Chilled Versus Grilled: The Summer Salad Showdown

Chilled Versus Grilled: The Summer Salad Showdown

During the summer, particularly over holiday weekends, we at CoachUp like to engage in some friendly competition. There are champions crowned in cornhole, basketball, checkers, pushups, horseshoes, flag-football, and even ping-pong. We compare 5K times, vertical leap, and even culinary prowess. Right now, the office is locked in a heated debate over which is the official summer salad of CoachUp -- true story, I'm not kidding whatsoever.

When it comes to cookouts, there's no better companion than a well-balanced salad. Spoiler alert: we're not talking about sad store-bought salads with wilted greens and a dressing filled with artificial ingredients. We mean salads bristling with fresh, healthy produce, loaded with layers of flavor, accented by pops of bright colors, and a touch of acidity.

Let’s cut to the chase, the reigning champ is the Grilled Corn Salad that appears below. This simple salad takes full advantage of seasonal produce and can be sourced locally. It has the benefit of also coming from the grill and it requires very little preparation time. However, it may be time to pass the title onto a newcomer: the Chilled Watermelon Salad. Sweet, savory, crunchy, refreshing, and even a bit spicy, this salad has it all!

Grilled Corn Salad 

  • 6 ears of corn
  • 2 tablespoons of corn/canola/vegetable oil for grilling
  • 1 avocado-- finely diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes -- halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of coarse salt

Assembling the Grilled Corn Salad

1. Pre-heat grill to med-high

2. Husk corn, brush with grilling oil of choice, and grill

3. Rotate corn frequently but allow the kernels to caramelize and develop a brown (even black!) color if desired

4. Cut corn off of the cob into a large bowl and immediately mix in all ingredients except avocado, which should only be diced and added right before serving to avoid oxidizing.

Chilled Watermelon Salad 

  • 1 english Cucumber -- diced
  • 6 small Hot House Tomatoes -- diced
  • 2 cups of watermelon -- diced
  • 1 avocado -- diced
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive
  • ½ lime for the juice
  • 12 mint leaves -- thinly sliced
  • ½ jalapeno -- minced
  • Salt to taste

Assembling Chilled Watermelon Salad

1. Mix ingredients when ready to serve, that’s it!

As a bonus this week, it is a holiday after all, we have included a grilled shrimp recipe that pairs beautifully with either salad. This Simple Citrus Shrimp is quick to whip up and can be the main event or a worthy addition to any cookout. Turn the Grilled Corn Salad or the Chilled Watermelon Salad into a healthy family dinner tonight!

Simple Citrus Shrimp 

  • 2 pounds shrimp -- cleaned and deveined. Pro-tip: shells can remain if you are using a grill as it keeps the shrimp from overcooking!
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice -- (4-6 lemons)
  • 4 garlic cloves -- minced
  • 3 serrano peppers -- deseeded, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

Preparing Simple Citrus Shrimp

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix vigorously

2. Cover and refrigerate overnight

3. Remove shrimp from refrigerator, discard marinade, and pat shrimp dry

4. Pre-heat grill (or broiler)

5. Cook 2-3 mins per side, until the translucence turns to a light pink color

Huddle Up! We look forward to hearing what all of you think of our two favorite CoachUp salads! The Chilled Watermelon Salad requires a bit more prep work but can be immediately assembled without the use of the grill. However, the corn salad contains less ingredients and actually benefits from the fantastic grill flavor -- so what will you pick? Choices, choices -- happy summer cookout!

For more incredible easy recipes, download CoachUp's Cookbook and start eating!

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