As the weather gets warmer, we start to crave those raw, fresh and cooling foods. The solution? A light and refreshing salad.

While iceberg and romaine may be the usual stars to your favorite salad, don’t be afraid to branch out with your lettuce repertoire. A great mesclun mix, butter lettuce, kale, dandelion, frisee or radicchio all provide tons of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Adding in different greens will help maintain overall health and prevent degenerative diseases.

But the real key to amplify any summer salad is a great dressing — and the best dressings tend to be simple — so try your hand at one of these easy and delicious dressings below.

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Classic Balsamic
(best paired with a mesclun mix or a kale salad)

Ingredients:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tsp honey
Pinch sea salt

Directions:
1. Mix by hand or use blender.

Strawberry Vinaigrette
(best paired with baby spinach or a frisee salad)

Ingredients:
5 strawberries
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
Pinch sea salt

Directions:
1. Mix by hand or use blender.

Spicy Cilantro
(best paired with dandelion or a red leaf lettuce salad)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cilantro
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed
2 tsp  honey
Pinch sea salt
1/8 – ¼ teaspoon chili flakes

Directions:
1. Mix by hand or use blender.

Seedy “Caesar”
(best paired with a dandelion, butter lettuce, kale or radicchio salad)

Ingredients:
½ cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked for 2 hours, rinsed & drained, if possible)
1 lemon, juiced
3 dates, soaked
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
? tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
? cup water to thin out

Directions:
1. Use a blender or a food processor to get the creamy consistency.

Sesame Mediterranean
(best paired with baby spinach, frisee or kale salad)

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup creamy tahini (sesame paste)
1 glove garlic
1 lemon, squeezed
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp ground cumin
Pinch sea salt

Directions:
1. Mix by hand or use blender.

Remember: a good dressing makes all the difference, so try to experiment. Use different flavours, spices, vinegars, fruits and seeds to make a wow-worthy salad for your family, dinner guests and most importantly, you!

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.