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33 Best Summer Salads

https://www.loveandlemons.com/summer-salads/


Favorite summer salads


This is my absolute favorite time of year. We had a really cold, rainy spring, but all of a sudden, summer is here! We’re seeing the sun, the days are heating up, and gorgeous summer produce is popping up at the farmers markets. We’re getting tomatoes, soft, sweet greens, strawberries, and fresh herbs, and corn is just around the corner.

At this time of year, produce is so good on its own that you don’t need to do much to it to make it into a delicious meal. On beautiful days when I’d rather be outside than in the kitchen, summer salads are the perfect solution: they’re simple to toss together, but they’re totally delicious nonetheless. Here are some of my favorite summer salad recipes to pass at potlucks, to enjoy as dinner sides, or to eat as full meals on their own.

Summer Slaws

Slaws are some of the best make-ahead summer salad recipes out there. Typically made with hearty vegetables like cabbage, kale, or broccoli, they’re sturdy enough to be dressed ahead of time. I like to accent the veggie base with a punchy dressing, herbs, and even fruit for maximum flavor.

1. Summer Asian Slaw

Make this salad for your next picnic, and it’ll be a guaranteed hit. A tahini miso dressing gives it a creamy umami coating, while peaches add juicy pops of sweetness. I finish it with toasted pepitas for crunch.


Asian Slaw in a bowl


2. Best Broccoli Salad

You won’t miss the bacon in this lightened-up take on classic broccoli salad. Smoky roasted nuts take its place, adding those delectable savory bites. A lightly creamy, sweet & tangy dressing takes the whole thing over the top.

Pasta Salads

You couldn’t make a list of summer salads without including this category! Pasta salads are the ultimate summer picnic food – they’re great to make ahead, they can double as a side and a main dish, and they’re a hearty showcase for the season’s best produce.

3. Easy Pasta Salad

As its name suggests, this one is a breeze to make. Just whisk together the zippy lemon dressing at the bottom of a big bowl, add the other ingredients, and toss to create a heavenly tangy/creamy/crunchy/fresh summer combo.

4. Rainbow Orzo Salad

Diced mango adds a surprising sweet twist to this colorful orzo, red onion, bell pepper, herb, and cucumber salad.

5. Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad

My veggie-packed take on a deli-style pasta salad! I swap spiralized summer squash for half the noodles and a creamy tahini dressing for a mayo-based one. It’s a healthier version of the grocery counter classic, but it’s just as good.

6. Broccoli Pasta Salad

Sun-dried tomatoes add delicious umami bites to this super green combination of summer veggies, basil, pasta, and pine nuts.

7. Cherry Tomato Couscous Salad

A mix of jammy roasted cherry tomatoes and juicy fresh ones makes this guy one of my favorite summer salads. With spiced roasted chickpeas, tangy feta, and big pearls of couscous, it’s hearty enough to be a meal on its own.

8. Sesame Soba Noodles

Not your average pasta salad! Tossed in a tangy sesame-ginger dressing and piled with green veggies and avocado, this soba noodle salad is a light, refreshing summer meal.

Green Summer Salads

I eat more green salads in the summer than at any other time of year. The lettuces I find at the farmers market are so soft & sweet that a big green summer salad is really a treat. I’ll often make these recipes for lunch, but you could also toss them together to serve as a side dish at your next cookout.

9. Healthy Taco Salad

Savory shiitake walnut taco “meat” is the star of this salad, and zippy cilantro lime dressing gives it a fresh finishing touch. Enjoy this salad as a meal on its own, or serve it as a starter with fajitas or tacos.

10. Vegan Cobb Salad with Coconut Bacon

This plant-based riff on a classic Cobb salad swaps baked tofu for chicken breast and smoky toasted coconut for bacon. A creamy, tangy dressing ties it all together.

11. Grilled Romaine Vegan Caesar Wedges

One of my favorite green salads of all time! Crisp romaine gets lightly charred, then drizzled with an irresistibly tangy cashew vegan caesar dressing. This one is on page 111 of our new cookbook, Love & Lemons Every Day.

Tomato Salads

If there’s one veggie (or fruit, if you’re looking to get technical) that’s the star of summer, the tomato is definitely it. Here are some of my favorite summer salad recipes that put tomatoes front & center.

12. Spicy Watermelon Tomato Salad

Fresh chiles add some heat to the sweet, juicy mix of tomatoes & watermelon in this recipe.

13. Eggplant & Roasted Tomato Farro Salad

Roasting cherry tomatoes gives them an intense sweet & savory flavor that’s fantastic alongside eggplant, arugula, and nutty farro.

