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Make it a summer of big salads with this easy approach and recipes

Make it a summer of big salads with this easy approach and recipes

There’s something about a hearty, oversized salad chock full of delicious, colorful toppings that makes summertime meals more refreshing.

Ditch the pricey restaurant and instead get in touch with your inner food blogger by replicating those hunger-inducing homemade salad videos on your social media feed.

Grab an oversized bowl, lettuces, vegetables, nuts, herbs, grains, protein and an easy homemade dressing for a foolproof season of big summer salads.

“Plant You” cookbook author and food creator Carleigh Bodrug started a series on her Instagram and TikTok and now she’s sharing her top tips and recipes with “Good Morning America” Food to help you create the best salads in your own kitchen with ease.

Layers of flavors

“The best approach to making a delicious, big, hearty salad at home is loading it with layers of flavor and texture to keep you full and satisfied,” she suggested. “Think beyond the bounds of lettuce and dressing, and amp up your salad with things like nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and homemade dressings for a restaurant-like experience.”

She added, “If you have the time, homemade dressings also have the biggest impact on the flavor of your salad, and can usually be whipped up in less than five minutes.”

Simple salad formula

“My go-to formula for a big, delicious salad is making sure there is a combination of vegetables, protein, carbohydrates and fat,” Bodrug explained. “All of these elements will not only make your salad delicious, but translate to a fuller meal that won’t leave you hungry an hour later.”

To start, lay a base in the bowl — it could be romaine hearts, mesclun, spinach, kale or some combination of your favorite lettuces — but it could also be a no-greens salad with something like grains or pasta. Then, add any favorite or complementary vegetables, prepped and cut into manageable bites that are as easy to toss and can stand up to the greens while adding more flavor and texture.

Next up, include a protein to stay satiated and add some additional nutrition, whether it’s leftover grilled chicken from a summer barbecue or a plant-based option like tofu. Don’t forget carbs and fat like nuts, hemp hearts, seeds, olive oil and other healthy additions.

For example, Bodrug said she loves a taco salad loaded with lettuce as the base, like the one in the video above. She adds “veggies for texture, like red onion, tomato and cilantro, my homemade tofu crumbles and black beans for protein and finished off with a two-minute burrito sauce dressing made with coconut yogurt as a fat source.”

Vegan lemon orzo salad

A big bowl of ingredients for lemon orzo salad.

Plant You

The first recipe Bodrug shared “is a refreshing delicious salad packed with protein that comes together in less than 15 minutes.”

“Because it’s a no-lettuce salad, it’s also perfect for anyone who is wanting to take this to work or a summer BBQ,” she added.

Ingredients

8 ounces orzo cooked and cooled

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

1 red bell pepper diced

1 cup kalamata olives diced

1 red onion diced

1/2 cup fresh parsley diced

1/2 cup vegan feta crumbled

3/4 cup chickpeas canned, drained & rinsed

Lemon Dressing

2 lemons squeezed

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil optional

Instructions

Cook the orzo according to package directions and allow to cool.

Assemble dressing ingredients in a jar.

Add all salad ingredients to a bowl and drizzle on the dressing. Toss and enjoy immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days.