Salads That Are Perfect To Make In The Summer

Our favorite meals to dig into in the summer? Salads. Light, quick, and easy, they require minimal time over a hot stove or in front of the oven. They're also easy to serve out on the patio or bring on a picnic to take full advantage of the sunshine, warm weather, and abundantly fresh ingredients.

Of course, a salad is far more than a jumble of greens and a dressing. Salads can be hearty and filling, boasting lovely contrasts in flavors, colors, and textures. And that's doubly true when you've got the bounty of summer produce at your disposal. Far from being forgotten, these salads can be true stars of any meal.

Whether you're looking for a side dish to serve at your cookout or pot luck or a main dish salad that combines protein, fat, and carbs for a filling and satisfying meal on its own, we've got the recipes for you. These salads pair seasonal ingredients with pantry staples, all with the goal of helping you concoct a simple, delicious meal that won't ever feel like an afterthought.

A délicieux salad from Nice

In the south of France, Niçoise salad is a summertime fave, with its combo of tuna, hard-boiled eggs, briny olives, tomatoes, potatoes, and green beans all piled atop a bed of crisp, fresh lettuce. The panoply of tasty ingredients is dressed with a simple lemon vinaigrette made from olive oil (a flavorful extra virgin olive oil would be excellent here) and lemon juice.  Serve with a hearty French sourdough or baguette and a round of protein-rich goat cheese. This is the ideal festival lunch or dinner.

Greek salad is healthy and delightful

This healthy salad will take you on a trip to the Greek isles without the need for buying tickets, packing, or hours spent on an international airline flight. Made with crisp iceberg lettuce, cucumber, red onion, tomato, and olives, this Greek salad is rich in color, texture, and flavor. A generous sprinkle of funky feta cheese and a slightly creamy dressing made with garlic, fresh lemon juice, and a touch of oregano brings everything together nicely.

Cobb salad is a classic for a reason

If you're on the lookout for a main dish salad that won't disappoint, Cobb salad has remained a resolute summer stalwart for a reason. Made with a combo of chicken, bacon, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and blue cheese scattered atop a bed of romaine, it boasts the perfect combo of protein, fat, and fiber to make this salad filling and hearty. Ranch dressing finishes things off nicely. Consider making the dressing yourself to elevate this salad to gourmet status.

Tuna salad makes lunch a snap

In summer, we always have a container of tuna salad in the fridge for a quick and easy lunch. Serve a scoop over a bed of lettuce, on toast, or wrapped in a tortilla for the easiest lunch ever. You can even eat it with some veggie sticks of celery and carrot as a healthy snack that doesn't skimp on flavor. This recipe is seasoned with minced celery, carrot, and onion for texture and a touch of delightful vegetal sweetness. Sprinkle some fresh dill over the top to make the flavors really pop.

Caesar salad fit for an emperor

Is there anything more satisfying than a simple Caesar salad? Crisp romaine topped with creamy dressing and crunchy croutons — there's a reason it's still a classic after all these years. 

In this version of the steakhouse staple, cherry tomatoes and raspberries (yep, you read that right!) join the base ingredients for a pop of color and delightfully tart flavor. Serve it topped with grilled chicken or shrimp to turn it into a filling main meal.

Fresh, herby tabbouleh is a lovely Mediterranean side

Mediterranean tabbouleh combines bulgur wheat and fresh herbs for a light salad that's filling and flavorful. With tomatoes, green onions, cucumber, and a refreshing combo of mint and parsley, it's the ideal side dish for grilled chicken or fish or even for homemade falafel. It can also be served with hummus and baba ghanoush as part of a mezze assortment. Sprinkle a touch of feta on top for even more flavor.

Potato salad with a twist

Summertime picnics or cookouts wouldn't be complete without potato salad, but this recipe has a punch of extra flavor. With hard-boiled egg whites and a dressing made by emulsifying creamy boiled egg yolks into mustard and mayo, it's the perfect mashup of potato salad and deviled eggs — two potluck classics for the price of one! Use smoked paprika to add even more depth to this already flavorful potato salad.

A salad of simple summer produce

This salad pairs two summery veggies at the peak of perfection for one phenomenal side dish. Ripe tomatoes and cucumbers are married with the piquancy of red onion and a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh herbs. It's the ideal salad to serve alongside your favorite grilled meats, and a slice of crusty bread is a welcome accompaniment to soak up all that flavorful dressing.

A salad from an Italian island paradise

Just five ingredients unite in the recipe for a classic Caprese salad — a summertime staple from the Italian island of Capri. Slices of mozzarella and seasonal summer tomatoes are joined by leaves of fresh, fragrant basil. A drizzle of high-quality olive oil and slightly sweet balsamic finish things off with flair and flavor.

Since this salad is so simple, it's paramount to choose the very best produce available to you. Be sure to select richly flavored summer tomatoes and it will not disappoint.

Avocado toast is so last year

Creamy avocado dresses up pretty much anything you pair it with, from toast to crispy bacon to tortilla chips. In this salad, it's married with fresh garden tomatoes and corn for a summery salad showing off produce at the peak of perfection. Slices of red onion and a drizzle of rich balsamic vinegar round things off nicely. Sprinkle with fresh parsley for a final flair and pop of bright green color.

Savory strawberries in a salad? Trust us

No, this isn't a fruit salad, but it does feature a special guest from the dessert menu: strawberries. In this salad recipe, the seasonal summer favorite joins earthy baby greens (try spinach or peppery arugula for the best contrast). Topped with zingy feta cheese and sunflower seeds for crunch, the salad offers an incredible interplay of flavors and textures. A honey-spiked balsamic vinaigrette effortlessly concludes this cooperation between savory and sweet.