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Published on July 04, 2018

Caprese Salad

Easy, Fun Summer Salads

I always find it a little amusing when someone tells me about the “salad” they just made, and they describe something with a main ingredient of either Miracle Whip or Cool Whip.

Technically they’re not wrong. Merriam-Webster defines salad not only as raw greens often combined with other vegetables and toppings and served with dressing but also as small pieces of food, such as pasta, meat, fruit or vegetables, usually mixed with a dressing, such as mayonnaise, or set in gelatin.

But it is swimsuit season, so I thought I would share some out-of-the box vegetable-based salads, sure to delight the taste buds but stay light on the waist line. Thanks to the beans, cheeses and seeds, these salads can serve as a side dish or as an entrée.

Caprese Salad with Grape Tomatoes


  • 3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5-7 fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Toss together the tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  2. Tear the basil into large pieces and toss into the salad. Add pepper to taste.
  3. Serve immediately.

Texas Caviar


  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup white corn
  • Jalapenos to taste, chopped
  • 1 (4-ounce) can pimentos, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cucumber, skinned, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Mixed greens


  1. Mix first seven ingredients (through garlic) together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and let cool.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Once sauce is cooled pour sauce over vegetable mixture.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours before serving.
  5. Serve over a bed of greens for a salad. This also makes a great relish for grilled meats or fish tacos, or can serve as a fresh, fun salsa. 

Ultimate Fruit and Vegetable Summer Salad


  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 8 ounces strawberries
  • 8 ounces grapes
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 8-10 basil leaves, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • Mixed greens


  1. Chop the cucumber, strawberries, grapes and red bell pepper into bite-sized chunks and combine.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and lime juice.
  3. Pour the dressing over the fruit/veggie mixture and toss to combine.
  4. Add the basil strips and sunflower seeds.
  5. Serve over mixed greens.

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