40 easy summer salad recipes that are perfect to add to your rotation. Whether you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan, leafy-, vegetable- or grain-based salads, or salad bowls, this is a list of the best summer salads to enjoy as an appetizer, side, or main!
When the summer weather hits, I find myself starting to crave healthier, lighter dishes like Italian bruschetta, zucchini fritters, whipped ricotta dip with crudites, and lots (and lots) of fresh salads! When the temperatures are high, it’s the perfect time to discover lots of refreshing salad recipes. This list includes options for BBQs, potlucks, garden parties, and more!
The below list of easy summer salads combines options including simple ingredients, with a combination of colors, flavors, and textures. They are as beautiful as they are nourishing. More so, 95% of the below recipe are vegan or vegan optional!
Whether you’re looking for a simple side, hearty main, or refreshing appetizer, you’re sure to find something you love in this list of my top 40 summer salad recipes. With a combination of vegetable-based salads, fruity options, cheesy options, hearty options, and a few pescatarian options and salsas below – there’s a summer salad for everyone!
While you’re at it, you might also like to browse through this list of 40+ summer drink recipes, too!
The Best Summer Salad Ideas
All the below easy summer salads are vegetable-based and make for great side salads/appetizers. These summer salad recipes take advantage of fresh summer produce (and some year-round ingredients) for truly fresh/flavorful summer salad ideas. Plus, every recipe comes with a list of recipe add-ins and variations, to suit any mood, season, and taste!
- Italian heirloom tomato salad: this Italian tomato salad (aka insalata di pomodori) is the perfect way to make the most of the summer bounty of in-season tomatoes. Combining tomatoes with a simple, heart-healthy olive oil and garlic-based dressing, this tomato salad is perfect for any summer table.
- Healthy tomato and cucumber salad: this simple, healthy salad contains just a few ingredients with a Middle Eastern twist thanks to the use of fresh and dry mint. This makes for the ultimate summer side!
- Roasted pepper marinated salad: you’ll be surprised at how much flavor you can add to a meal with this marinated pepper salad. Enjoy it as a side with grains like rice or quinoa, add to sandwiches/wraps, etc.
- Massaged kale salad with lemon: in-season kale is best toward the end of summer, but this nutritious ingredient is available year-round in many places and makes for a wonderfully simple salad ingredient that’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! Plus, this salad requires just 4 ingredients!
- Eggplant salad: if you love Persian-inspired flavors, then this simple baked eggplant salad is a keeper. Top the baked eggplant with yogurt, pomegranate, and pistachio for a simple, light lunch.
- Avocado cucumber tomato salad: this simple avocado cucumber tomato salad is fresh, fun, and packed with flavor. Plus it takes just 5 minutes to throw together.
- Tabbouleh salad (tabouli salad): I wouldn’t be lying if I said that I eat tabbouleh 2-3 times a week (and that’s a conservative guess!). As a Lebanese woman, this simple, herby salad was a constant addition to my table growing up. It makes for a delicious easy summer salad recipe. The salad combines bulgur wheat with parsley, mint, tomatoes, lettuce, and a lemon-olive oil dressing.
- Shirazi salad: this Persian salad combines cucumber, onion, and tomato with fresh herbs for the ultimate summer side salad. Serve up at BBQs, garden parties, and as an accompaniment to tons of meals!
- Simple cucumber onion “marinated” salad: another simple marinated salad – this time combining cucumber and onion for a refreshing, tangy, and versatile summer salad perfect for BBQs, picnics, and potlucks!
- Lebanese creamy cucumber yogurt salad (kh’yar bi Laban): Wanting a simple salad to enjoy as a dip, sauce, or spread? Well, you’ve found it. This creamy cucumber yogurt salad is the Lebanese answer to Greek tzatziki, combining yogurt, cucumber, garlic, salt, and dried mint for a creamy, refreshing side.
- Korean cucumber salad: instead of a creamy dish like above, this Korean cucumber salad is sweet, sour, and slightly spicy. Perfect for serving alongside cooked rice and BBQ dishes!
