Two Amazing Summer Salad Recipes from Chef Laura Pensiero


Today we are sharing two secret recipes for great salad!  Both come from JUST SALAD Executive Chef, Laura Pensiero.   Thanks to Chef Laura we can now make these at home and serve them at our summer parties!

cheflauraChef and Nutritionist Laura Pensiero works with the Just Salad brand to design each inspired salad on its original and seasonal menus. As a cookbook author, nutrition and culinary consultant, registered dietitian and health educator, Chef Laura lends her culinary expertise and passion for health and nutrition across a diverse range of food and health industries. A nationally recognized ‘eat local’ industry spokesperson, Laura coauthored “The Strang Cancer Prevention Center Cookbook, and most recently, “Hudson Valley Mediterranean: The Gigi Good Food Cookbook,” which was named one of Food and Wine’s Top 10 Cookbooks for 2009. Through her flagship organization, Gigi Hudson Valley, she owns the award-winning restaurant Gigi Trattoria, located upstate in Rhinebeck, New York.


Recipes courtesy of


Berrylicious Salad

Makes 4 servings

This refreshing salad includes the best of summer fruit that contrasts nicely with the spicy Serrano and rich salmon. It’s a low-calorie, high protein crowd pleaser. If you’d like to keep the protein high but omit the salmon, substitute 8 chopped hard-boiled egg white.


  • 1/2 pound fresh baby spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 pound Romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces, rinsed and dried
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds
  • 3/4 cup cooked wheat berries (or barley) – optional
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed
  • 4 ounces Just Salad Serrano Strawberry Watermelon (recipe below)
  • 3 ounces cooked salmon (oven roasted or pan-seared)


  • In a large mixing bowl combine the lettuces, almonds, wheat berries, and blueberries. Toss to combine. Add the Serrano-Strawberry-Watermelon dressing and toss again. Top with the cooked salmon. Alternately, if using egg white, fold them in.


 Just Salad Serrano Strawberry – Watermelon dressing

Makes 1 1/2 cups


  • 4 cups diced seeded watermelon
  • 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper


  • Combine half of the watermelon and the remaining ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth then add remaining watermelon. Pulse until only small bits of the watermelon remain.


Summer Picnic Salad

Makes 4 servings

Nothing says picnic like fried chicken, salad greens and juicy tomatoes. Chef Laura’s ‘oven-fried’ version is seasoned and crispy – you won’t miss crunch (nor the fat or calories) from traditional frying.


  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels from the cob (can substitute same amount of canned; rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (can substitute Italian parsley)1/2 pound mesclun
  • 1/2 pound iceberg, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 medium seedless cucumber, peeled in alternate rows, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, rinsed and chopped
  • 4 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces Just Salad Chilled Avocado dressing (recipe below)
  • 12 ounces Just Salad Oven-Baked Panko Chicken (recipe below)


  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the corn, black beans and cilantro. Add the lettuces and cucumber, tossing to combine. Add the tomatoes, cheese and chicken, gently folding to combine, then drizzling in the dressing. Toss tocombine and serve immediately.


Oven-Baked Panko Chicken

Makes approximately 12-14 ounces (4  3-ounces servings)


  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon of Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 4 split boneless, skinless, chicken breast (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Pour the oil on to a large sheet pan or baking pan with sides, tilting to evenly distribute. Place the pan in the oven.
  • Meanwhile, combine the bread crumbs, paprika, salt and black pepper in a large zip lock bag. Shake to combine. On a cutting board, slightly pound the chicken with a kitchen mallet so that they are of even thickness (approximately 1 and 1/2-2-inches thick) .
  • Remove the pan with hot oil from the oven. One by one, dredge the chicken in the bread crumb mixture, shaking off excess and placing in a single layer on the sheet or baking pan.  Bake for 20 minutes, turn, and cook another 10 minutes until crispy and done. When cool, cut the chicken into strips. Store refrigerated until ready to use.


Just Salad Chilled Avocado Dressing

Makes approximately 2 cups (1 oz = 1 serving)


  • 2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of water


  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor except for the water. Pulse to combine. Add half the water, blend until smooth and creamy. If necessary, with food processor motor running, drizzle in more water to desired consistency. Chill and serve.




4 Responses to Two Amazing Summer Salad Recipes from Chef Laura Pensiero

  1. Each time I come to your website I get so hungry with all the yummy recipes.. These salads look insane, thanks!

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