Great Summer Salads

These salads are quick and easy, require minimal or no cooking, and are the perfect way to enjoy all the produce that's in season now.

Arugula, Grape, and Sunflower Seed Salad

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Arugula, Grape, and Sunflower Seed Salad

By including a variety of ingredients, salads are often a nutritional powerhouse: This recipe provides lots of antioxidants from the grapes, healthy fats and vitamin E from the sunflower seeds and grapeseed oil, and folate and vitamin A from the arugula. A sweet mustard vinaigrette dressing matches both the peppery bitterness of the greens and the sweet juiciness of the grapes. Try this salad topped with salmon or tuna for a healthful dinner.

View Recipe: Arugula, Grape, and Sunflower Seed Salad

Tuna-Garbanzo Salad

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Tuna-Garbanzo Salad

With fresh green beans, hearty garbanzos, and a smoky-creamy dressing, this Spanish tapas-style dish is unlike any other tuna salad you've tried. But it still takes less than 10 minutes to make and contains fewer than 400 calories per serving. High-quality tuna is a must; check European or Mediterranean markets for imported oil-packed tuna.

View Recipe: Tuna-Garbanzo Salad

Green and Yellow Bean Salad with Chunky Tomato Dressing and Feta

Randy Mayor

Green and Yellow Bean Salad with Chunky Tomato Dressing and Feta

This dish shows off fresh summer produce in the best way possible: with a dressing made from more fresh summer produce. Check your local farmer's market for heirloom varieties of wax beans, which are both beautiful and tasty, and come in many colors beyond green. Shredded basil and tangy feta complement the bright tomato vinaigrette and complete this salad, whose simplicity might be its best asset.

View Recipe: Green and Yellow Bean Salad with Chunky Tomato Dressing and Feta Cheese

Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Melon and prosciutto are a classic pairing; Parmigiano-Reggiano (don't skimp―use the real stuff) pumps up their flavor with its deep savoriness. Make this salad the centerpiece of an antipasto meal by serving with bruschetta and an assortment of olives, cheeses, and slices of salami or ham.

View Recipe: Melon and Prosciutto Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Asian Green Bean Salad

Howard L. Puckett

Asian Green Bean Salad

This light and fresh pasta salad, with its easy sweet-sour-spicy dressing, is wonderfully versatile. Serve as a side to just about any pork, beef, or salmon dish, or mix in canned tuna, leftover chicken, or chopped hard-boiled egg for a simple and healthful brown-bag lunch at work or school.

View Recipe: Asian Green Bean Salad

Spinach Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Spinach Salad with Grilled Shrimp

An Asian-flavored vinaigrette with an orange juice kicker is the secret to this simple salad, while ginger and cumin give the shrimp skewers nice spice. Since the shrimp only cooks for three minutes, this recipe gives you a good chance to try a grilled dessert after dinner.

View Recipe: Spinach Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tomato Granita

Randy Mayor

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tomato Granita

One of our favorite things about summer is the effortless splendor of heirloom tomato salads. Ripe, peak-season specimens need almost no adornment, so skip the granita if you're in a rush. But if you have a few hours to let it freeze, it will make this dish spectacular.

View Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tomato Granita

Chicken Cobb Salad

Lee Harrelson

Chicken Cobb Salad

With plenty of chicken, creamy avocado, bacon, and blue cheese, this is the classic entrée salad. Bottled Italian dressing cuts down on time (the whole recipe, including cooking the chicken, takes less than 15 minutes). But if you like, you can whip a quick low-fat vinaigrette for that homemade touch.

View Recipe: Chicken Cobb Salad

Stone Fruit Salad with Toasted Almonds

Randy Mayor

Stone Fruit Salad with Toasted Almonds

With a dressing of almond oil and a white wine reduction, plus a topping of tangy goat cheese, this recipe brings some added elegance to the everyday fruit salad. It makes a nice light lunch or dinner starter on its own, but you can top with sliced chicken breast to make it more substantial. Either way, serve with chilled glasses of the wine you used in the dressing.

View Recipe: Stone Fruit Salad with Toasted Almonds

Fresh English Pea Salad with Mint and Pecorino

Douglas Merriam

Fresh English Pea Salad with Mint and Pecorino

English peas and mint are a classic combination, given extra depth of flavor here with the addition of savory pecorino and bitter arugula. Fresh lemon juice (always better than bottled) in the dressing brightens all the flavors. Crumbled feta or goat cheese make excellent substitutes for pecorino, and if you can't find fresh English peas, try green beans or sugar snap peas, or use frozen.

