While summer is not officially here quite yet, it is fast approaching. On hot days, salads can be a satisfying lunch or accompany a light dinner on the deck. Here are an assortment of salad recipes. The first three are from the Gooseberry Patch “5 Ingredients or Less” cookbook.

Chunky Tomato-Avocado Salad

1 avocado, pitted and cubed

3 plum tomatoes, chopped

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1/4 cup chopped sweet onion

2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice

Gently stir ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Makes 4 servings.

Island Chicken Salad

10-oz. can white chicken, drained

8-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

2 stalks celery, diced

8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients together until well blended and chill before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Summertime Pasta Salad

8-oz. package tri-colored rotini, cooked

1 cucumber, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

6-8 mini carrots, chopped

8-oz. bottle Italian salad dressing

Drain pasta after cooking and rinse in cold water. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Serves 4.

Reporter Robin Fish’s stepmom made this salad, which he describes as delicious.

Crunchy Salad

1 cup grated carrots

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip dressing (or 1/4 cup of each)

2 Tbsp. milk

1 cup shrimp, chicken or turkey

Mix Miracle Whip and/or mayo with milk. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and add to the milk mixture. Right before serving, add 1 cup cashews and 1 cup shoestring potatoes. Serves 6.

This recipe from allrecipes.com is best if prepared at least 2 hours before serving.

Bodacious Broccoli Salad

8 slices bacon

2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped

1-1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 large red onion, chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/8 cup white sugar

2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. salt

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and crumble.

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, cheese, bacon and onion.

Prepare the dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the red wine vinegar, sugar, pepper, salt, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Combine dressing with salad. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

The dressing is what makes this fruit salad from allrecipes.com special.

Perfect Summer Fruit Salad

2/3 cup fresh orange juice

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp. grated orange zest

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups cubed fresh pineapple

2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced

3 bananas, sliced

2 oranges, peeled and sectioned

1 cup seedless grapes

2 cups blueberries

Bring orange juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, orange zest and lemon zest to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.

Layer the fruit in a large, clear glass bowl in this order: pineapple, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bananas, oranges, grapes, and blueberries. Pour the cooled sauce over the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com and they may appear in a future issue.