14. Heirloom Tomato Fattoush

Once you start bringing home those juicy farmers market heirloom tomatoes, make this salad! It’s my non-traditional take on fattoush, a bread salad made with toasted pita. This one has a layer of lemony yogurt and is topped with crispy chickpeas, and lots of fresh herbs. Find it on on page 125 of Love & Lemons Every Day.

15. Tomato & Avocado Salad

The secret to this salad is marinating the tomatoes in a splash of olive oil & sherry vinegar. They become rich & tangy – the perfect contrast for fresh basil, avocado, and a little orzo pasta.

16. Heirloom Caprese with Mint Pesto

I use mint pesto in place of basil in this riff on a classic caprese salad. Of course, fresh basil or basil pesto is equally delicious.

Corn Summer Salad Recipes

If tomatoes are #1 at this time of year, corn comes in as a close #2. Grilled, steamed, or fresh off the cob, it’s the perfect addition to all sorts of summer salads.

17. Summer Corn Salad

This fresh corn salad features all my summer favorites: grilled sweet corn, juicy peaches, and lots of fresh basil! To highlight the crisp, fresh ingredients, I toss it with a zesty chile lime dressing.

18. Mexican Street Corn Salad

If you’ve ever had Mexican street corn, you know that the combination of charred corn, crumbly Cotija, creamy mayo, and cilantro is a hard one to beat. I like to spice mine up with sriracha or adobo sauce, too!

Summer Panzanellas

Panzanellas are hands down my favorite summer salads. You just can’t beat big cubes of bread tossed with juicy summer produce and a good tangy vinaigrette. You can always serve these salads as a side, but they’re great main dish options as well.

19. Sweet Corn & Arugula Panzanella

Panzanellas may be Italian bread salads, but this recipe’s not all about the bread. Crisp, juicy sweet corn is front and center, playing perfectly off a tangy dressing and bitter greens. I use the corn raw, so this panzanella is super simple to toss together.

20. Sweet Pepper Panzanella

Grilled peppers add a lovely sweetness to this veggie-packed summer salad. Along with the veggies, creamy fresh mozzarella makes it extra yummy.

21. Summer Panzanella Salad

I like to call this one an “everything summer salad.” It’s bursting with juicy peaches, tomatoes, crisp corn, and fresh basil – the best that summer has to offer.

22. Pattypan Panzanella

When you’ve made zucchini bread, zucchini cake, baked zucchini, and zucchini pizza, and you STILL have zucchini, make this panzanella. The grilled squash is a great jammy contrast to crisp cucumbers and bursty cherry tomatoes.

Potato Summer Salads

It’s taken me a while to get on board with potato salads, but over the last few years of experimenting with bold dressings and different mix-ins, I’ve become totally hooked. Here are a few of my favorites.

23. Creamy Potato Salad

This lightened-up rendition of classic potato salad has a luscious Greek yogurt dressing with just a bit of mayo mixed in. It’s the perfect make-ahead summer salad, as the flavor deepens as it sits in the fridge.

24. Grilled Potato Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette

If you’re grilling veggie burgers, make this summer salad right along with them. Not only are the potatoes grilled here, but the blueberries are too! A yummy grilled scallion vinaigrette, fresh herbs, and pickled onions accent this fun sweet/charred pairing.

25. Chimichurri Potato Salad

I toss this potato salad in a tangy, herbaceous chimichurri instead of a creamy dressing. It’s a fan favorite from Love & Lemons Every Day – find it on page 119.

26. Purple Potato & Green Bean Salad

This summery bean salad is incredibly versatile. Dress it up with a soft-boiled egg or chickpeas to make it a meal, or serve the mix of potatoes, green beans, and lemony dressing as a simple grilling side.

Fruity Summer Salads

Of course, your summer salads should feature the wonderful fresh vegetables we have at this time of year, but it’d be remiss not to take advantage of the fantastic fruits that abound too! Stone fruits, berries, and melon are all delicious sweet additions to summer salad recipes.

27. Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

Skip the tomatoes the next time you’re making tabbouleh, and use dried tart cherries instead! They add great chewy texture and sweet/tart flavor to this fresh dish.

28. Strawberry Tabbouleh

Or…use strawberries! Like tomatoes, they’re juicy & sweet. Another nontraditional ingredient – feta – adds a great salty contrast to the berries in this recipe.

29. Watermelon Poke Bowls

This poke-inspired summer salad features juicy cubes of watermelon and crunchy macadamia nuts along with conventional poke fixings like cucumber, ginger & avocado. I toss it all in a tangy tamari-lime dressing to make a super fresh, fun summer dish.

