Yummy, cooling summer salads and dressings


Loretta’s Poppy Seed Dressing / Loretta Gillespie

In the hottest months of summer, especially in the South, we learned long ago to serve as much cold food as we could for meals that were often eaten outside at church suppers or at family reunions or just picnics in the park.

Here are some salads and accompanying dressings that will taste fresh and cool after running, walking or just rocking on the porch.

Chill all fruit until just before serving. If you have a clear glass compote or bowl, run it under cold water, then place in the freezer ahead of time. Serve chilled fruit in frosted containers.

You can also pop the cut-up fruit onto skewers to have instant color as shish kabobs. Use some of the same dressings as you'll find in our recipe section below.


Romaine and Mandarin Orange Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

(Recipe by Joni B. on www.Allrecipes.com)


  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 10 cups torn romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 (10 ounce) can mandarin orange segments, drained
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds


  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  2. Place vinegar, sugar, red onion, mustard powder and salt into the bowl of a blender. Cover, and puree on high until smooth. Reduce blender speed to medium-low; slowly pour in the vegetable oil and blend until incorporated and the dressing is creamy. Stir in the poppy seeds and set aside.
  3. To serve, toss the romaine in a large bowl with the crumbled bacon, Mandarin oranges, and enough dressing to moisten. Place onto salad plates and sprinkle with toasted almonds.


Loretta’s Poppy Seed Dressing


  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons onion juice
  • 1 cup salad oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds


  1. In a blender or a food processor mix sugar, salt, mustard and vinegar.
  2. Add onion juice and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add oil slowly, beating or pulsing constantly and continue to beat until thick.
  4. Add poppy seeds and beat/blend until very well mixed.

Stored in refrigerator in an airtight container this will last for two months.

If dressing separates, pour off clear part, then start over by slowly adding clear mixture back into poppy seed mixture.

*If your local grocery does not stock onion juice, make your own. Chop two Vidalia onions or other sweet onions in season, into the bowl of a food processor. Let run on high until it turns to a slurry. From there, just measure and use as you would any liquid. Freeze remaining portion for another use.

Poppy Seed Dressing is especially good on fruit. Other than the ones pictured, it is amazing on pineapple, bananas, oranges and apples.

This recipe originated with Ms. Lynn Fowler. I make four times the original recipe and it lasts all summer. Be sure to store in ‘fridge in an airtight container.


Frozen Pineapple Salad


  • 1 pound miniature marshmallows
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 cups crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries


  1. Mince nuts and cherries.
  2. Add drained pineapple and marshmallows.
  3. Fold in salad dressing.
  4. Stand in refrigerator 10-12 hours.
  5. Remove and fold in whipped cream.
  6. Pour into molds and freeze.

Salad Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  1. Cook together until consistency of white sauce.
  2. Let cool before adding to your salad mixture.
  3. May add food coloring to mixture if desired.

Serves 12-14.


Pink Arctic Frozen Fruit Salad

(From the Decatur Jr. League Cotton Country Cookbook)


  • 1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 8-ounce whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup prepared Dream Whip


  1. Soften the cream cheese.
  2. Blend with the mayonnaise, sugar, cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple and nuts.
  3. Fold in Dream Whip.
  4. Place paper muffin tins and fill with salad mixture. Freeze.

When frozen the treats can be placed in a plastic bag and kept in freezer till ready to use. Serves 8-10.


Pineapple Dressing

(From the Decatur Jr. League Cotton Country Cookbook)


  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel


  1. Beat eggs; add sugar and flour.
  2. Heat pineapple juice and pour over the mixture.
  3. Cook in double broiler until very thick.
  4. Chill.
  5. Fold in whipped cream when ready to serve.

Delicious on salads made with tropical fruits.


Honey Dressing

(From the Decatur Jr. League Cotton Country Cookbook)


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice grated


  1. Beat eggs.
  2. Stir in honey, lemon juice, orange juice and salt.
  3. Cook over low heat until thickened.
  4. Cool.
  5. Fold in whipped cream and lemon peel.
  6. Serve over fresh fruit.

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