12 Easy Summer Salad Recipes That Use The Season's Best Ingredients
If you'd like to take your greens game up a notch and wow your guests with minimal effort—or just get the kids to eat some farm fresh veggies—these simple salad recipes will do the trick. We're got the classic crowd-pleasers, like summer squash and cobb salads, sweet-and-savory fruit options (watermelon!), plus other fresh takes and recipe upgrades.
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Lemony Crab-and-Squash Salad
Just when it feels like there are no new combinations, this easy dinner salad comes into the picture. It’s a cornucopia of flavors: a sharp mustard vinaigrette, bitter radicchio, rich crab, and tart tomatoes. The eggs add richness and also give the whole thing a refreshed Niçoise salad vibe. It’s light, crispy, fresh, and perfect for warm nights. Shopping tip: It’s worth splurging on nice crab since it’s front-and-center here. Serve with a crisp white wine and if you want to make it more filling, add some fresh, crusty bread.
Get the recipe: Lemony Crab-and-Squash Salad
Grilled Hallmoumi Salad
There are a few reasons why this delicious grilled halloumi cheese salad is going to become your summer dinner fave. First, it’s easy to throw together after work, and still manages to be super filling. Second, it hits all the right flavor notes, from briny olives to spicy garlic and cool, crunchy cucumbers. But, the most important reason to make this salad is to eat grilled halloumi, a firm cheese that can stand the heat of a grill or grill pan. The taste is salty like feta, but you can cut into the planks of crispy, melty cheese with a knife and fork like you would tofu or a portobello mushroom.
Get the recipe: Grilled Halloumi Salad
Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley
Look no further: your go-to summer side dish for every potluck, barbecue, and picnic is here. If you’ve never eaten a raw squash salad before, you’re in for a treat (and there's no need to cook a thing). Tossing the rounds with salt allows them to soften and absorb every bit of flavor. While the vinegar adds the right amount of acidity to pair well with almost any meat, but grilled steak, roasted chicken, or quick-sautéed shrimp are particularly perfect alongside. Topped with a chopped almond dressing, the result is light, flavorful, and perfect for a hot summer evening.
Get the recipe: Summer Squash With Scallions, Chile, and Parsley
Crunchy Chicken Salad With Oregano Vinaigrette
What pairs perfectly with a crispy chicken cutlet? A fresh, green salad that’s dressed in a lemony vinaigrette and showered with cheese. The vinaigrette in this simple recipe might just become a house favorite—the shallots become lightly pickled in the vinegar, and fresh oregano lends sophisticated flair to an everyday dressing. The salad can be adjusted based on the season—try tomatoes and arugula in the summer and roasted squash and kale in the fall. Bitter greens work particularly well, as they balance the rich, fried cutlet.
Get the recipe: Crunchy Chicken Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette
Spring Green Salad with Avocado and Herbs
This simple salad recipe proves that a fresh-tasting hearty plate of greens and mix-ins can be part of a delicious dinner that the whole family will love. The base is romaine lettuce hearts—the crispiest of lettuces—with chopped cucumber, snap peas, and edamame mixed in. Add in chives and mint from the garden, plus pistachios for crunch and it’s pretty much a perfect salad. The dressing's a creamy avocado and yogurt situation with a Caesar-esque twist. If anchovies freak your kiddos out, you can skip them and just season the dressing to taste with salt.
Get the recipe: Spring Green Salad with Avocado and Herbs
Grilled Watermelon and Halloumi Salad With Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette
Watermelon is a great partner to grilled meats, but it’s particularly excellent with the grilled cheese in this stunning summer main dish. Halloumi is no ordinary cheese, however. It’s a semi-hard, unripened cheese that won’t melt when heated, so it can be fried or grilled, as it is in this unique summer salad. For this recipe, it’s important you know how to cut the watermelon so each slice is similarly thick and cooks evenly.
Summer Salad With Tomato Vinaigrette
Ketchup in your vinaigrette? Yes, ketchup in your vinaigrette! You’ll thank us later. Think of it as French dressing’s cute younger sister. Here, it’s paired with a chopped tomato, cucumber, and red onion combination, but it’s surprisingly versatile. The dressing would work well as a quick steak marinade or as a basting sauce for shrimp. Turn this salad into a filling dinner by adding shredded chicken and avocado, or chickpeas and hard-cooked eggs.
Get the recipe: Summer Salad With Tomato Vinaigrette
Ginger-Lime Melon Salad
Watermelon isn’t the only melon that peaks in the summertime. Cantaloupe and honeydew come into their own, with their buttery textures and richly floral flavors, so take advantage of the spoils of melon season with a unique salad. Only a simple coating of lime zest and fresh ginger are needed to make the whole dish coherent. The fruits get to shine in this dish.
Get the Recipe: Ginger-Lime Melon Salad
Spicy Grilled Chicken With Shaved Zucchini Salad
Are you searching for a recipe for a flavorful, healthy chicken dinner? Look no further than this simple, summery number. The Aleppo pepper-rubbed chicken packs just enough heat, and is paired with a lemony-marinated zucchini salad, all of which gets drizzled with a garlic and herb dressing. To make this recipe even more filling, add some grilled bread or pita. Shopping tip: If you can’t find Aleppo pepper, which is imported from Syria, you can use regular chili flakes.
Get the recipe: Spicy Grilled Chicken With Shaved Zucchini Salad
Chicken Salad With Chard, Cabbage, and Pickled Onions
Want a low-maintenance chicken salad minus the mayo? Simply use your broiler to make irresistibly crispy chicken thighs then pair them with quick-pickled onions, green cabbage, and raw chard leaves (think kale that’s easier to chew). It’s quick, it’s easy, and best of all, it’s delicious.
Get the recipe: Chicken Salad With Chard, Cabbage, and Pickled Onions
Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad
Who doesn’t love pasta salad? Salty olives and feta cheese combined with fresh tomatoes, chewy pasta, and tender cubes of roasted eggplant make this the perfect satisfying and healthy lunch or dinner. The longer it sits, the more the flavors meld together, so make extra and eat well all week long.
Get the recipe: Roasted Eggplant and Olive Pasta Salad
Summer Shrimp Salad
Against the heat and kick of jalapeños, watermelon stands sweet and firm. Against buttery avocado, the tart fruit breaks through. But altogether, these ingredients make for a truly special summer salad. What’s more, this whole dish is ready in 30 minutes, so you can get a presentation-worthy dinner on the table for company in a blink when the need arises.
Get the Recipe: Summer Shrimp Salad