Updated date:

Invent Your Own Summer Salad: A Healthy Dinner Recipe for Kids

I usually make this recipe when it’s roasting hot outside. It's the best healthy dinner recipe I know!

Looking for a Healthy Meal That Your Family Will LOVE?

This is the best healthy dinner recipe I know of for adults, kids, and families because it’s so flexible—you can work with any ingredients you have on hand, and it’s relatively quick and affordable.

Kids love it because there’s a huge variety of food to keep them interested in eating a whole plateful, plus they can also help prepare it. I’ve also found husbands and partners enjoy it, as well, and find it more interesting than what they’d consider to be “rabbit food."

I usually make this recipe when it’s roasting hot outside. I buy the ingredients to last the entire week in summer and make it every night, with slight variations. There’s no need to have a headache over what to eat tonight (which is quite a relief for us family cooks), and the washing-up is fairly minimal.

Imagine sitting down to eat this smorgasboard of salad every night!

Imagine sitting down to eat this smorgasboard of salad every night!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

15 min

45 min

Makes as much as you want!

Ingredients

  • fresh vegetables
  • herbs
  • meat, cheese and/or eggs
  • fruits & nuts
  • pasta or rice
  • canned & packaged foods
  • salad dressing(s)

Directions

  1. Start cooking all foods that need to be cooked first. This includes eggs, halloumi, pasta, rice or anything else you need to fry, steam, boil or bake.
  2. While the hot food is cooking, create the salad. Pick a plate that is the right size for each family member that you intend to fill.
  3. Prepare each part of the salad and place it on the plate so you can see how much food you need. Leave a space for any hot food.
  4. Finish off hot food and add to the plate. Garnish, add dressing and serve!
A delicious healthy dinner for partners who complain about eating "rabbit food".

A delicious healthy dinner for partners who complain about eating "rabbit food".

Try It and See What You Think!

I guarantee if you invent your own summer salad every night for a few weeks, you’ll feel a massive boost in your energy levels and alertness. You’ll be getting greater nourishment and it’s a good way to get fussy eaters to be less fussy as well as helping parents feel good and shape up for summer.

Ideas For Ingredients

Fresh / RawCanned / PackagedCooked

Lettuce

Beetroot

Eggs

Tomato

Pineapple

Halloumi Cheese

Carrot

Bean Mix

Saganaki Cheese

Celery & Leaf

Olives

Smoked Ham

Apple

Deli Cheeses (e.g., Brie)

Satay Rice Packet Mix

Capsicum

Peas

Couscous

Cucumber

Fetta Cheese

Bulgur

Mushrooms

Cheddar Cheese

Pasta Salad

Purple Onion

Dried Figs & Other Fruits

Egg Salad

Parsley

Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Other Nuts

Chicken Salad

Spring Onion

Biscotti & Dried Bisuits

Macaroni

Grapes

Tuna

Risoni Salad

Banana

Apricots

Fried Tomatoes

Baby Spinach

Deli Meats

Potato Salad

Watermelon

Savoury Crackers

Fried Zucchini or Mushrooms

Strawberries

Yogurt & Dips

Fried Eggs

Kiwi Fruit

Asparagus

Sausages

Cherry Tomatoes

Sweetcorn

Chicken Wings / Drumsticks

Honeydew / Melon

Mussels

Fish Fillet

An inspired greenery, halloumi and egg salad plate I made one night, featuring lots of dill. I thought the apples with brie were an interesting addition to this salad. Egg salad made with the Quick Egg Salad Recipe below.

An inspired greenery, halloumi and egg salad plate I made one night, featuring lots of dill. I thought the apples with brie were an interesting addition to this salad. Egg salad made with the Quick Egg Salad Recipe below.

Quick Egg Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • Boiled, peeled eggs
  • Milk or water
  • Fresh or dried dill
  • Wholegrain mustard
  • Ground pepper

Directions

Mash boiled and peeled eggs in a bowl with a fork. Mix a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard into milk or water and add it to the mashed eggs. Stir in ground pepper and dill.

Forget mayonnaise. Make the Quick Egg Salad Recipe above in the time it takes to boil and mash a few eggs.

Forget mayonnaise. Make the Quick Egg Salad Recipe above in the time it takes to boil and mash a few eggs.

Capsicum pasta is very easy to make.

Capsicum pasta is very easy to make.

Mini Salads

You can make your own easy mini salads within the summer salad plate and use them over a few nights. Here are some examples:

  • Zesty Grated Carrots: Mix grated carrot with orange juice for a citrus flavour kids will love!
  • Minty Pea Risoni: Chop fresh mint and add with peas to risoni pasta. Add a few drops of olive oil and lemon juice for extra flavour.
  • Tzaziki Dip: Add minced garlic and finely chopped cucumber with dried dill to natural yogurt and stir for a refreshing dip that goes with just about everything.
  • Capsicum Pasta: Cook some macaroni or spiral pasta and add finely chopped red capsicum, oregano, fresh parsley, ground pepper, or a combination of above for an interesting pasta add on.
  • Tomato Bulgur: Boil bulgur (cracked wheat) with chopped tomatoes until cooked. Add chopped fresh parsley.
  • Green Salad: Combine lettuce, parsley, spring onion, finely sliced celery, finely chopped green capsicum, thinly sliced purple onion, grated cucumber or a combination of above. Squirt lemon juice over the top.
  • Seafood Salad: Use a seafood mix and add minced garlic and olive oil to it and fry.
Fish fillets with a healthy salad for dinner - delicious!

