The best way to use all of that gorgeous summer produce might be this grilled fruit and veggie salad loaded with stone fruit, corn, and okra.
Farmers Markets are popping right now! They’re overflowing with farm fresh produce of the season. We’re at that glorious sweet spot between spring and summer where we still have tons of fresh berries straight off the vine, but stone fruit and corn are starting to crop up. This salad is an ode to that sweet spot, and it’s bursting with summer produce and flavor. Plus, it gives you a chance to dust off those tongs and put your grill skills to the test.
This salad is:
full of fiber
ready in 15 minutes
How to make this salad
The best way to cook summer corn on the cob
I was somewhat indifferent about corn growing up, because I only ever ate it on the cob slathered in salt and butter, and that gets old summer after summer after summer. Fast forward to now, and I’m obsessed. I try to get corn at the market whenever I see it because it’s the perfect compliment to some of the sweeter flavors that we’re used to eating in the hot months.
The best way to cook corn on the cob is straight up grill or bake it in the cob. I’m sure you remember husking corn as a kid. It was the worst job, it took forever and was so tedious. This method is super easy, and best of all, allows you to skip the husking part.
Soak the corn (in husk) in water for at least 30 minutes. More time doesn’t hurt; I’ve often forgotten about it and let the corn soak for a few hours. Place this on the grill for 15 minutes on a high heat, and remove when the husk starts to brown. Let it cool slightly, and then simply peel the husk open. The corn should slide right out and be totally free of the corn silk we all hate. You can also opt to use a knife to cut off the bottom inch of the cob and slide the rest out seamlessly. This is more of a party trick, but it’s pretty fun and works every time. I sliced the corn right off the cob with a knife, but you can opt for the frozen kind if that’s easier.
How to grill the apricots and okra
I cut the apricots in half, remove the pit, and then placed face own on the grill. You can also use a cast iron grill pan, which can go directly on the grill or even in the oven or stove top if you don’t have access to a grill or the weather isn’t cooperating. Cut the stems off of the okra and slice in half lengthwise. Place face down on the grill an leave for about 6-8 minute so you get deep gorgeous grill marks. You can mist the backs of the okra with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper if you like.
Kale should always be massaged if raw, or heated ever so slightly to reduce oxalic acid, an acid the kale makes as a defense mechanism in the wild. This oxalic acid is found in many green veggies, and is harmless if the cell walls are slightly damaged, breaking it down. To massage, simply squish with your hands before serving. I prefer slightly warm greens for this salad though, so I put all of the kale on a grill mat and grilled for about 2 minutes, just enough to crisp up the edges and wilt the rest. You can use whatever greens you like though, no need to stick to kale if it’s not your favorite. Check out the substitutions below for other leafy green ideas.
The fresh veggies
While everything else is grilling, slice red onion, and cube avocado to top your summer salad with. Add fresh blackberries (or blueberries if you prefer), sprouts, celery, and top with vegan ricotta. I used Tofutti brand, but you can make your own by soaking and blending cashews with a dash of apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast.
This poppy vinaigrette is a favorite throughout all seasons. Mix olive oil with vegan milk – I used oat milk because it’s the best for the planet environmentally speaking, but you can choose whatever you have on hand. Add lemon, maple syrup, garlic powder, and a teaspoon of poppy seeds. I just put the whole thing in a dressing bottle and shake it vigorously for a minute, then drizzle it on everything. Another tip: if you’re overstocked on garlic and it’s starting to look a little old, roast all of it and freeze leftovers. Save one or two nutty, roasted cloves, and puree into this dressing for an added sweetness you only get from the roasted garlic.
I used seitan, a protein packed wheat product, for this dish. I make large batches of seitan once a month or every other month, and use them in much the same way you’d use chicken. Seitan is great in ‘chicken salad,’ vegan chicken noodle soup, in pastas, and you guessed it, on green salads. Here is the link if you’d like to try making you’re own seitan. My recipe takes about 30 minutes, and if you double it you’ll be eating pretty for quite a while. After making my base recipe, I breaded the seitan in a flour and baked it as a healthier version of ‘fried chicken,’ and I’ll say it was a giant hit in my household.
Peaches would be amazing in this salad if you don’t have apricots handy.
I used okra, but any grilled veggie, like bell peppers, carrots, or even sweet potatoes would be perfect here.
Seitan was my protein of choice, but of course this summer salad would also welcome grilled tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, or white beans.
Frozen corn kernels can be used instead of corn on the cob if you have them available.
Any greens would work in this salad. Did you know you can cut Romaine down the middle and pop the whole thing onto the grill? It looks pretty sexy with the grill marks and tastes smokey and crunchy. Swap raw spinach, charred collard greens, even arugula for a little spice.
Ways to enjoy this summer salad
This is the perfect side salad to a barbecue of seitan, tofu, or tvp meatballs. Honestly, when grilling anything, I always pair a delicious and juicy healthy green salad with it. Whatever you’re grilling, this is the ultimate compliment.
Serve it as the main dish and top it with my vegan fried chicken, like I did.
Double or triple the recipe and bring it to a cook out or party. This is a perfect summer salad that will impress guests.
More recipe ideas
As always, if you make this easy vegan summer time salad, tag me on Facebook or Instagram, and let me know how it goes! You can also check out my Pinterest page for more easy weeknight dinner inspiration.
If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy some of my other favorite quick salads and dinner recipes to match! See some of my favorite recommendations below: