July Meal Plan Ideas: Bring on the Salad!

Homemade "French" Salad Dressing

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July’s real food meal plan gives you quick and easy options for keeping your kitchen cool while loading up on your greens and veggies. Enjoying fresh, raw vegetables each day can have amazing health benefits. We’ve all heard about eating the rainbow to get the vitamins and minerals we need by adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to our diet. A daily salad makes this easy to do!

July Real Food Meal Plan

Not only are salads delicious and nutritious, but they’re also easy! This month’s real food meal plan is so easy that I’ve skipped the usual daily To-Do section. You’ll still find a section Notes at the bottom when appropriate (under each weeks’ heading) but no daily tasks. Throwing together a quick salad for dinner will give you more time to enjoy the beauty of summer!

Not a Salad Fan?

Consider this a challenge! A daily salad offers many health benefits, including increasing your fiber intake, building strong bones, and controlling your weight.

And don’t worry, we won’t just be eating a big pile of weeds. There’s still plenty of protein and healthy fat in these salads. We’ll even enjoy grains and legumes! For salads not including a form of protein, feel free to add a burger, healthy hot dog, chicken breast, salmon, or leftover meat on the side. Or how about a homemade brat? I share my secret to delicious brats in my book, Design a Dish.

One day during each full week features my family’s favorite Main Dish Salad. This is an amazing way to clean up leftover odds and ends of vegetables, grains, beans, and proteins hanging out in the fridge. It’s also a great way to utilize any items you’ve stashed in the freezer.  I like to plan our Main Dish Salad for the night before grocery shopping or going to the farmers’ market. During the summer months, for us, this is Tuesday. Feel free to rearrange the menu to fit your personal needs and accommodate your food purchasing.

What works well for me is to cook a roast or whole chicken, along with a pot of beans, one time per week. These items lend themselves well to salad fixing.

Tip: Use your crockpot, Instant Pot, or Sun Oven to avoid heating up the house when cooking these items. We eat beans year-round by using alternate preparation methods–including sprouting.

Are you a fan of beans and legumes? Or are you currently looking for ways to add more economical beans to your diet? I can help! My new cookbook, Stretchy Beans: Nutritious, Economical Meals the Easy Way, is coming soon! Sign up for my newsletter to be alerted to when it is available.

Salad Dressing

We don’t buy salad dressing. Years ago, when we first switched to a whole, real, traditional foods diet, commercial salad dressing was one of the first things we eliminated. Commercial salad dressing is loaded with bad fat, sodium, sugar, and other undesirables. They also lack the fresh taste that homemade dressing has. It takes only a couple of minutes to mix up an easy salad dressing.

While this real food meal plan shares many recipes for salad dressing, I share a simple method to help you make dressing out of ingredients that you have on hand in my book Design a Dish. Methods, as opposed to recipes, are the best way to stretch your food dollars.

Need More?

I link directly to recipes whenever possible, but sometimes I make a note about how I alter a recipe to accommodate for budget or nutrition. You’ll find these notes in the Notes section further down in this July real food meal plan.

The Details

This collection of July real food meal plan ideas serves four or five average eaters. You can make needed adjustments based on your family size and personal desires.  This collection of meal plan ideas features whole, real, and traditional foods. Foods are often (but not always) fermented, cultured, soaked, sprouted, or soured.

A loaf of nice crusty sourdough bread is wonderful alongside a salad! Don’t have a sourdough starter? Learn how to catch a wild starter.

Be sure to scroll down to the Notes section for lots of valuable information!

Homemade "French" Salad Dressing

Partial Week

Wednesday: Zesty Low-Carb Jalapeño Cabbage Coleslaw (great alongside a burger, healthy hot dog, or homemade brat)
Thursday: Salmon and Rice Salad (Read more about this in the Notes)
Friday: Grilled Romaine with Avocado-Lime Dressing
Saturday: Cold Roasted Root Veggie Salad  (Read more about this in the Notes)

Week 1

Sunday: Chicken Waldorf Salad
Monday: Main Dish Salad (Read more about this in the Notes)
Tuesday: Stetson Chopped Salad (substitute rice or other grain for couscous, as desired)
Wednesday: Vietnamese Spring Roll Salad (can sub chicken for shrimp)
Thursday: The Best Broccoli Bacon Salad (great alongside a burger, healthy hot dog, or homemade brat)
Friday: Little Gem (or Romaine) Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese & Herb Dressing
Saturday: BBQ Chicken Salad Bowl

 

Week 2

Sunday: Southwestern Salad with Black Beans (use full-fat yogurt)
Monday: Main Dish Salad (Read more about this in the Notes)
Tuesday: Cold Brown Rice Salad With Garden Veggies (make the rice in advance)
Wednesday: Overnight Salad (Seven Layer Salad) (make this the night before)
Thursday: Egg Salad over assorted greens
Friday: Spiralized Mediterranean Cucumber Salad (Read more about this in the Notes)
Saturday: Succotash Salad (great alongside a burger, healthy hot dog, or homemade brat)

Week 3

Sunday: Cucumber & Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Monday: Main Dish Salad (Read more about this in the Notes)
Tuesday: Tasty Layered Taco Salad (Read more about this in the Notes)
Wednesday: Golden Mid-Summer Vegetable Noodle Salad
Thursday: Classic Carrot Summer Salad (great alongside a burger, healthy hot dog, or homemade brat)
Friday: Crunchy Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing (oh, this dressing–so good!)
Saturday: Spring Quinoa Salad (rice or other grain can be subbed for quinoa)

Week 4

Sunday: “Use a Spoon” Chopped Salad
Monday: Main Dish Salad (Read more about this in the Notes)
Tuesday: Curried Egg Salad over assorted greens (Read more about this in the Notes)
Wednesday: Russian Probiotic Potato Salad (great alongside a burger, healthy hot dog, or homemade brat)
Thursday: Chicken Southwest Salad
Friday: Quick Nicoise Salad

Notes

Partial Week

Thursday:

This Salmon and Rice Salad is very flexible! The original recipe calls for smoked salmon. That tends to be cost-prohibitive for me, so I use wild canned salmon. To help with the cost of the salmon, I order it online by the case when it is on sale. Azure Standard is my first choice for this, but I’ve also ordered from Amazon.

