It’s the heat of summer. Does your menu offer items to beat the heat? A seasonal salad can hit that mark while also taking advantage of the abundance of summer veggies.
Before we talk salads, let’s dive into sizing options. What fits your menu? Individual sized, small plate appetizer or family-style sharable. You have options. Evaluate how other items sell and what makes sense for your customers and your bottom line.
There are some salads that naturally pair well with pizza: panzanella, caprese and Caesar. Let’s get into these salads.
This Italian chopped salad is best served as an appetizer. It features Italian bread, tomatoes, capers, onion, celery, basil and chickpeas. Don’t be afraid to change up the veggies in this salad based on what is available in your area. Blend parsley, garlic, oregano, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to create the dressing. This is another area where you can apply some creativity by choosing another vinegar or adding different herbs and spices like crushed red pepper or thyme. We’ve even seen recipes incorporate Dijon mustard.
It’s classic and light. You can’t go wrong with sliced summer tomatoes (especially those beautiful and colorful heirloom varieties), sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper. We often see this salad topped with a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
But, let’s get your wheels turning about all the tasty twists that can give you a unique option and wow your guests with the season’s best. Here are some other simple caprese remixes:
- Roasted red pepper, burrata, basil, EVOO
- Strawberries, cherry tomatoes, Perlini mozzarella, mint, honey drizzle
- Cucumber, avocado, sliced tomato and balsamic drizzle
- Green apple, fresh mozzarella, blueberries, basil and balsamic
- Peaches, fresh mozzarella, fresh mint, olive oil and hot honey
Let’s explore a recipe for one of these delicious caprese remixes. You can’t go wrong with peaches in the summertime. Choose your favorite peach variety — the juicier, the better, and play with this Peach Caprese recipe.
Hail to the classic Caesar, a great option as an individual salad, family-style portion or entrée with an add-on protein. Switch up the romaine for a rotini pasta to make a cool pasta salad. Think BLT Caesar salad with a blended Caesar mayo dressing that can also we used as a sandwich spread or reduce as aioli drizzle on pizza.
Corn, one of summer’s biggest bounty
At its peak, producers are practically giving away corn, whether it’s Silver Queen, Jubilee or Golden Bantam. Try a versatile sweet corn pico de gallo with fresh roasted corn, finely chopped jalapeno, chopped tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and sea salt. Serve over chopped leaf lettuce, red cabbage and top with shredded white cheddar, crushed tortilla chips and a drizzle of Ranch dressing. The sweet corn pico can also be used as a finishing topping on a Southwestern or Mexican pizza.
Go Italian inspired with a summer corn salad featuring roasted white corn, grape tomatoes, roasted red onion, roasted garlic, roasted red pepper, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, Pecorino, basil, crushed pepper, cracked black pepper and sea salt.
Infusing flavors from around the world can be a big hit with customers. One of the most popular international salads is a Thai salad. And since Thai chicken pizzas are a hot specialty pizza, the ingredients add versatility. Thai salads vary but usually include Napa cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, sweet peppers, edamame and a peanut dressing.
This salad is an excellent opportunity to offer a plant-based option with meat and cheese add-ons for those who want them. Here’s a recipe to get you started and you can experiment from there:
Plant-based Thai Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
We have a collection of salads designed for pizzeria menus online. Browse the entire collection for more summer salad ideas.
DENISE GREER is Executive Editor at Pizza Today.