I can make a “chopped” salad in no time flat. Plus I like it even better when everything is cut in tiny pieces. It makes every bite simply delicious! The secret ingredient to this one was raw sunflower seeds:


Chopped Salad: Romaine, Cabbage, Carrots, Parsley, Strawberries, Sunflower Seeds

Chopped Salad: Romaine, Cabbage, Carrots, Parsley, Strawberries, Sunflower Seeds


Brussels spouts have reared their head again with this next lunch. This time I had some apples hanging around that were way too sweet for me to eat as just a plain apple. But I don’t mind the sweetness so much paired with the sort of bitter flavor of the brussels sprouts. Raw walnuts also added some additional crunch:


Brussels Sprouts, Apples, Walnuts, Cajun Chicken, Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar

Brussels Sprouts, Apples, Walnuts, Cajun Chicken, Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar


I didn’t think I was much of a cabbage fan until I tried shredding it into my salads. What an excellent way to add some crunch! And these fresh organic strawberries were at their peak:

Shredded Cabbage, Carrot, Jalapeno with Scallion, Sliced Strawberries, Salami, Chicken, Provolone

Shredded Cabbage, Carrot, Broccoli and Jalapeno with Scallion, Sliced Strawberries, Salami, Chicken, Provolone


Another great thing about adding fruits to your salads and sides is the beautiful colors you end up with! This salad came about because I was just trying to use up 2 small purple plums that were starting to wrinkle up. It was another winner…especially with the blue cheese:


Plums, Raw Cabbage, Carrots, Steamed Spinach, Prime Rib, Blue Cheese

Purple Plum, Raw Cabbage, Carrots, Steamed Spinach, Prime Rib, Blue Cheese, Walnuts


This next creation came about by my desire to finish up the baby spinach as well as half an avocado and half an apple I had in the fridge. What could be more yummy than paring them with tuna!  Unfortunately, I was almost all the way through eating the salad when I remembered that some of  the cilantro wilting on my window sill would have been a great accompaniment:

Apple, Walnuts, Tuna, Avocado, and Scallion on a Bed of Baby Spinach

Apple, Walnuts, Tuna, Avocado, Jalapeno and Scallion with Lemon Juice on a Bed of Baby Spinach


Added 7/14/2013: Best Tuna Salad Ever!

Months ago I set some cabbage to ferment into sauerkraut in a mason jar and it’s been sitting in my kitchen since then. I’ve kind of been afraid to check it as I thought it might be all disgusting. (I’ve always had this fear of eating live cultures and the like!) Today took a look at it and noticed the liquid wasn’t to the top anymore and thought I might need to just throw it away. I finally got the nerve to open it up. I timidly gave it a sniff and it smelled delicious! No throwing out necessary! So then I had to decide what I could do with it. I don’t happen to have any sausages on hand or I would have made them with the sauerkraut for dinner. Instead I decided to use some of it as part of a tuna salad, which is what you see pictured.

Basically it had the sauerkraut, solid white tuna, avocado, carrot, a garlic scape, diced tomato, diced plum, and some chard. Most of the stuff I processed in my Ninja, but not the tomato, tuna, and plum. (It really could have used onion, but alas, I was out!)

Best Tuna Salad Ever!

Sauerkraut, Tuna, Avocado, Carrot, Garlic Scape, Tomato, Plum, Chard


Added 7/21/2014

Another “Ninja Chopped Salad”! I had to go out around my lunch time today, so I chopped up this latest salad with my Ninja before I left. That way it was all ready for me to eat upon my return. This entire salad was chopped via the Ninja, although after the photo was taken I did add some crushed raw pecans. I also mixed in some homemade tahini dressing and a little Siracha (just cuz!).

Red Cabbage, Carrot, Swiss Chard, Radishes, Roasted Japanese Turnips, Roasted Beets

Red Cabbage, Carrot, Swiss Chard, Radishes, Roasted Japanese Turnips, Roasted Beets


Added 7/29/2014

I still had a bunch of my homemade sauerkraut sitting around and knew my daughter had a few all beef uncured hot dogs in the freezer which I thought would go nicely. While I was tempted to turn them into some sort of reuben on some rye bread, I came to my senses and turned them into a super yummy warm hot dog sauerkraut salad by sauteing them with a bunch of other veggies I needed to use up!

Hot Dog, Sauerkraut, Tomato, Hot Pepper, Red Carrot, Scallion, Garlic Scape, Turnip Greens

Hot Dog, Sauerkraut, Tomato, Hot Pepper, Carrot, Scallion, Garlic Scape, Beet Greens, Jalepeno Cheddar

These are just a few of the tempting salads and sides you’ll see me eating on any given day. I rarely make the same exact one twice, which keeps things exciting and my palette happy! I hope I’ve inspired you to try a few of these or come up with your own unique fruity/nutty combinations!  Feel free to post yours below.


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These look good. I have a cabbage in the fridge … what sauerkraut recipe did you use?

I didn’t really use a recipe. All you have to do is leave your cabbage out of the fridge for a few days…you want it to gather some good bacteria. Then you can shred it with a microplane or whatever. You want thin pieces. Leave a couple of outer leaves that you don’t shred, however.

Tightly pack your shredded cabbage into a mason jar. Stuff it in good! Add whatever spices/salt that you want and fill jar with water. (Should use filtered water, but I just used our tap.) That’s pretty much it. Leave on counter for at least a few days, maybe longer depending on the temperature in your house. Like I said in my post, mine had been sitting around for months and even lost some of its water. I’ve seen some recipes that say to continue to add water, but apparently it didn’t matter for mine.

Once I finally tried mine and decided it was not going to poison me, I’m now storing it in the fridge.

The cool thing is you can do the same thing with ANY vegetable. And it gives you all the probiotic goodness. I’m not a believer in supplements as I’d rather try to get all my nutrients, etc. via real food with nothing processed (beyond my own processing!). I’ll probably try some other veggies as well now that I know it works and is so simple!