Meadowlark’s chopped salad with tofu. Contributed Photo by Alexis Larsen

5 salads perfect for summer

I’m always on the lookout for a good salad. This time of year that’s especially true.

Something light, something refreshing, something summery.

In that spirit, here are five salads that I’ve enjoyed recently that I think you will too:

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Photo: Tina Phan

Coco’s Bistro

Bourbon Street Salad

Put a pile of mixed greens, several large bourbon glazed shrimp to rest on top, a generous sprinkling of applewood smoked bacon and fontina cheese mixed with diced tomatoes in a toasted pecan vinaigrette, and finish it off with a crown of spicy onion straws and you have the Coco’s Bourbon Street Salad ($17.50). It’s on the pricy side, but the flavors are delightful. This paired with a cold iced tea out on the patio will be heaven this summer.

250 Warren St., Dayton

(937) 228-2626 or www.228coco.com

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Corner Kitchen

Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad

Goat cheese isn't for everyone, but it's definitely for me. This salad ($6) with dollops of pillowy soft, savory goat cheese and a sprinkling of cashews and mandarin oranges tossed in an unassuming citrus vinaigrette that compliments nicely is a delicious way to lead into your entrée, or pair with a protein — chicken ($5), steak ($8), salmon ($7, and my choice) or tofu ($2) — and it becomes a meal. Their caesar salad ($6) features white anchovies, which also gets a thumbs up in my book.

613 E. 5th St., Dayton

(937) 719-0999 or www.afinerdiner.com

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Dewey's Pizza

Greek Salad

This is one of my favorite salads to crunch on any time of the year, but especially now. Dewey’s Greek salad ($5.45 for a side and $8.45 for the regular) takes a bed of colorful greens and mixes it with kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted whole garlic cloves, red onions, cucumbers and chunks of feta cheese. Topped of with a thick, tangy and delicious roasted red pepper vinaigrette puts it over the edge for me. It’s the kind of salad you will need to take a pack of mints with you to handle the garlic breath aftermath, but it’s worth it in the end. Add chicken for $1.25 to a side salad or $1.75 for a regular size if you want to fill up even more. The candied walnut and grape salad is another favorite and they are always featuring seasonal salads which for the last several years when I’ve been there and had them have been outstanding, so be sure to inquire about those.

3600 Rigby Road, Dayton

131 Jasper St., Dayton

(937) 859-7777, (937) 223-0000 or www.deweyspizza.com

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Photo: Deb Lindsey

Meadowlark

Chopped Salad

This is a salad where vegetables and little else are the star. The chopped salad ($12.95) features a very simple blend of fresh chopped cucumber, tomato, radish, carrot and celery tossed with an equally simple fresh lemon vinaigrette on a bed of chopped romaine. Egg, avocado, crumbled feta, herb leaves and a drizzle of homemade herb mayonnaise are delicately mixed in without overpowering the veggies. A piece of grilled toast is served alongside this gardeners delight. In this case simpler is better. Add grilled angus beef ($6), seared salmon ($6), grilled chicken ($4) or my favorite, grilled tofu ($3). There's also an option to top it with crisp Nueske’s bacon and chopped tomato ($4). Another favorite that is refreshing and filling is a slow-roasted red beet salad with horseradish, pecans and crumbled goat cheese ($6.95).

5531 Far Hills Ave., Dayton

(937) 434-4750 or meadowlarkrestaurant.com

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Contributed by Eric Wolfinger

Roost Modern Italian

Warm Mushroom Salad

A large portion of juicy, tender warm sautéed mushrooms are laid on a bed of arugula that have been mixed with candied walnuts and a balsamic shallot vinaigrette — this is the simple concept of this complicated salad ($5.50 for a small portion, $9 for a large portion). A crispy goat cheese fritter that’s golden brown accompanies. It’s definitely more of a winter salad, but I’d be happy to have whether it’s warm or cold out and was excited to see it still on the menu the last time I was in.

524 E. 5th St., Dayton

(937) 222-3100 or http://roostdayton.com

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