20+ Refreshing Summer Salads
Endless sunshine calls for refreshing summer salads. They’re easy to toss together, they let you get creative with in-season produce, and they taste extra juicy and delicious.
Refreshing Summer Salads for Every Craving
Slow summer days call for one thing – easy, no-fuss meals. Because the last thing we want to be doing is spending long hours in the kitchen with the oven on (no extra sweating, thank you very much). So, here’s my favorite roundup of the best summer salad recipes to make all season long!
You’ll find everything from 4-ingredient salads that can be tossed together in a jiff, to a full blown meal with hearty proteins and veggies that actually fill you up (in a light way of course). And if you need something in between for your next summer cookout, there’s plenty of party favorite salads to choose from as well!
The Easiest Summer Salads, Ever!
Let’s be honest, summer salads that require minimal effort are our saving grace. Especially when you’re also on grilling or margarita duty. So here’s a few favorites that only need 4 to 8 ingredients in their natural state. Just wash, slice, and toss!
Tomato Avocado Salad: The name pretty much says it all. Just layer the slices of tomato and avocado (with onions) on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, squeeze some lemon juice, and finish with salt with cracked blak pepper. It’s ultra fresh with no tossing involved.
Greek Salad: A Greek salad is always welcome at a summer table. All you need are cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, bell pepper, feta cheese, and my homemade Greek salad dressing. Trust me when I say this homemade dressing makes every bit of difference.
Cucumber Radish Salad: I’m a sucker for this one not just because it’s aesthetically pleasing, but it’s so simple and refreshing. The pops of lemon juice, fresh dill, and punchy green onions really zhuzh up your typical cucumber salad. If you’re not a fan of radish though, this classic cucumber salad will always be a perennial winner.
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad: This chickpea salad gets a coastal twist with tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, feta cheese, parsley, and my reader favorite lemon vinaigrette. And if you’re a fan of roasted flavors – you’ll love this roasted red pepper chickpea salad variation.
Caprese Salad: This salad is on repeat every time I travel to Italy, along with an Aperol spritz (of course). Slices of juicy tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, with a drizzle of balsamic and freshly picked basil leaves literally screams summer on a plate.
Chopped Broccoli and Chickpea Salad: If you love textured salads, this salad is loaded with crunchy broccoli and chickpeas, crisp bell pepper, celery, and onion. Then tossed with a creamy lemon tahini dressing.
Chimichurri Potato Salad: Creamy potatoes tossed with fresh chimichurri sauce. Pretty much the best savory salad that can be served warmed or chilled!
Waldorf Salad: This classic fruit and nut salad is a mix of crisp apples, celery, grapes, and crunchy walnuts, tossed in a tangy-sweet, creamy dressing. So refreshing!
Avocado Caprese Salad: Give your classic caprese salad a California twist with avocado! Because who doesn’t love a bit of creamy avocado in their salads?
Israeli Salad: A Mediterranean favorite, it’s a simple combination of bite-sized tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs. It’s also my favorite side-salad to accompany pretty much every outdoor summer meal.
Let’s Not Forget These Creamy Summer Salads – They’re Classics!
Chicken salad, tuna salad, shrimp salad, and potato salad are classics for a reason. A creamy mayonnaise or yogurt dressing helps meld together simple ingredients and fresh herbs for vibrant flavor!
Shrimp Salad: This might just be one of your new favorite ways to eat shrimp this summer (aside from my grilled shrimp skewers of course). Chilled shrimp are tossed with celery, onion, and the best creamy, lemony, herby dressing.
Cucumber Shrimp Salad: For an even fresher twist on my classic shrimp salad, you’ll love this version that’s mixed with cucumbers, green onion, and a creamy lime dressing.
Tuna Salad: A large bowl of this tuna salad is a summertime staple, and it’s budget-friendly (which I show in my budget meal prep!). You can make it a wrap, layer into endive leaves, or make tuna stuffed avocados. Basically, endless possibilities.
Ultimate Chicken Salad: Thanks to my secret ingredient – tarragon – this chicken salad really is the best. The combo of chicken, grapes, celery, onions, and a creamy lemony sauce will surely win your heart.
