Learn how to make summer berry salad! This delicious mixed berry salad makes a fabulous summer meal that is keto, low carb, and gluten free. When it’s berry season, take advantage of all of the ripe strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries and make this summer berry salad recipe. You’ll love how the flavors come together when we mix lots of types of berries!
As my namesake season comes to a close, I’m all about eating as many summer recipes as I can. So of course, I’ve been stuffing myself with this summer salad with berries. YUM
This is a summer berry salad with chicken, but you can make a vegetarian or vegan version if you prefer. Check out the FAQs section below to see how it’s done.
BTW, when I say this is a berry summertime salad, I am serious. There are many kinds of berries here, including:
- Raspberry (in the vinaigrette dressing)
- … and Avocado!
That’s right; avocados botanically count as a berry. And if you use black pepper in the raspberry vinaigrette, that is a berry too. The orange juice we’ll squeeze on the avocado comes from oranges (obviously), which are also berries!
So, is just about everything in this summer salad a berry? Not quite! The blueberries, in fact, are true berries. However, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries aren’t considered berries (at least botanically).
Confused? Ah, no worries.
Just kick back, grab a glass of sugar-free lemonade, and enjoy this berry chicken salad recipe. No matter how many berries it does (or doesn’t) technically have, I think you’ll find it’s quite tasty. Cheers to the fresh and healthy taste of summer!
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of summer berry salad has 591 calories, 24.4 grams net carbs, and 48.6 grams protein. It’s gluten free, and a good fit for low carb and keto diets.
How does my salad stack up nutritionally to summer berry salads made in restaurants? Here is some nutrition information for my berry summer salad compared to fast food and takeout. Please note that this information is subject to change with restaurant menu updates:
|Salad||Calories||Net Carbs (g)||Protein (g)|
|My Summer Berry Salad||591||24.4||48.6|
|Wendy’s Summer Strawberry Salad*||450||20||41|
|BeefaRoo Summerberry Salad||662||15||24|
|Bob Evans Summer Berry Salad||640||N/A||N/A|
What are the benefits of making summer mixed berry salad? Salads are usually considered good for you, but the chopping can be so much work! However, there are some serious benefits to this recipe that make the effort worth it:
- No cook summer meal: It’s true that you need to slice strawberries and chop avocado for this recipe. However, this salad may take less time to make than other meals because there is no cooking! A chilled salad with protein is the perfect dinner for hot summer nights, IMVHO.
- Not too much chopping: The bagged salad mix and most of the berries in this recipe need no chopping. Compared to other salad recipes, this berry salad is fairly low effort.
- Nutritious: The berries in this recipe are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and also anthocyanins. These are plant pigments that are non-essential in the diet, but linked to lower risk of certain chronic diseases.
- Gluten Free Summer Berry Salad: This summer berry salad is naturally gluten free, great for those with celiac disease and NCGS.
- Keto Summer Berry Salad: This salad is packed with low carb berries and non-starchy vegetables. The carb count on this one is so low, it should be compatible with most very low carb diets.
- Perfect for summer holidays: The vibrant colors in this salad makes it a festive dish for summer holidays. If you’re in the U.S., this includes the Fourth of July. Canadians may enjoy the bright strawberries and red dressing for Canada Day.
- Picky eater approved: I can't guarantee that everyone will like everything. However, berries tend to be a fruit that even picky eaters enjoy. (You won’t know whether they’ll like this one unless you make it!)
Here’s what you need to make summer berry salad:
- Spring mix (or your favorite bagged salad blend)
- Chopped basil
- Sliced strawberries
- Sliced avocado
- Freshly squeezed orange juice
- Feta cheese crumbles
- Toasted sunflower seeds
- Grilled chicken breast
Use your leftover cooked chicken breast in this recipe. If you don’t have chicken leftover from your summer grilling adventures, leftover rotisserie chicken works too.
I’m also providing a recipe for homemade raspberry vinaigrette to go on your berry salad. Here’s what you need to make the berry salad dressing:
- A small chopped shallot
- White wine vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
To make summer mixed berry salad, you need a good knife, food processor, and some salad bowls. The food processor is used to blend the berry dressing. These are my favorite salad containers; they’re large and come with a separate lidded container for dressing.
🔪 How to Make Summer Berry Salad
Start by making the raspberry dressing. Simply blend the raspberries, shallot, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper together until smooth.
Refrigerate the dressing until serving time. This allows the flavors in the dressing to meld.
Now it’s time to assemble the salads. Slice the avocado and sprinkle it with orange juice. (This will help prevent browning.) Slice the strawberries and the grilled chicken breast as well.
To make your salads, divide the spring mix, microgreens, and basil between four bowls. Divide the berries, avocado, grilled chicken, and sunflower seeds between the salad bowls. Top the bowls with feta.
Drizzle the berry vinaigrette on your salads right before serving. Enjoy!
Leftover salad can be stored in covered containers the refrigerator for 1-3 days. Keep the raspberry vinaigrette separate until serving time to keep your salad from getting soggy.
Unfortunately, fresh berries don’t last long in the fridge. Fresh raspberries, in particular, often stay fresh for only 1-2 days. If your berries are not very, very fresh, they may get moldy if you use this as a meal prep.
Another issue is the cut avocado can become discolored if allowed to sit for a few days. Sprinkling orange or lemon juice can help, but the avocado will still brown over time.
