Not even the meatiest-meat-eater out there can say no to these summer salad recipes. They’re bright, fresh, fun, and full of summer favorites.
Even I have to admit that I don’t always opt for a salad, and when I do, I need a lot of extras!
I’m talking about eggs, cheese, nuts, fruits, and a really tasty dressing.
Well, this list of 25 summer salad recipes has all that and then some.
From something quick and elegant, like a corn salad, to something completely out of the box (Hello, strawberry pretzel salad! ), I know there’s something for everyone.
And can I tell you a secret? A few of these use the term “salad” a little liberally, but I’m here for it! Who am I to argue, right?
Being a big fan of salty-sweet foods, I knew I’d love this simple summer salad right away.
Not only does watermelon add amazing texture, moisture, and sweetness, but it’s so pretty to boot.
I love how it complements the crunchy cucumber and pairs perfectly with the creamy feta.
When it comes to macaroni salad, more is more! I like lots of dressing and plenty of extras to add flavor and texture to the mix.
This fantastic little dish has elbow pasta, hard-boiled eggs, red peppers, celery, onion, and pickle relish. It’s crunchy, sweet, salty, and impossible to resist.
Add to that a tangy dressing made from mayo, yellow mustard, sugar, and vinegar, and you’ll have a winner on your hands.
I actually use this dressing on my potato salad, too!
If I had to eat one salad for the rest of my life, it would be a cobb salad.
The ingredients are made for each other, and they leave even the pickiest of eaters reaching for more.
Sorry to my vegan friends, but you can’t make this without boil eggs and bacon. They’re the backbone of the whole dish!
Not to mention, the chicken and blue cheese (or I use feta when it’s all I have) are to die for.
Once I have it all chopped and tossed, I like to scatter over some homemade everything seasoning and chopped scallions.
It wasn’t until I started traveling that I realized you don’t need to add lettuce to make a salad.
This simple recipe is kind of like a carrot-only slaw, but it’s the dressing that gives it the wow-factor.
It might not sound like a lot – dijon mustard, lemon juice, honey, vegetable oil, olive oil, salt, and pepper – but it’s all you’ll need for a quick, sweet, tangy dressing.
And how amazing does that bright orange look on the plate?
Here’s another fabulous salad that is bright, crunchy, super filling, and insanely good.
Broccoli is one of my go-to veggies, be it roasted, shredded, boiled, or raw. I just love the stuff, and this salad was a no-brainer for me.
If you like it a little more tender, feel free to blanch the broccoli. Or, if you want to use it as a whole meal, try tossing in some leftover rotisserie chicken.
This corn salad is one of the sunniest on the list. You just can’t beat corn for adding some fantastic color to your plate.
The combination of mild cucumbers, peppery red onion, and sweet tomatoes all work to enhance the sweetness in the corn, making every bite drool-worthy.
If you want to bulk it out a little more, try adding a can of rinsed chickpeas. They’ll add protein, too!
I love this salad for two reasons: it’s perfectly sweet without being too full of sugar, and because it’s called a salad, I don’t feel guilty about having a second bowl.
Full disclosure: yes, this does have Cool Whip and mini-marshmallows inside. BUT, it’s also full of fruit!
Keep it classic with oranges, pineapples, and shredded coconut, or go a little bananas (see what I did there?) with grapes, apples, peaches, and, you guessed it, chopped bananas.
When I’m in a rush, this is the salad I choose. I always have peppers, red onion, and cucumber on hand.
And who doesn’t have a can of black olives in their pantry right now?
One thing to keep in mind; the dressing can be quite sharp, so you’ll really need the feta to balance it out.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to keep it vegan, they do make a vegan feta substitute. Or, try adding some extra avocado for creaminess.
You might not think you need a recipe for fruit salad, but did you know that there’s one easy way to make yours even better?
It’s all about the sauce. I used to add a splash of orange juice to mine, hoping it would be enough to keep things fresh and sweet. But this is something else.
Using orange juice, orange zest, lemon juice, lemon zest, and honey, you’ll see how that touch of sweetness enhances the fruity flavors and makes the whole bowl shine – literally!
This salad packs a punch. Between the zesty vinaigrette, onions, artichokes, pepperoncini, and olives, it’s not for the faint at heart.
You’ll be lightly pickling the red onions for this recipe, giving them a softer texture and a bit of tang. Feel free to skip that step and throw them in raw if you like that.
I really enjoy the crunch and peppery texture you get from red onions, but you could even use scallion instead for something milder.
If you only ever make one chicken salad again, please make it this one! Trust me: your taste buds are going to thank me.
Chicken salad can be kind of bland, and I’ve had some pretty disappointing sandwiches in the past.
But with this recipe, there’s just no way of going wrong.
Juicy chicken, apples, grapes, raisins, walnuts, and a creamy orange dressing make this something so special.
If you’re not a massive fan of orange juice, try using mango juice instead.
I’ve used a can of sliced mangoes in the past, using the syrup for the dressing, and chopped the fruit for the salad. It’s so good!
No Caprese salad is complete without balsamic dressing. It’s like a margarita without the tequila!
But balsamic is known to be quite strong, and in some cases, it can be overpowering.