Summer Salads with Fruit
If you like the combination of sweet and savory, the following list of fruity salads is sure to entice you. Peach, mango, watermelon, pineapple, berries… There are tons of ways to add tasty, super nutritious fruit to your easy summer salads!
- Grilled peach burrata salad with tomatoes: this peach Caprese combines is a wonderfully fruity twist on an Italian classic. It combines in-season tangy tomatoes with creamy burrata and sweet grilled peaches for a simple, summery salad. You can even enjoy this easy summer salad vegan!
- Tropical mango salad: if you like the combination of sweet and savory flavors, this mango salad is the must-try salad for your next BBQ. Combine mango with sweetcorn, avocado, tomatoes, and more to make a salad packed with colors, flavors, and textures.
- Watermelon feta salad with cucumber: when I’m not mixing up large batches of watermelon juice, I’m turning my summer watermelon haul into a simple watermelon feta salad with cucumber and mint. Plus, you can even enjoy this salad vegan with dairy-free feta.
- Spinach and blackberry salad: this simple spinach-based leafy salad required just 4 ingredients plus a tangy, sweet blackberry vinaigrette. Best of all, this simple salad recipe is gluten-free, keto, and can be vegan!
- Strawberry spinach salad: this classic summery salad surprisingly packs lots of flavor and nutrients to take advantage of strawberry season. Enjoy it with kale or spinach and adjust it as a vegan and/or nut-free salad.
- Pineapple cucumber salad: if you’ve never tried the combination of pineapple and cucumber, this simple summery salad might seem a little odd. However, try it and you’re sure to be a convert. It’s meat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and oil-free. Plus it takes just 10 minutes to prepare!
- Thai green papaya salad (Som Tam Thai): making use of unripe green papaya, this simple salad is savory, spicy and slightly sweet with a crunchy, refreshing texture. You can also prepare this recipe vegan if preferred.
Cheesy Summer Salads
If you love cheese (don’t we all), then the following options are some of my favorite cheesy summer salad recipes. They pack in creamy flavor and various nutrients. Even if you don’t eat dairy, all the below options come with a dairy-free/vegan option. Plus a long list of serving suggestions!
- Classic Caprese salad: this classic Italian salad combines just 6 ingredients for a perfectly balanced salad. Tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil make up the bulk of this easy summer salad for a delicious appetizer or side. You can even enjoy this as a vegan salad with vegan mozzarella!
- Heirloom burrata Caprese salad: like the above, and yet not quite the same, this heirloom Caprese swaps out the regular mozzarella for creamy burrata.
- Roasted Mediterranean vegetable Buddha bowl: Okay technically, the burrata cheese is optional in this wholesome Mediterranean salad bowl. Serve the combination of peppers, tomato, zucchini, and eggplant over grains and/or greens. This salad is packed with nutrients, colors, and flavor.
- Roasted beet salad with goat cheese: this classic salad combines earthy roasted beets with creamy goat cheese, crunchy walnuts, and a peppery arugula base. Top it off with a simple honey mustard dressing for a salad you’ll want to eat repeatedly!
- Vegan feta cheese Greek salad: as my only exclusively vegan “cheese” salad on the blog, this vegan Greek salad substitutes regular feta for a simple, homemade vegan feta instead. When combined with cucumber, tomato, olives, onion, and herbs, this Greek salad is a must-try for all!
Hearty Summer Salad Recipes
Looking for simple salad recipes with a little more “oomph”? All the below salads combine veggies with either some grains or extra carbs/fiber for more “staying power,” to keep you fuller for longer.
- Caprese pasta salad: is there ever a time that tomato and mozzarella don’t make for the most delicious combination? This time, we’re taking these simple Caprese ingredients and combining them with pasta for a simple, hearty pasta salad that deserves a place at your next BBQ or potluck!
- Quinoa salad: Okay, so technically I enjoy this salad in the fall/winter too. But it’s just as delicious in summer and packed with protein, antioxidants, and nutrients!
- Simple fatteh (pita chickpea yogurt salad): if I got a penny for every time I ate fatteh growing up I’d have… a lot of pennies! This veganized version of the popular Lebanese salad combines leftover pita bread with chickpeas, yogurt, and a protein – in this case, soy mince. While originally designed to bring new life to old pita bread, this salad is now a guilty pleasure of mine. It would be a perfect addition to a garden party or gathering.