Instead of using this summer salad as a lunch meal prep, consider trying it for a light family dinner. Berries tend to be a food that even picky young children enjoy, and this berry salad is packed with them!
If you don’t like one or more of the ingredients in this summer berry salad, change things up! This strawberry salad is an adaptable recipe that can be altered to fit your taste buds. Up next are some suggestions for substitutions.
Swap out the spring mix for...
- Baby spinach
- Baby kale
- Romaine lettuce
- Iceberg lettuce
Instead of some of the berries, try these fruits...
- Chopped peaches
- Cape gooseberries
Here are some toppings you can use in place of sunflower seeds...
- Maple walnuts
- Sliced almonds
Swap out the feta for...
- Goat cheese (chevre)
- Blue cheese
Don’t want the chicken? Try...
- Pulled pork
Instead of raspberry vinaigrette, how about one of these?
- Champagne vinaigrette
- Lime vinaigrette
- Balsamic vinaigrette
If you really wanted to go in a different direction, you could always make a fruit salad with summer berries. Fruit salads are wonderful with fresh chopped mint, and perhaps a drizzle of honey if you’re feeling indulgent.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). If I wanted to lower the calories on this one, I would cut the amount of sunflower seeds in half (to ¼ cup, or 1T per salad). Another strategy would be to use fat-free feta. For higher energy, you could add a side of bread or crackers and use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
Fruits (including the low-carb fruit options) are high in volume and low in calories. They have fiber and water that provides bulk to low-calorie meals. Through the years, including lots of fresh fruit in my diet has helped me to lose weight and to maintain the loss.
Most of the fruits we refer to as berries do fit well into low-carb plans. The downside to fresh berries is that they spoil easily and tend to be expensive.
Take advantage of local fruit when it is in season. It will likely be fresher, and may save you some money as well.
My salad has more protein, a wider variety of berries, and more leafy greens than most takeout salads. Often, a summer berry salad from a restaurant will get you a strawberry salad without other berries. This recipe offers a rainbow of berries to maximize the variety of phytonutrients you’re getting.
That said, the “summer berry salads” offered by fast food chains do tend to be decent choices. If you don’t have time to make your own, they can help you get produce and lean protein into your diet. I think you’ll find they’ll keep you full for far fewer calories than a burger and fries.
Wendy’s Summer Strawberry Chicken Salad has 360 calories without dressing, and 450 calories with one packet of champagne vinaigrette. The ingredients of this salad are strawberries, greens, chicken, cheese, bacon, and almonds. I often choose this one when I’m traveling during the summer and we stop at Wendy’s.
To make vegan summer berry salad, swap out the chicken for your favorite plant-based protein. Seasoned and crumbled silken tofu can make a nice substitute for feta cheese. The berry vinaigrette salad dressing is naturally vegan!
👩🏻🍳 More Healthy Salad Recipes
Want more healthy recipes for salad? You may enjoy trying these next:
- Orange Chicken Salad with Strawberries
- Keto Cobb Salad
- Canned Salmon Salad No Mayo (Keto)
- Keto Greek Salad
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Summer Berry Salad (Gluten Free, Low Carb, Keto)
- 10 ounces spring lettuce mix (283 grams)
- ½ cup microgreens
- ¼ cup basil, finely chopped
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 6 ounces blackberries (170 grams)
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 medium avocado, sliced
- 1 tablespoon orange juice (fresh squeezed)
- 4 ounces feta, crumbled (113 grams)
- ½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted (toasting them a few minutes in a dry skillet really increases their flavor)
- 1 lb grilled chicken breast (454 grams; seasoned however you would like; leftover chicken is perfect here)
For the summer berry salad dressing:
- 6 ounces raspberries (170 grams)
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Put all of the ingredients for the raspberry vinaigrette in a food processor and blend. Refrigerate (allowing flavors to meld) while you assemble the salads.
- Slice the avocado and sprinkle it with the orange juice to help prevent browning.
- Slice the strawberries and grilled chicken breast.
- Divide the spring lettuce mix between four large bowls. Top each with an equal amount of basil and microgreens.
- Divide the strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, avocado, grilled chicken, and sunflower seeds between the salad bowls. Top with the feta.
- Drizzle the raspberry vinaigrette on right before serving. Enjoy!
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). If I wanted to lower the calories on this one, I would cut the amount of sunflower seeds in half (to ¼ cup, or 1T per salad). Another strategy would be to use fat-free feta. For higher energy, you could add a side of bread or crackers and use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Fruits (including the low-carb fruit options) are high in volume and low in calories. They have fiber and water that provides bulk to low-calorie meals. Through the years, including lots of fresh fruit in my diet has helped me to lose weight and to maintain the loss. Most of the fruits we refer to as berries do fit well into low-carb plans. The downside to fresh berries is that they spoil easily and tend to be expensive. Take advantage of local fruit when it is in season. It will likely be fresher, and may save you some money as well. My salad has more protein, a wider variety of berries, and more leafy greens than most takeout salads. Often, a summer berry salad from a restaurant will get you a strawberry salad without other berries. This recipe offers a rainbow of berries to maximize the variety of phytonutrients you’re getting. That said, the “summer berry salads” offered by fast food chains do tend to be decent choices. If you don’t have time to make your own, they can help you get produce and lean protein into your diet. I think you’ll find they’ll keep you full for far fewer calories than a burger and fries. Nutrition information is for one serving of summer berry salad with dressing.