That’s what this recipe gets so right.
Instead of tossing your ingredients with the balsamic, mix it all together with a heavenly garlic-herb vinaigrette, and then finish with the balsamic over the top.
A little goes a long way, after all.
If you come to a BBQ at my house, expect to see at least two different potato salads on the table.
As much as I love a creamy, classic dish, I just adore this German version.
Served warm or cold, this salad has a light dressing made using mustard and vinegar.
If you want it to be really authentic, try using bacon grease instead of olive oil.
I also add roasted red peppers to my version. The tangy dressing pairs perfectly with them!
This salad is an instant show-stopper, and it’s big, bold, and bursting with incredibly complex flavors. It’s not just lettuce and tomato, oh no!
It’s full of corn, tomatoes, peaches, chickpeas, and bread. Yes, bread!
You can toast your bread if you want that great texture, but if you leave it fresh, it will soak up the dressing so much better.
I’ve served this with everything from burgers to chicken. But my favorite has to be adding roasted sausage into the bowl.
If you read the Ambrosia salad recipe and think it’s a little too healthy, I have you covered.
This fluff salad is creamy, sweet, and full of mini-marshmallows and pineapple.
Where the Ambrosia salad is quite light, this is much thicker, using cream cheese and coconut pudding to create a silky smooth faux-cheesecake finish.
Grapes are already nature’s candy, and I know they won’t last long in my house.
But this grape salad is too good to be true.
Between the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla, this is more or less a no-bake cheesecake pudding with grapes and pecans. Yum!
This is such an easy recipe to whip up, and you can easily swap out the grapes for other fruits.
If using berries, don’t make it up too far ahead, as the juices will seep out and streak in the cream.
I can’t decide my favorite part of this salad: the blueberries, the creamy dressing, or the sugared almonds.
If you’ve never had creamy balsamic before, you’re in for a real treat. It has a much more mellow flavor but is still bursting with tang.
Though the sugared almonds are truly a delight here, you can always just throw over some chopped nuts instead to save on prep time.
Like with the corn salad, this simple dish is such a simple way to add some fabulous color to your plate.
When they’re fresh, peas have such a fantastic sweet flavor, and when you mix in the creamy dressing, bacon, and cheese, they’re that much better.
No fresh peas? No sweat! Frozen will work just as well. Just be sure to allow them to thaw and drain away any excess liquid.
I’m pretty sure someone made this by mistake. No doubt they were going for an Ambrosia salad and accidentally picked up pistachio pudding.
Whatever happened, this is such a fun dessert.
Pistachios are such an underrated nut, and you don’t often see the pudding used.
But in here, it’s the perfect subtle nutty flavor and adds wonderful pastel green to boot.
As with the above recipes, this has pineapples and mini-marshmallows inside, and you can make this your own however you choose.
I tend to go for chopped nuts or other ingredients that will give a bit of crunch.
I mean, if you’re making a summer peach salad with avocado and toasted almonds, why wouldn’t you add in goat cheese, too?!
Seriously, the title is long, but each ingredient plays its part to perfection.
Sweet and tender summer peaches are the star of this show, so be sure to get them when they’re ripe.
I like to dice my avocado relatively small; that way, you’ll get a little bit in every bite.
And since the first two ingredients are quite soft, you really need the toasted almonds to add some bite.
Say what you want about Applebee’s, but it popular for a reason. It might not be fine dining, but I’ve never had a bad meal there.
And you can’t beat those drink deals!
As for this salad, how can you go wrong with chicken, crunchy noodles, and a creamy, sweet dressing?
If you’ve never had a Santa Fe salad, let me fill you in.
It’s a tasty mix of chicken, avocado, black beans, corn, and a honey-lime and garlic avocado dressing that you’ll want to put on everything.
I love the Tex-Mex feel you get from this, and if you like things spicy, try adding some jalapeños into the dressing.
Alternatively, you could always use spicy chips in place of crispy tortilla strips.
When they’re in season, I always make a beeline for the fresh tomatoes at the farmer’s market.
I get them in every shape, size, and color I can find and put them in everything.
But this sensational salad is, hands-down, my favorite way to celebrate the humble tomato.
Using a selection, you’ll get so many amazing flavors, all from the same fruit.
Cherry tomatoes are sweeter, and full red tomatoes are generally quite juicy. Whatever you can find, just go nuts!
Remember what I said about some of these recipes using the term “salad” kind of loosely?
Well, I have no idea how this got its name, but I’m not complaining.
Honestly, it’s much more of a no-bake cheesecake will a crunchy, salty base and strawberry top… but I prefer to think of it as salad, thank you.
The sliced strawberries are so impressive on here, but you could use raspberries or any mix of berries.
Or, go another direction and use pineapple. Why not?
I’ve been adding thinly-sliced apple to my salads, sandwiches, and grilled cheese for years.
The acidic, crisp texture is just what a savory dish needs to enhance the salty goodness, in my opinion.
This salad also includes dried cranberries for a chewy texture. But it’s the super-simple dressing that you’ll really love.
It takes just four ingredients (including salt!) and a quick whisk. You’ll never buy it in the store again!
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