Fish fillets with a healthy salad for dinner - delicious!

Salad Dressing Suggestions

  • lemon juice
  • orange juice
  • olive oil + herbs
  • apple cider vinegar + water
  • pomegranate syrup
  • natural yogurt
  • honey + soy sauce
  • minced garlic + olive oil
  • wholegrain mustard + water
  • sesame oil + sesame seeds
  • flavoured iced tea (cooled)

How to Make Each Salad Night Different

Try different methods of chopping and grating the food. For example, one night I might have grated carrot and the next I might make carrot sticks. One night I might chop cheese into small cubes and the next night I might fry the cheese in breadcrumbs.

You could grate the cucumber or slice it, boil and peel eggs as whole, slice the boiled eggs or make a mini egg salad. Herbs and dressings can be very helpful in making the food taste different each night too.

If you are going to make these salads for an entire week, work with canned and packaged foods so you can alternate the nights on which you have them. Since you only use a small portion for each meal, cans can last 2–3 meals if you buy a large can of each ingredient.

Lastly, it's fun to explore the supermarket aisles and try a couple of new ingredients every now and again.

Grilled chicken wings with salad make for a nice, easy summer meal.

Grilled chicken wings with salad make for a nice, easy summer meal.

I'm a pepper fanatic and like to add pepper to everything. You might have your own favourite herb or spice for flavouring this healthy recipe!

I'm a pepper fanatic and like to add pepper to everything. You might have your own favourite herb or spice for flavouring this healthy recipe!

My son, enjoying his summer salad for the fourth night running.

My son, enjoying his summer salad for the fourth night running.

Thanks, Mum!

A big thank you to my mother (also known as "Nanna") for this recipe. She created it one year when the budget was a bit tight, and we’ve all enjoyed it so much that we now eat it every summer while adding new and exciting ingredients to it.

I posted a few photos of my salads on Facebook, and my friends thought it looked fantastic, so I decided to share it with the world.

The more I make this recipe, the more I enjoy eating and cooking it. It's a great fun food for kids to make, too. I hope you get as much enjoyment from this healthy dinner recipe for summer salad as I do!

© 2013 Suzanne Day

Comments

Chantelle Porter from Chicago on January 31, 2016:

Very creative and beautiful to look at.

Sanghita Chatterjee from Kolkata on January 31, 2016:

Suzanne, your hub is, shall I say, a life saver?? :-) All the recipes are healthy and great for my toddler! Voted up and pinning. Thank you so much for sharing!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 31, 2016:

Congrats on HOTD, Suzanne! It looks so delicious and tasting for the summer. Thanks for the recipes.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 31, 2016:

A great way to get in more veggies and fruits. They look really tasty, too! Thanks for the ideas. And congrats!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 31, 2016:

All these salads look amazingly delicious Suzanne. Just great for these hot Summer days at the moment. Congratulations on the Hub of the Day award. I am envious :) Well done.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 31, 2016:

Congratulations for the HOTD!

Came back to read your wonderful hub once again. Very interesting and healthy salad recipes.

Thanks for sharing!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 22, 2015:

Your plates of food look fantastic! As we are officially into our hot summer months here in Houston, these salad ideas look even better. I do love salads year round. Thanks for sharing your good ideas with us.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 21, 2014:

Invent Your Own Summer Salad: A Healthy Dinner Recipe For Kids is an awesome and creative thought from you.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 06, 2014:

This a healthy and delicious idea...I love the look of the beautiful salads in your photos. It´s also a great way to keep up with what we have stashed in the fridge! My husband would love this...I´ll have to try it soon. Thank you!

Susan from India on January 03, 2014:

I love eating salads. Thanks for sharing this amazing hub. Voted up.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 01, 2014:

This hub is as wholesome as your wholesome recipes! Its difficult to make a choice, as to which is the best. But I loved the one having grilled chicken and fish fillets in them.

Very interesting and useful hub! Voted up and shared!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 28, 2013:

i like your idea. I love egg salad with mayo very much. I don't eat much of vege but lots of fruit salad though. Great ideas.

Janis from California on December 26, 2013:

These all look so fresh and good.

M K Paul from India on December 24, 2013:

Very nice agglomeration of goodies....I liked and will add in my menu.Keep it up.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 22, 2013:

What a beautiful variety of fresh goodies. You do a marvelous job at laying out all the possibilities and enticing the reader.

Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on December 21, 2013:

Thanks Billybuc, it's summer in Australia, hence the salads! But thanks for the compliment ;)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 21, 2013:

I'm not much of a salad guy, but I'll tell you what I like about this article: you planned ahead. Far too often HP writers will post seasonal hubs a couple days in advance....they lose their audience by doing so. By posting this now you are a step up on the competition for summer...well done!