Summer Salad Recipes
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The Only 6 Summer Salad Recipes You’ll Ever Need

These summer salad recipes are perfect salads to bring to any picnic, cookout, and dinner party.

Honestly, these are the best ways to showcase the summer’s delicious fresh fruits and veggies.

From fresh tomato caprese salad to watermelon salad, these are my favorite dishes that make me get excited for seasonal salads.

What’s more, they are simple, easy, and effortless to make.

Grab a large bowl to toss your salad and a serving plate to spread your seasonal mix lavishly! 

6 Easy Summer Salad Ideas

Easy summer salad ideas

Let’s get started! 

1. Watermelon Salad

Watermelon summer salad

This watermelon salad is delicious, refreshing, and unapologetically summer.

With strawberries and watermelon, it’s undeniably fruity and sweet, yet it’s a tad savory with feta. 

I also love how the salad is well-balanced with refreshing mint with hydrating cucumber.

With those ingredient combos, every bite of your salad comes with exciting crunch and flavor. 

Best of all, it doesn’t take much to make this easy watermelon salad.

All it takes is fresh produce that’s in the season with a good old EXOO and lemon juice mix. 

I know it’s too simplistic. But trust me, the flavor comes together beautifully after a few tosses. 

Serving size: 8

Time: 15 minutes

Watermelon Salad Recipe

  • 8 cups seedless watermelon, chunks, chilled 
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced, seeds removed
  • 2/3 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 10 strawberries, sliced, chilled 
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 
  2. In a small bowl, make a dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper. 
  3. Add the dressing to the salad bowl and toss until well coated. 

2. Grilled Zucchini Salad 

Grilled Zucchini Salad

One type of salad that screams summer and fits perfectly as a BBQ side dish is grilled veggie salad. 

In particular, this grilled zucchini salad with chickpeas and spinach would be a hit at any cookout, picnic, and backyard grilling. 

It’s filling with chickpeas, nutritious with zucchini and spinach, and savory with goat cheese. 

It’s the epitome of what a healthy summer salad recipe can be in the grilling season. 

There is something about having different shades of greens in a dish. But if you are one to look for colors in a veggie dish, you can also use grilled yellow squash, red pepper, and/or red onions instead of grilled zucchini. 

And that’s one thing I really love about this salad recipe. It’s flexible and hard to mess up. 

You can make a wide variety of substitutions and would still come out as vibrant, delicious, and elegant. 

It’s a crowd-pleaser and hands down, the best way to incorporate grilled veggies into your salad dish.

With chickpeas, this salad is more filling than it looks. 

You can easily make this the whole meal as a lunch or dinner, just the way it is. 

Serves: 4

Time: 10 minutes

Grilled Zucchini Salad Recipe

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, sliced and grilled 
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

Tangy dressing

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 1 garlic cove, pureed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried herb (oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc)
  • Salt and pepper

Garnishing

  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Instructions

  1. On a large deep platter, arrange all the salad ingredients. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, ACV, lemon juice, garlic, dried herb, and salt & pepper. 
  3. Drizzle the tangy dressing and garnish it with cheese crumbles. 
  4. Serve and enjoy!

3. Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

This Italian staple tomato appetizer is one of my all-time favorite summer salads. 

It’s easy, fast, and always a party favorite. 

It’s one salad you can count on any occasion. 

It’s a great salad to serve on your family pasta night and you hear no complaint even from the pickiest eater in the house. 

Alternatively, on a fancy plate, this 3-ingredient dish can look like the most exciting appetizer. 

While it doesn’t take many ingredients to make a Caprese salad, it takes quality to bring out its flavor. 

For the best result, be sure to get fresh, organic Italian basil and mozzarella cheese. 

As for tomatoes, anything you can find in-season locally works great. 

From Green Zerba tomatoes to Brandywine, ripe tomatoes in season are vibrant, colorful, and flavorful. The best spot usually to get your in-season produce is your local farmer’s market. 

Serving size: 4

Time: 10 minutes

Caprese Salad Recipe

  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 large fresh in-season tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 tablespoon balsamic glaze (reduced balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Ground pepper 

Instructions

  1. On a large platter, layer the mozzarella and tomato slices in alternating order. 
  2. Top the chopped mint leaves.
  3. Drizzle a generous amount of balsamic glaze and olive oil. Season it with salt and pepper. 
  4. Serve and enjoy!

4. Pasta Salad

Pasta summer salad

Potato salad has long been the classic summer salad. But that’s not to say, it can’t be replaced with a fresh new dish once in a while. 