30. Peach & Plum Caprese Salad

Sure, we all love tomatoes & basil, but peaches & basil are just as good.

31. Strawberry Caprese Salad

Another fruity caprese combo! This time, I use strawberries as well as cherry tomatoes, and I gussy it up with a balsamic reduction, avocado, and toasted pecans for a sweet, nutty crunch.

32. Festive Fruit Salad

Fruit salads are a summer essential, and we absolutely love this fresh lemon-ginger one. I like to use a star cookie cutter to cut the melon for festive summer flare!

33. Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

Make this ultra-refreshing salad on hot summer days! Creamy avocado, tangy feta, and bright lime wonderfully accent cool, juicy melon and cucumber. A handful of fresh herbs is the perfect finishing touch.

Let me know what your favorite summer salads are!

Summer Salads: Our Favorite Corn Salad

Author: Jeanine Donofrio

Recipe type: Salad

  • 3 ears of grilled corn on the cob
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • ½ small cucumber, diced
  • 2 ripe peaches, pitted and diced
  • 1 small avocado, pitted and diced
  • 8 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 3 tablespoons Chile Lime Dressing, plus more to taste
  • sea salt
  • ¼ cup mayo or vegan mayo
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro, including stems, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus extra slices for serving
  • ⅓ serrano, plus more to taste
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of onion powder
  • sea salt
  1. Make the dressing: In a small food processor, combine the avocado mayonnaise, olive oil, cilantro, lime, serrano, garlic powder, onion powder and a few generous pinches of salt. Pulse until combined. Chill until ready to use.
  2. Slice the kernels off of the grilled corn and place in a large bowl. Add the red pepper, green pepper, cucumber, peaches, avocado, basil, lime juice, a few pinches of salt, and toss. Add a few tablespoons of dressing, toss again, then taste and add more dressing and/or salt to taste. Serve with extra dressing and lime slices on the side.

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Vegetarian Recipes

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

“I want you to come watch the movie with us ON the couch, not be in the kitchen!”

I’ve been filling out this one-question-a-day journals for moms that I received for Christmas. It records a little thought or memory over the last year, and then starts again, so you can see how your answers change over a few years. One of the recent ones, prompted me to jot notes about what I am learning as a mom, and I found the question so general I was basically annoyed. I am a romantic, and also wildly pragmatic. In the span of a day I can tear up over the depths of love I feel for my kids, and also wish for them to have a mute button. We all have worlds within us; mothering pushing me into the corners of myself I am sometimes proud of or other corners ashamed of, but am I learning? Yes, every single day. Sometimes in the moment and other times after a particular season. But in 2021, my answer in the bullet journal was that I see my kids are wanting me to play with them. They aren’t registering all the service and shuttling and laundry and what it takes to pull off a week, they just want to play WITH me. It’s natural for me to move within lists and tasks and responsibilities and hustling, but playing is something I have to pay attention to. For them and for me. We usually do a family movie on Friday nights and my son (6.5), see quote above, pointed out that I don’t actually watch the movie, I tinker in the kitchen and he wants me in the couch cuddle. Flattered, and found out that I’d rather make granola than watch The Croods 🙂 So from annoyed, to passing on the question to fellow parents, what are you learning? Try not to be annoyed. Maybe circle back to it.

I published this recipe over on SKCC a few weeks ago and wanted it to live here. We’re trying to find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes (it’s easy for me to fill up on roasted veggies and big salads, not so much for the kids). This batch lasts us two meals – once with noodles, maybe half zoodles, and the second round on toast or english muffins with cheese melted on top, like a pizza sort of thing? It freezes well and is great to deliver to new parents.

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 12 oz. riced)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts pieces
1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds – crushed
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine (or broth of any sort, and double the vinegar to mimic the wine’s acidity)
28 oz. of canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of red lentils
red pepper flake to taste

For serving

12 oz. of pasta or choice, zoodles, etc.
parmesan
fresh, torn basil

Directions

In a large Dutch-oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic into smaller bits. Add them to the pot with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes.

Pulse up the cauliflower florets to get a rice-like texture. Add the riced-cauliflower to the pot and sauté to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pulse the walnuts in the processor and add those to the pot along with the Italian seasoning, fennel seed, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until fragrant.

Add the red wine, cook about 3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, lentils, pinch of pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, put the cover ajar and let it simmer gently for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Cook your pasta or zoodles according to instructions. Top with cauli Bolognese, grated cheese, fresh basil and enjoy!

The Bolognese will keep in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for a few months.

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