Salads When It’s Too Hot to Cook

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

I love Houston, and that includes the heat and humidity, but not when the heat index soars to 114 °. Grilling outside is not even a consideration, and who wants to heat up the oven? This week I’m offering a few salad recipes to fuel your body and keep you cool. Enjoy!

Crispy Jicama Apple Salad

4 Servings

3 cups jicama julienned
1 apple julienned
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1-2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste


Prep jicama: Cut jicama and apple into matchstick-size pieces, and set aside in a medium bowl.

Roughly chop cilantro and add to the jicama/apple mixture.

Serve: Add lime juice, olive oil, and salt to the bowl, combine, and enjoy!

Mango Avocado Shrimp Salad

6 servings

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large firm-ripe mangoes (2 lbs. total)
2 medium firm-ripe avocados (1 lb. total)
2/3 cup each thinly sliced green onion and chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon minced fresh hot red or green chile (or 1/2 tsp. dried red chile flakes)
1 pound (70 to 110 per lb.) peeled cooked shrimp


In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, oil, and sugar until sugar dissolves.

Dice mangoes and avocados into 3/4 inch cubes; add to bowl. Add green onion, cilantro, chile, and shrimp. Mix gently. Serve or cover and chill for up to 1 hour.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

4 servings

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 c. packed baby spinach (5 oz.)
2 rotisserie chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 c. thinly sliced strawberries
3/4 c. chopped toasted pecans
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
5 oz. feta, crumbled


In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the mustard. While whisking, slowly pour in the oil until the dressing is combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Add spinach, chicken, strawberries, ½ cup pecans, and onion to the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine.

Pile salad onto plates and top with the remaining pecans and a generous crumbling of feta.

Charred Corn Salad

4 servings

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ears corn
Oil for the grill pan
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup fresh mozzarella pearls
1 avocado
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon lime zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a medium stockpot, bring 6 cups water plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt to a boil. Place the corn into the stockpot and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the corn and pat dry.

Oil a grill pan and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the corn and let cook, using tongs to turn the ears every minute or so, until various kernels are charred, about 10 minutes. Set the corn aside to cool.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the onion to a plate to cool for about 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the corn kernels by standing each cob vertically and cutting down along the cob on all sides. Slice the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls in half and dice the avocado into 1/2-inch pieces.

In a medium bowl, combine the corn, onion, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and avocado. Sprinkle with the cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and gently toss to combine.

Chill the salad for about 1 hour before serving.
Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Do you have a summer good-for-you recipe to share?

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