Crisp and crunchy, fresh and sunny, bursting with bright flavors — salads scream summer! Celebrate the season with over-the-top salads that make use of summer’s bountiful produce. And as you do, remember that dressings and vinaigrettes are a crucial component of any salad, boasting the ability to take the dish from simple to simply delicious. This year, liven up your summer salad dressings by exploring hot and spicy flavors and dialing up the international flavors. Consumers crave excitement in their everyday foods, and two of the best ways to provide it are through fiery flavors and exotic ingredients. Grab your tongs – it’s time to get tossing!
Spice Up Your Summer
As the Hot Sauce Express continues chugging along, embrace adventurous chilis to tempt and delight your consumers. Salads should always offer bold flavors to round out their satisfying textures and nutritious produce, and spice is ideal for this.
Create a Global Food Story
Consumers want to experience, adapt, and enjoy foods from cultures different than their own. Global cuisines like Korean and Japanese top the list when it comes to consumers’ interest in exciting new sauce flavors, but don’t be afraid to journey around the world for inspiration for your scrumptious salad kits and menu items.
The talented team of food enthusiasts at Giraffe Foods is ready to help you craft tantalizing sauces that will give your products rich flavors and distinct personalities. Let’s dive into some spicy-sassy summer salad dressings and vinaigrettes inspired by global trending flavors.
Delightfully Delicious Summer Salad Dressings
Light & Crispy Japanese Salads
Journey to Japan with a succulent Kani Salad, also known as Kanikama Salad, a regional take on a classic crab salad. Created with shredded crab and crispy cucumber tossed in a Creamy-Spicy Mayonnaise Dressing and topped with toasted breadcrumbs, Kani Salad is light, refreshing, and colorful. Mix it up with a Ponzu Mayo, which blends creamy mayonnaise with Ponzu Sauce, a tart citrus-based sauce reminiscent of a vinaigrette.
Looking for some other Japanese-inspired salads? Consider a Daikon Salad, made with thinly sliced, mild white radishes drizzled with Tart Plum Dressing. Or, try a Spicy Bean Sprout Salad with Asian Sesame Vinaigrette. Nutty, healthy, and absolutely delicious!
Spicy & Nutritious Thai Salads
With versatile flavors that lend themselves to both celebrated street foods and fabulous fine dining, Thai has become one of the most beloved cuisines in North America. It’s also widely adopted because it appeals equally to meat lovers and plant-based foodies. Try a Som Tam Thai Salad with Shrimp, tossing together shredded green papaya, juicy shrimp, grape tomatoes, long beans, Thai basil, and Spicy Thai Salad Dressing. You can’t go wrong with seasonal veggies and plump shrimp rounded out with a zesty sauce. Yum!
In a similar wheelhouse, Pla Goong, also known as Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad, combines mouth-watering shrimp with fresh herbs and veggies, which are drizzled with Chili Tamarind Dressing. Your customers will also enjoy Yum Tua Pu, or Thai Winged Bean Salad, which combines a variety of satisfying ingredients: wing beans, chicken, shrimp, shredded coconut, roasted peanuts, eggs, shallots, and fresh mint leaves. This protein-packed salad is tossed in Yam Dressing made with lime juice, sugar, fish or soy sauce, and bird’s eye chilis, giving the salad a citrus punch and a spicy kick.
Savory & Satisfying Korean Salads
A gorgeous red chili paste that acts as the backbone for spicy-sweet dishes in South Korea, gochujang pairs beautifully with an indulgent salad. Try Korean Chicken Salad with Noodles and Tofu, tossing together sweet potato noodles, tofu, spring onions, and mouth-wateringly juicy chicken thighs with a glaze of Gochujang Sauce. The fiery sauce marries well with the classic chicken, adding sweet and savory spice to this flavor-forward salad.
You could also give a fresh take on another Korean staple: kimchi. Instead of traditional kimchi, which is fermented, go for a take on Geotjeori, or fresh unfermented kimchi. Drizzle baby bok choy with a Kimchi Vinaigrette – it’s both refreshing and spicy! Plus, baby bok choy is up 45% on menus! (Q1 2019 – Q1 2022, Mintel) Or, go for an umami-packed Korean Beef Salad tossed with a bright Citron Dressing. The light, citrusy dressing perks up the meaty salad.
Fresh Fruity Mexican Salads
Delve into the delicious flavors of Mexico for a salad teeming with fresh fruit. Mexican Fruit Salad incorporates hefty chunks of fresh fruit: watermelon, mango, pineapple, papaya, and more. Drizzle with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette to balance that sugary-sweet fructose with sour acid and spicy chili. The citric acid will also prevent browning – it’s a win-win!
Looking for some other Mexican dressings that can shake up your menu? Try a Mexican Street Corn Salad, or Esquites, with Chipotle Ranch Dressing. The sweetness of the corn will pair beautifully with the spicy, savory sauce. Or, top a Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing. Picture crunchy romaine, Roma tomatoes, grilled corn, black beans, shredded cheddar, crushed tortilla chips, and bite-size chunks of chicken breast, all pepped up by that herby, citrusy dressing.
Creamy & Classic American Salads
While global flavors drum up excitement, classic American dishes stoke many consumers’ nostalgia. Take, for example, Waldorf Salad, a time-honored summer staple. This concoction of celery, apples, walnuts, and grapes tossed in Creamy Mayonnaise is perfect for barbeques. Plus, #vintagerecipes are trending with more than 31.3 million views on TikTok! And according to Mintel Global Consumer Research, 73% of U.S. consumers enjoy things that remind them of their past, setting the stage for nostalgic treats to go mainstream. So, why not bring back more beloved favorites – perhaps with an unexpected twist? Could you jazz up that Waldorf Salad with Hot Paprika Mayonnaise? Or how about mixing in roasted chicken and a Curried Yogurt Sauce to add some unexpected Indian flair?
What other American classics could you reintroduce this summer? Try Crab Louie Salad with dreamy Louie Dressing for your deli section, which combines spicy chili sauce and smooth mayo. Or, go with a classic Hawaiian Poké Bowl drizzled with Honey Sesame Dressing. Sweet, nutty, and scrumptious!
Setting the Stage for Summer Sauces
We’re celebrating all things saucy this month as March is National Sauce Month. So, as you peruse surprisingly spicy and globally inspired summer salad dressings, think about all the menu or meal-kit items that could benefit from a fun new sauce, and don’t be afraid to go a little sauce-crazy. Whether it’s a dip, a drizzle, a dressing, a vinaigrette, a marinade, or the sauciest of sauces, indulge in all your favorites during #nationalsaucemonth. And while you’re at it, be sure to subscribe to our monthly Sauce Talk blog posts for more inspiration and insights.