Salmon Salad: After you bake a large salmon filet, flake it into a bowl with crisp celery, red onion, radishes, herbs, and a creamy, lemony dressing. Think of it as an elevated tuna salad!
Classic Potato Salad: There’s a few ways you can go about making a potato salad, but you can never go wrong with this classic version. It’s the perfect mix of potatoes, boiled eggs, celery, onions, radishes, mayo, and dill.
People Will Rave About These Salads at Your Next BBQ
It’s not a BBQ without the best summer cookout side dishes. And yes, salads play a pretty big role on the table for 4th of July and Labor Day. From a grilled corn salad to a classic potato salad, here’s my take on the classics with a Downshiftology twist.
Fresh Corn Salad: Whether you’ve got grilled corn on the cob or fresh sweet corn, this salad should be at the top of your list. Simply toss the corn with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, herbs, and a light blend of olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
Broccoli Salad: This is one of those must-make salads when it comes to any type of summer outing. And every time I bring a large bowl of this veggie bacon goodness, leftovers are pretty much nonexistent.
Summer Salads with Fruit – Every Which Way
At this point, your market should be flooding with perfectly ripe summer fruits. Plus, they’ll be a bit cheaper than other out-of-season produce. So why not make the most of them and add them to your summer salads for a naturally sweet and juicy touch?
Classic Fruit Salad: A homemade fruit salad is a million times better than a store-bought one. Especially when it’s tossed with a sweet and zingy honey lime dressing. It’s super easy to make, looks great in a massive bowl, and checks fresh fruits off the list.
Mandarin Chicken Salad: Citrus hits differently in the summer, especially in this chicken salad. Oranges get mixed with spinach, cucumber slices, avocado, crunchy toppings, and a fresh lemon vinaigrette.
Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad: There’s just something so good about grilled fruit, especially sweet peaches. And when you combine them with fresh, creamy burrata and a drizzle of balsamic glaze (or this balsamic vinaigrette) – oh boy is it heavenly.
Melon Mozzarella Salad with Basil: If you’re a melon lover, this salad will hit all the right spots. You can technically slice them into little cubes. But if you’ve got a melon scooper, it makes for one good looking fruit salad.
The Best Summer Salads with Chicken, Seafood, and More!
When you need a heftier summer salad for lunch or dinner, these options will easily fill that void. You just have to decide whether you’re in the mood for chicken, ground beef, salmon, or shrimp! But don’t worry, the cooking is kept to a minimum with simple baked or pan-seared proteins.
Tuna, Cucumber, Mozzarella Salad: Give canned tuna a fresh (and super delicious) new look in this simple, toss-together salad! The extra bits of sweet corn and fresh shallots give it some oomph.
Nicoise Salad: The beauty of a Nicoise salad is how customizable it is. You can use anchovies instead of tuna, quail eggs instead of boiled eggs, or include no green beans at all. However you assemble it, it’s perfect for summertime entertaining.
Salmon Avocado Salad: When you’re in the mood for pan seared salmon during the summer, make this salmon avocado salad. It combines ingredients you likely already have in your fridge, in a really delicious way.
Taco Salad: Experience everything you want in a taco, but in a more veggie-heavy meal! Just top chopped lettuce with cooked ground beef, beans, corn, guacamole, pico de gallo (or red salsa), and anything else you’d normally top on a taco.
Smoked Salmon, Avocado, and Arugula Salad: Not gonna lie, this is one of my favorite summer salad recipes. I’m a bit biased given how much I love smoked salmon, but it’s seriously so refreshing when paired with avocado, arugula, and a light dressing.
Now’s the time to kick back and enjoy these refreshing salads. If you make any of these summer salad recipes, I’d love to hear which ones are your favorite in a comment below!
20+ Refreshing Summer Salads
- Slice the tomatoes, mozzarella, and avocado into even slices.
- On a plate, alternate slices of the tomatoes, mozzarella, and avocado. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and top with fresh basil leaves.