Meet arugula pesto pasta salad. It’s a perfect dish that pairs pasta with much-needed greens. 

Instead of coating it with scoops of mayo like how you do with potato salad, it uses homemade pesto. 

If you are looking for summer salad ideas you can enjoy as a lunch, this is the perfect one. 

This can even double as a dinner with the addition of protein like grilled chicken or shrimp. 

The pesto is best made fresh at home using unsalted nuts and fresh Italian basil.

But if you are looking for a bit of convenience, you can use a store-bought pesto for this green pasta salad. 

Serves: 4

Time: 20 minutes

Pasta Salad Recipe

  • 16 oz dried penne pasta,
  • 4 cups fresh arugula 
  • 1 cup peas 
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese 

Pesto Dressing

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh Italian basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon/lime 
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil) 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • salt and pepper 

Instructions

  1. Follow the instructions on the penne package and cook the whole pack. 
  2. In a blender, add all the ingredients in the pesto dressing section from the pine nuts to salt & pepper. Blend until it’s smooth. If it’s too thick, add a drizzle of EVOO. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked penne, arugula, and peas. Add 3-4 spoons of the pesto dressing. Add more if needed. Toss the salad until the pesto spreads evenly. To make it a meal, add shrimp or chicken. 
  4. Serve and enjoy!

5. Arugula Peach Salad

Arugula Peach Salad

Peach’s peak season is usually around July and August. No wonder we start to see juicy peaches everywhere at a farmer’s market this time of the year. 

Peaches not only make a perfect snack but they can also be turned into a beautiful summer salad with a bit of help from burrata cheese and arugula. 

It’s a beautiful side dish that can accompany almost any type of entrees. More importantly, it goes with almost any wine and cocktail. 

It’s one summer salad recipe one you try once, you’ll repeat forever. It’s easy, simple, yet elegant.

This is particularly true if you have a cheese lover in your family. 

As for the dressing, anything balsamic vinegar base would work beautifully. If nothing on hand, you can always drizzle a few tablespoons of balsamic glaze with EVOO. 

For extra crunch, croutons make a nice optional topping.

Serves: 4

Time: 10 minutes

Arugula Peach Salad Recipe 

  • 1 juicy peach, sliced 
  • 4 cups of arugula 
  • 1/4 pound endive, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz burrata cheese 
  • 3 tablespoons of any balsamic base dressing or balsamic glaze and EVOO
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Place burrata cheese in the center of your platter. Arrange arugula and endive around the cheese. 
  2. Top the peach slices and garnish with fresh herbs, if desired. 
  3. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of balsamic glaze and 3 tablespoons of EVOO. 
  4. Season it with salt and pepper. For color, you can dust 1/8 tsp of paprika on top of the cheese. 
  5. Serve with a toasted baguette. 

6. Mexican Grilled Corn Summer Salad 

Mexican Grilled Corn Summer Salad

Taco night happens far more than once a week in my household.

Whether it’s chicken, fish, or all veggies tacos, these no-fuss Mexican dinner recipes have taken over our weekly menus and nobody is complaining! 

The entrees and protein choices of the day change quite frequently.

But one dish that’s becoming more and more staple as a side is this Mexican grilled corn summer salad. 

And to confess, I make this dish all year round. It’s the kind of dish you can’t get enough of. 

Nevertheless, the best time to enjoy this summer salad is obviously the summer, when corn is in season. 

It’s also the time you can find sweet corn in abundance at a relatively cheap price. 

If you are making this any other time of the year, you can also use a frozen bag of corn. 

Serves: 8

Time: 20 minutes

Mexican Grilled Corn Summer Salad 

  • 4 ears of corn, grilled and husked
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mayo
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/3 cup cojita cheese
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Grill all 4 ears of corn and husk. 
  2. In a powerful blender, add mayo, sour cream, paprika, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and salt & pepper. Blend until smooth and mixed. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine the corn, cilantro, chopped red onion, cucumber, and cojita cheese. Pour the dressing and coat evenly. 
  4. Serve and enjoy! 

Final Take

Summer is one season fresh produce is available in abundance. 

It makes me look forward to every year for countless summer salad options it brings. 

From juicy peaches to sweet corn cobs, vibrant tomatoes to dark, rich green arugula, I love everything from the color to the flavors of summer veggies. 

I rounded up 6 of my absolute favorite summer salads. Each one of the dishes incorporates what’s in season and what’s readily available. 

And the best thing is, they are almost effortless to make yet delicious to eat. They are perfect for any picnics, dinner parties, and backyard BBQ. 

Hope you try these recipes over the summer with fresh produce in your area!

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