Summer Veggie Salad with Cilantro Lime dressing
This colorful veggie salad is so refreshing, full of flavor, and can be made so quickly. This recipe gives your basic caesar or lettuce-based salad an upgrade with yellow squash, cucumbers, red onions and mint all mixed together and topped with a cilantro lime dressing. It’s the perfect salad for when you want something healthy and light or the easiest and prettiest side dish to any meal.
Inspiration and thoughts
Making easy and delicious salads are definitely one of my go-to recipe staples, and this one is one of my favorites. I absolutely love salads, but I rarely have typical salad ingredients incorporated into mine. Basic salads can be good sometimes, but they can also have so much variety, which is why I love them. They’re also pretty easy to mix together, healthy, and great to pack to work or have as leftovers.
For this salad my main inspiration was my mom when I was coming up with the ingredients. My mom is such a healthy eater, and she loves a colorful and refreshing salad. She loves mint and cilantro, as do I, and for almost any entree my mom can somehow always find a way to include these two ingredients into the mix (not kidding with that!). So for this salad, I wanted to make something incorporating two of my favorite flavors from mom – cilantro and mint – with fresh veggies. My mom also prefers yellow squash to zucchini, so I decided to add cucumbers instead of zucchini to keep a crunchy green veggie.
Growing up, my mom never made us salad with ‘dressings,’ as we would normally think of them. To any salad she would just add lemon, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil, never measuring anything and adding enough just to taste. They were always perfect, and I loved them. She didn’t like to use unhealthy fillers or cover up the taste of the veggies with unhealthy dressings, and I love that. So for this salad I wanted to spice things up a bit and add a bit of citrus and cilantro to this dressing to bring out the flavors of the veggies and to mix nicely with the mint flavors, so the cilantro lime dressing was born! It gives the perfect tanginess from the lime and just enough flavor without overwhelming it with a light, healthy dressing. My first taste tester for this salad was my mom of course…and she loved it!
How it’s made, notes, substitutions
This salad is literally so easy and looks so pretty and colorful. All you have to do is chop up the cucumbers and yellow squash into small pieces and finely chop the red onion, mint, and cilantro. Drop all of these into a large mixing bowl. Drain and wash a can of black beans and pour that into the mix.
Next, use a food processor or blender to mix all of the dressing ingredients together. I actually use a Ninja blender for my dressings (my mom got me that one!). It is quicker to use a food blender, but I really love my Ninja and I always have it out, so whatever you prefer is fine. Make sure to blend the dressing well, and add extra salt or garlic if you prefer a bit more saltiness or spiciness.
Mix everything together, and that is it! How easy is that?! Add a handful of crushed almonds for an extra crunchy bite and goat cheese crumbles for a smooth creaminess that goes so well with these veggies. Enjoy!
Summer veggie salad with cilantro lime dressing
- 1 large yellow squash about 3 cups chopped
- 3 medium sized Persian cucumbers
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- ½ cup red onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
Cilantro Lime Dressing:
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons lime juice
- 4 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Goat cheese crumbles and crushed almonds
- Chop all salad veggies and add these and the black beans to a large bowl.
- Make the dressing: add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, as much as you prefer, and mix together.
- Serve into large bowls for two, or as a size salad into four. Top with goat cheese crumbles and crushed almonds. Enjoy!