Summer Salads and Centerpieces

Summer salad meals can be dressed up with a simple vinaigrette and you can also dress your table with a simple summertime centerpiece.  Your Hy-Vee registered dietitian, Jen Haugen, is here to help you dress up your meals and tables with simple ideas that will make the whole family want to come to the table.

A Summer Centerpiece -DIY

Style a simple flower arrangement for busy summer days.  Dress up a picnic table, dining table or buffet with several vintage-looking jars, each holding a colorful sunflower arrangement.  Embellish jars with tags tied with strings or pop in accent pieces: small American flag of the Fourth of July, colorful lollipops for birthdays, or other decorations for a wedding or anniversary.

All you need: 

Glass Jar

Various shapes, sizes and colors of flowers


All you do:

  1. Wash, rinse and dry jar.  Fill jar with cool water.
  2. Hold flowers next to the jar to determine height.  Remove leaves that will go below the waterline.  Cut the stems on a diagonal while holding them underwater to avoid trapping air in the stem.  Place stems in jar, arranging as you go.  
  3. To keep your arrangement fresh, change the water daily.



Simple Vinaigrette 

Source: McCormick Do-It-Yourself Dressings

Makes ¾ cup.

What you need

¼ cup vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

McCormick® Herbs and Spices*

¼ teaspoon McCormick® Sea Salt Grinder

½ cup oil

MIX vinegar, sugar, herbs and spices and sea salt in medium bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Gradually add oil, whisking until well blended.

*See dressing variations below and by clicking on the link “McCormick Do-It-Yourself Dressings”.

Nutritional Information per Serving

Base Recipe with ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt but no seasonings:

175 Calories, Fat 19g, Protein 0g, Carbohydrates 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 67mg, Fiber 0g


Balsamic Honey: 

Substitute honey for sugar in recipe, and add 1 teaspoon ground cumin and pinch of coarse ground black pepper.


Substitute pomegranate juice for vinegar, and add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon ground ginger.

Jen Haugen represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community.  Jen is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.