Hearty, Healthy Summertime Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Back when I was a starving student, I came across a create-your-own salad bar. The salad I made on one particular day changed my life forever. So, I tried recreating it on my own and the rest is history. It is without a doubt the best salad I’ve ever had in my entire life.

Summer doesn’t technically end until September 21st, but by this time of year, I’m sure everyone is getting a little tired of all those bland, boring salads they’ve been eating. Before you give up on salads until next summer, give this recipe a try! Some of its components are roasted, but it’s great for summer because it’s served chilled. It’s full of flavor, surprisingly filling, and healthy too. This veggie-packed salad tastes like a guilty pleasure, but it’ll keep you right on track with your summer slim-down plan!



Zucchini and/or squash

Roma tomatoes



Lemon juice

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt, pepper (to taste)

*Put as much or as little of each ingredient as you want!


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop zucchini and/or squash (I like both) and quarter tomatoes. Place on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until veggies begin to break down and caramelize (about 40 min.). Don’t forget to stir halfway through to prevent sticking.
  • Meanwhile, chop onion(s). Then, place in skillet, over low heat, with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let cook until onions caramelize (could take up to 30 min.). Again, stir every once in a while.
  • Once everything has cooked, set aside to let cool. Then, mash up avocado(s) with a little bit of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Next, chop up some fresh tomatoes for salad (leave raw).
  • Last, toss everything in a large bowl full of spinach. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

*This salad can be served at room temperature, but chilled is best!