- Lebanese Fattoush pita salad: similar to fatteh, Fattoush is a wonderful way to enjoy old pita bread, combined with various salad veggies, pomegranate kernels, and a simple pomegranate-based dressing for a quick, healthy, and meal-prep-friendly summer salad!
- Healthy taco salad: with a combination of tortilla chips and beans, this salad packs in fiber and protein alongside corn, tomatoes, peppers, and other veggies for a Mexican-inspired taco salad. It can be prepared up to 5 days in advance and takes just minutes to put together.
- Thai cucumber salad: this Thai salad is sweet and savory, combining several vegetables and a soy and garlic dressing. Best of all, it’s naturally gluten-free and can be made vegetarian/vegan.
- Middle Eastern vegan chickpea salad (Belala Salad): with a combination of chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, and several herbs, this simple salad lies somewhere between tabbouleh and a Mediterranean chickpea salad. It’s packed with protein, fiber, and flavor to boot! Best of all, it takes just 10 minutes to prepare, too.
- Panzanella salad (Tuscan-style tomato bread salad): as someone who loves bread, this bread-loving Italian salad had me at… bread, of course. In fact, this simple salad combines day-old hearty toasted bread with tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, and a simple olive-oil-based dressing for a simple, super summer-friendly salad. I can’t imagine not having this at least weekly this summer.
Pescatarian (Fish) Salads
You may have noticed that the one thing most of the salads on this page lack is a meaty protein. That’s because I don’t often handle meat at home myself. I do, however, sometimes take advantage of omega-rich, protein-dense fish. Light and flaky fish makes for a fantastic addition to healthy summer salad recipes.
- Salted cod salad (Buljol): this may surprise you, but this Caribbean salad is actually a breakfast dish. It is served alongside coconut bake. With a combination of salted cod with several fresh ingredients like peppers, tomato, and cabbage, this salad is wonderfully simple and yet packed with colors, flavor, and nutrients!
- Tuna salad with mixed vegetables: for a summery salad packed with a healthful combination of protein, carbs, and heart-healthy fats, then why not try this tuna salad. Combining the flavorful protein with grilled corn, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, olives, and more makes for a fully loaded, absolutely flavor-packed salad dish!
- Salmon and Kale potato salad: this simple summer salad recipe works well as a starter, side, or main. It combines healthful smoked salmon with kale, new potatoes, peas, and a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing. Then, the result is a hearty salad packing salty, savory flavor and a combination of textures.
- Grilled Salmon Avocado Salad Bowl: this grilled salmon avocado salad with kale is a high-protein, nutritious, and delicious meal-prep salad bowl option. It’s highly customizable, ready in under 10 minutes, and a great addition to your next BBQ!
BONUS: Summer Salsa Recipes
As a bonus, I had to include these three summery salsa recipes – the perfect addition to summery spreads. Salsa is a fresh, flavor-packed addition to all kinds of meals including alongside taco night, with fajitas, nachos, wraps, as part of a salad bowl (like this burrito bowl), or even simply served up as an appetizer with crackers and/or tortilla chips.
- Pico de Gallo (salsa fresca): this healthy, simple tomato salsa is the ultimate condiment. Enjoy it as a dip, sauce, or side and prepare it in just minutes. In fact, all you need for this summery salsa is 5 ingredients – with tons of available customizations and add-ins.
- Mango salsa (mango Pico de Gallo): prefer something a little fruitier? Then you might enjoy this mango Pico de Gallo. This version swaps out the tomatoes entirely, combining custardy mango with red onion, chili, cilantro, and lime juice.
- Watermelon salsa: if you want a bit of a showstopper, then serve up this fun, fruity watermelon salsa in a watermelon-rind bowl alongside a pile of chips and crackers for a delicious summer appetizer. Not only does it look great, it tastes great too. And all with just 6 fresh ingredients and a few minutes of your time!
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If you try any of these easy summer salad recipes, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also,feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!