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 packed with delicious, colorful toppings that makes summer meals more refreshing.

Ditch the expensive restaurant and instead, tap into your inner food blogger by replicating those hunger-inducing homemade salad videos on your social media feed.

Grab an extra large bowl, lettuce, veggies, nuts, herbs, grains, protein, and an easy homemade dressing for a sure-fire season of great summer salads.

“Plant You” cookbook author and food maker Carleigh Bodrug started a series on her Instagram and TikTok and now she shares her top tips and recipes with “Good Morning America” ​​Food to help you make the best salads in your own kitchen.

Layers of flavors

“The best way to make a delicious, large, hearty salad at home is to add layers of flavor and texture to it to keep you full and satisfied,” she suggested. “Think beyond the boundaries of lettuce and dressing, and amplify 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 made in less than five minutes.”

Simple salad formula

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

To start, place a base in the bowl — it could be romaine hearts, mesclun, spinach, kale, or any combination of your favorite lettuces — but it could also be a no-veggie salad with something like grains or pasta. Then add any favorite or complementary veggies prepared and cut into manageable bites that are just as easy to toss and will hold up to the veggies while adding more flavor and texture.

Then add a protein to keep you satiated and add some extra nutrition, whether it’s leftover grilled chicken from a summer barbecue or a plant-based option like tofu. Don’t forget carbohydrates and fats such as nuts, hemp hearts, seeds, olive oil and other healthy additives.

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

Vegan lemon orzo salad

A large bowl of lemon orzo salad ingredients.

plant you

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

“Being a salad-free salad, it’s also perfect for anyone who wants to take this to work or a summer barbecue,” she added.


8 ounces orzo cooked and cooled

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

1 red bell pepper cut into cubes

1 cup kalamata olives diced

1 red onion chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley diced

1/2 cup vegan feta crumbled

3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained & rinsed

lemon dressing

2 lemons squeezed

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil optional


Cook the orzo according to package directions and let cool.

Place the dressing ingredients in a jar.

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