Lunchtime is when I pull away from the computer, and blast some music while I fix a simple—and most days healthy—bite like this Summer Berry Spinach Salad before solving the world’s problems.

Summer Berry Spinach Salad | FoodieCrush

Like this problem that’s been bugging me for the past month.

What happened to this year’s song of summer, it’s anthem, the essential addition to the road trip music playlist? Where is 2013’s Carly Rae Jepson and it’s 20 million parodies on YouTube?

Back in the day we had no YouTube, no Pandora, no immediate downloads. We had the radio and it played incessantly, creating an essential mix tape of summer memories that immediately flood the brain once you hear the opening tracks no matter what time of year or where you are in time or location.

There was always a standout song that heralded my days of lifeguarding at the country club—skimming the pool at sunset to REM’s Document—or driving down PCH searching for the stars homes along the shores of Malibu while singing along to Coldplay’s Viva la Vida and looking for any of the cast members of Friends to emerge from Courtney Cox’s house. And who DOESN’T think of Summer Lovin’ Oh now this is fortuitous and takes me back to summers of the late 90’s.

Summer Berry Spinach Salad | FoodieCrush

So as I sit and write this, what comes on Pandora random-style?

“Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want

So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.”

I want to know what the song of summer is, yo.

Okay, the Spice Girls, baby, is another haunt of summer songs, but it’s from the 90’s, yo. Maybe it’s a nod to Will and Kate and baby Georgie, maybe its a Brit summer comeback tour, but somehow I’ve been placed in an online music surge of British 90’s pop, and I can’t say I’m hating one. minute. of. it.

I wasn’t much of a fan of the post-riot grrl quintet in the day, although they were a decent bit of eye candy, like waiting for a bubble gum bubble to explode once it’s been blown up too much.

Instead of the dancey, character themed ladies, I was singing along to summer in my 1979 convertible VW bug with my never ending rotation of lovely lady singers like Annie Lennox, Erasure and Garbage and yes, Madonna. I can still sing every word of Borderline and Ray of Light is one of my all-time favorites. Maybe that’s the British connection since Madonna does indeed think she’s British…a stretch or not?

Summer Berry Spinach Salad | FoodieCrush

While I have hit a few concerts this summer, with the biggie being my Smudge-obsessed One Direction when they rolled through SLC last week—yes, she’s begging to change her name to Mrs. Niall Horen, he’s one of the beloved boys in the idolized boyband—these guys are past their summer prime in my humble opinion. And more importantly, they aren’t chicks.

I may have to go out on a limb with this one and I’m definitely deviating from what I like to listen to on my own, but since the only thing we listen to in the car these days is pop music ala Smudge’s request, I’ll have to settle in to a little Avril Lavigne, a little lady with enough of a past to validate her and lyrics that tout summer love, teen dances, swimming pool antics, heavy eyeliner and princess tiaras and never growing up. That’s what summer anthems are all about, right?

So how does it all tie into this salad? This Summer Berry Spinach Salad has been my summer anthem. And it should be yours too. Make it, jam to it, dance to it. It seriously rocks.

Summer Berry Spinach Salad
Serves: makes one salad
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3 strawberries, sliced
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 1-2 thin slices of red onion
  • 3 ounces white tuna packed in water
  • ¼ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
  • heaping teaspoon of grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves plus more for garnish
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place spinach, strawberries, blueberries, red onion and tuna in a bowl. In a small bowl or a jar with a lid, mix extra virgin olive oil and grainy mustard together. Add rice wine vinegar, sugar, kosher salt and pepper and chopped tarragon leaves and mix well until emulsified. Dress salad and garnish with more whole tarragon leaves if desired.

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