Our Favorite Summer Salads
Salads are summertime favorites for a reason: After spending a hot day in the sun, sitting down to light, bright fare just sounds more appealing than tucking into a hot, heavy meal. And with a wide array of fruits and vegetables ripening during the warmer months, you'll look forward to a salad that's simply bursting with fresh, mouthwatering ingredients. Whether you chose to pair your seasonal produce with meats and cheese or serve a chopped mix of your favorites, there's a way to make a summertime salad that'll appeal to everyone at the table. From light and tangy to protein-packed and filling, we're sharing some of our favorite salad recipes for summer here.
In-season fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, and peaches make for sweet additions to a number of dishes. While there's no denying that cold, juicy chunks of watermelon is the ultimate summer snack, don't forget how well it pairs with other fresh ingredients. We love it as part of a cold salad with sweet and tangy oranges and feta cheese. Put these ingredients together and you'll make the Watermelon, Orange, and Feta Salad that's pictured here. Want to use all of the peaches you picked in a creative way? While a cobbler would be delicious, serve something unexpected. Our Watercress, Endive, and Grilled Peach Salad is a great option, and it makes for a bright, delicious appetizer. The peaches' sweetness reaches new heights when grilled, while Bocconcini, or small balls of fresh mozzarella, incorporate a richness to the dish. Summer is also the height of tomato season, and our juicy Tomato Beet Salad puts the fresh produce on full display.
But summer salads aren't just appetizers. With the right protein, a salad can serve as a main dish, too. Our Asparagus, Spinach, and Crisped-Prosciutto Salad, which combines the season's ripe produce with briny prosciutto and a tangy buttermilk and mayonnaise dressing, is sure to become a family favorite. Another option is the Leftover Salade Nicoise. A mixture of protein and vegetables, this salad features eggs, salmon, shrimp, chorizo, and anchovies for a powerhouse meal. For the pescatarians among us, try the Poached Shrimp with Honeydew, Radishes, Jicama, and Scallions which touts tangy lemon, salty fish sauce, and black pepper as the dressing.
Ahead, the most incredible summer salads to serve for lunch or dinner throughout the warm-weather season.
Asparagus, Spinach, and Crisped-Prosciutto Salad
Thinly sliced prosciutto, crisped in the oven, keeps this spinach salad light while preserving the salty pop of flavor and the crunch of bacon—everyone's favorite add-in. Filled with early summer's best (peas, spinach, asparagus, baby potatoes, tarragon) and drizzled with buttermilk dressing, it'll be an instant hit.
Ruby-red roasted beets and an array of heirloom tomatoes make a dazzling summer salad that may just steal the show away from the main course.
Cranberry Bean, Dandelion Green, and Toasted-Cornbread Salad
This treasure trove of a salad features a few unexpected gems. Cranberry beans, velvety with a mild chestnut flavor, contrast beautifully with peppery basil. Sweetness from toasted-cornbread croutons and a little honey in the dressing tame the boldness of the dandelion greens.
Salmon Salad with Parsley and Capers
A beautifully poached piece of salmon, clean tasting and light, is a terrific summer meal when combined with capers, quick-pickled red onions, and lots of fresh parsley.
Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta
A generous dollop of creamy ricotta cheese on top of each serving makes this panzanella salad substantial enough to enjoy as a vegetarian main course.
Green Salad with Pickled-Shallot Vinaigrette
This simple and classic summer salad comes together in only 20 minutes. It makes a delicious side, but you could also add some seasoned protein like steak or chicken for a mouthwatering main.
Shaved-Squash Salad with Tomatoes, Zucchini Blossoms and Ricotta
If you can't find the squashes here, try small zucchini and slice them crosswise. Squash blossoms can be replaced with a leafy green such as spinach.
New Greek Salad
All the familiar components—cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, and slices of feta—of the summer salad dinner classic remain in this updated version, along with fried Kalamata olives and golden croutons made from olive bread.
Grilled Salmon Summer Salad
While a little more effort goes into preparing this summer salad, the taste is definitely worth it, and it still comes together in one hour. Packed with salmon, eggs, and fresh vegetables, it can easily be served for dinner.
Leftover Salade Nicoise
This salad is made from leftover salmon or shrimp, and whatever raw, grilled, or blanched vegetables you have on hand. The beauty is, it doesn't matter if you have two shrimp or 10, or half an avocado or two. Use what you have—the more varied it is in color and texture, the more impressive it will look.
Tomato and Avocado Salad
Make an elegant and memorable salad by pairing buttery avocado with juicy multicolored tomatoes. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper is all the seasoning this easy salad needs. Serve with grilled steak or chicken for a delicious summer meal.
Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad
Crumbled bacon, feta cheese, sliced tomato, and avocado make this chicken cobb salad hearty and satisfying. Use leftover grilled chicken for this salad, or pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home for a quick dinner.
Tomato, Corn, and Avocado Salad
The sweet crunch of raw corn combined with juicy tomatoes and buttery avocado makes for a colorful riot of flavors and textures in this summer salad. Dress the salad with lime juice and, if you like, toss in some fresh basil or cilantro, too.
Cucumber, Cantaloupe, and Squash Salad
Use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline to slice thin ribbons of cantaloupe, cucumber, and yellow summer squash for this refreshing and colorful salad. Just before serving, drizzle with yogurt-lime dressing.
Eggplant, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad
Add grilled eggplant to the classic caprese salad of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil for a summer vegetable extravaganza.
Roasted Golden Beet, Avocado, and Watercress Salad
Roasted golden beets ground this delicate summer salad, while a crumbled soft-ripened goat cheese, such as Humboldt Fog, provides a hit of tang and freshness. While avocado adds richness, radishes and watercress impart crunch and a peppery punch.
Poached Shrimp with Honeydew, Radishes, and Jicama
Tangy lemon, salty fish sauce, and black pepper form the dressing for this refreshing main-course salad.
Grilled Steak and Summer Vegetable Salad
The hanger steak and fresh summer vegetables in this salad are infused with a rosemary-and-garlic-scented herb oil you make right on the grill. Balsamic vinegar and honey are then whisked into the oil to make a vinaigrette for the salad.
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese
Toss warm roasted zucchini, carrots, and onions in a light vinaigrette with Boston lettuce and goat cheese. This salad is endlessly flexible: Add bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, or any other vegetables you have on hand.
Zucchini and Chicken Salad
Marinate thinly sliced raw zucchini in olive oil and lemon juice while you pan-sear boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Toss the zucchini and sliced chicken with fresh spinach, red onion, Parmesan cheese, pecans, and mint to complete this satisfying main-dish salad.
Watercress, Endive, and Grilled Peach Salad
The sweetness of grilled peaches is a wonderful complement to peppery watercress and slightly bitter Belgian endive. Bocconcini (miniature balls of fresh mozzarella) add satisfying richness to this creative summer salad.
Barley Salad with Chicken and Corn
Chewy, fiber-rich barley, shredded chicken breast, and an array of summer vegetables make for a light but satisfying main-course salad.
Raw Corn and Zucchini Salad
Season sweet, crunchy raw corn and thinly sliced zucchini with lime juice, olive oil, and fresh cilantro to make this refreshing salad.
Chicken Tostada Salad
To make these Mexican-inspired chicken salad, melt Monterey Jack cheese on oven-crisped corn tortillas before topping with a chili-powder-seasoned chicken and red onion mixture. Top each chicken tostada salad with your choice of garnishes, such as diced avocado, chopped tomato, fresh cilantro, or salsa.