The rice can be made the night before or the morning of so it’s properly cooled. Feel free to add additional vegetables or serve over a bed of greens as desired.

Saturday:

Planning an Independence Day picnic? This is one of my favorite make-ahead meals, perfect for picnics or road trips. Cold Roasted Root Veggie Salad can be made a day or two in advance. Store in the fridge but allow to come to room temp before serving. Delicious! And it’s excellent served with cold, precooked chicken drumsticks. Picnic food for sure.

Week 1

Monday:

Main Dish Salad, a great way to use up whatever is left in the fridge or stashed in the freezer.

Mixing a variety of lettuce with thinly sliced cabbage gives a nice crunch. I cut all of the fresh vegetables, cooked meats, and cheeses on a large cutting board, which then becomes the serving board. If I don’t have any cooked meats lurking in the fridge, I’ll hard boil some eggs and/or mix up salmon or tuna salad from a can. Beans and legumes are also a welcome addition.

We add small bowls of shredded cheese, olives, sunflower seeds, peanuts, etc. Then everyone fills their plate with salad greens and whatever toppings they want. Finish it off with a homemade dressing and maybe a nice crusty bread. Yum!

Week 2

Monday:

Main Dish Salad, a great way to use up whatever is left in the fridge or stashed in the freezer.

Mixing a variety of lettuce with thinly sliced cabbage gives a nice crunch. I cut all of the fresh vegetables, cooked meats, and cheeses on a large cutting board, which then becomes the serving board. If I don’t have any cooked meats lurking in the fridge, I’ll hard boil some eggs and/or mix up salmon or tuna salad from a can. Beans and legumes are also a welcome addition.

We add small bowls of shredded cheese, olives, sunflower seeds, peanuts, etc. Then everyone fills their plate with salad greens and whatever toppings they want. Finish it off with a homemade dressing and maybe a nice crusty bread. Yum!

Friday:

A spiralizer adds a fun and unique twist to veggies dishes. Just about any vegetable can become pasta, which is great if you’re watching your carbs!

Week 3

Monday:

Main Dish Salad, a great way to use up whatever is left in the fridge or stashed in the freezer.

Mixing a variety of lettuce with thinly sliced cabbage gives a nice crunch. I cut all of the fresh vegetables, cooked meats, and cheeses on a large cutting board, which then becomes the serving board. If I don’t have any cooked meats lurking in the fridge, I’ll hard boil some eggs and/or mix up salmon or tuna salad from a can. Beans and legumes are also a welcome addition.

We add small bowls of shredded cheese, olives, sunflower seeds, peanuts, etc. Then everyone fills their plate with salad greens and whatever toppings they want. Finish it off with a homemade dressing and maybe a nice crusty bread. Yum!

Tuesday:

Tasty Layered Taco Salad.  Make your own taco seasoning for this! My favorite recipe is from Traditional Cooking School (scroll to the bottom of this page to find).

 

Week 4

Monday:

Main Dish Salad, a great way to use up whatever is left in the fridge or stashed in the freezer.

Mixing a variety of lettuce with thinly sliced cabbage gives a nice crunch. I cut all of the fresh vegetables, cooked meats, and cheeses on a large cutting board, which then becomes the serving board. If I don’t have any cooked meats lurking in the fridge, I’ll hard boil some eggs and/or mix up salmon or tuna salad from a can. Beans and legumes are also a welcome addition.

We add small bowls of shredded cheese, olives, sunflower seeds, peanuts, etc. Then everyone fills their plate with salad greens and whatever toppings they want. Finish it off with a homemade dressing and maybe a nice crusty bread. Yum!

Tuesday:

Curried Egg Salad. I can’t remember how I first learned of adding curry to egg salad but it soon became a favorite! The linked recipe is “fancier” than my usual curried egg salad fare, but it also feels a little heartier.

My simple version is to mix together the mayo, curry powder, honey, lime juice, sea salt, and pepper. Add in chopped hard-boiled eggs. Serve over mixed greens.

Looking for more real food meal plan ideas? Check out the meal plan archives here.

Ready to learn to cook healthy food outside? Cook on the trail or in your own backyard! Build your outdoor cooking skills so that no matter what happens, your family will enjoy delicious, healthy, traditional meals… cooked exactly the way you like. Learn more about the Cooking Outside eCourse at Traditional Cooking School here.

PS: for a limited time, TCS is offering a free t-shirt and print book with your eCourse purchase.

 

Millie Copper
Millie Copper is a Wyoming wife and mama. After reading Nourishing Traditions in early 2009, her family began transforming their diet to whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods—a little at a time while stretching their food dollars. Millie is passionate to share how, with a little creativity, anyone can transition to a real foods diet without overwhelming their food budget. Millie began blogging in late 2009 and has amassed a collection of frugal recipes and methods. Her specialties include cooking with wild game and creating “Stretchy Beans”. Discovering a love of writing, she has penned four books focusing on healthy eating on a budget and is trying her hand at fiction writing. Learn more at MillieCopper.com.

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