View Recipe: Fresh English Pea Salad with Mint and Pecorino

Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

With a full pound of crabmeat, this is a luxurious dish that captures the fresh flavors of summer. It's a great way to highlight heirloom tomatoes from your local farmer's market or, even better, your own garden. A cold soup like vichyssoise or cucumber soup (or gazpacho, if you're a real tomato lover) makes a perfect pairing.

View Recipe: Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

Grilled Sirloin Salad

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Grilled Sirloin Salad

Opposites attract in this dish: hot steak sits atop cold salad, and tender meat contrasts with crunchy vegetables. The basic salad with red wine-lemon vinaigrette is easy and works great, but you can customize the salad with your favorite vegetables (or fruits) and dressing. Just about anything will match the steak.

View Recipe: Grilled Sirloin Salad

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Randy Mayor

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Main-dish salads with just greens can feel insubstantial at times, so this dish adds a base of orzo to fresh arugula, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and basil. Tangy goat cheese gives a luscious creaminess to each bite, and chopped chicken makes for a filling meal. Leave out the chicken and double the other ingredients for a picnic pasta salad that'll drive guests wild.

View Recipe: Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

Creole Tomato Salad

Randy Mayor

Creole Tomato Salad

This simple no-cook salad is one of the best ways to highlight heirloom tomatoes, with its counterpoint of pungent raw onion and a light Dijon vinaigrette. You can also make this salad the spotlight of a great BLT (use the dressing in place of mayo), or add sliced mozzarella cheese for a Creole Caprese Salad.

View Recipe: Creole Tomato Salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Blanching some of the vegetables before grilling ensures they'll be cooked to perfection, but adds only three minutes to the cooking time. You can also grill the veggies ahead of time and assemble this salad in seconds. The fantastic dressing is sure to become a staple, too; you can put it on anything.

View Recipe: Grilled Vegetable Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Melon and Fig Salad with Prosciutto and Balsamic Drizzle Recipe

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Melon and Fig Salad with Prosciutto and Balsamic Drizzle

The salty and sweet flavor combination in this salad cannot be beat. A drizzle of tangy balsamic proves to be the perfect finishing touch.

View Recipe: Melon and Fig Salad with Prosciutto and Balsamic Drizzle

Lemony Grilled Potato Salad Recipe

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Lemony Grilled Potato Salad

Grilling the vegetables brings unexpected smokiness to a familiar picnic staple.

View Recipe: Lemony Grilled Potato Salad

Black Pepper Pasta Salad with Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Romano Recipe

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Black Pepper Pasta Salad with Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Romano

This mayonnaise-based pasta salad veers from the traditional with salty Italian ham, nutty asparagus, and a generous grinding of pepper.

View Recipe: Black Pepper Pasta Salad with Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Romano

Herby Cucumber Salad Recipe

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Herby Cucumber Salad

Creamy and tangy, this simple side comes together in a flash. Don't make the salad ahead--the cucumbers will release too much water.

View Recipe: Herby Cucumber Salad

Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado Recipe

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado

"When I was growing up in Mexico City, my parents would throw wonderful ­summer barbecues," says Chef Medina (Toloache, Yerba Buena, Coppelia, New York City). "We would grill corn on the cob and mix in leftover beans from the weekend and make a delicious, simple corn and bean salad." This Latin-accented three-bean and corn salad is studded with guacamole components: jalapeño, cilantro, white onion, lime, and avocado.

View Recipe: Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado

Grilled Caesar Salad Recipe

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Grilled Caesar Salad

Grilling lettuce gives it a hint of smokiness and lends the leaves crisp-tender contrast. Toasted garlic bread stands in for croutons.

View Recipe: Grilled Caesar Salad

Indonesian Vegetable Salad with Peanut Dressing Recipe

Photo: Kenji Toma

Indonesian Vegetable Salad with Peanut Dressing

This is a simplified version of the splendid Indonesian salad called gado gado, which along with satay is practically a national dish, often served with crunchy shrimp crackers. It uses shortcut ingredients in the sauce—peanut butter, curry paste—to speed things along. For a spicier dressing, stir in sambal oelek or Sriracha.

View Recipe: Indonesian Vegetable Salad with Peanut Dressing

Farro, Green Bean, and Fennel Salad with Tuna Recipe

Photo: Kenji Toma

Farro, Green Bean, and Fennel Salad with Tuna

To make this a full whole-grain salad, avoid pearled farro, which has been partially processed. Yes, it takes a little longer, but to save time, hunt down some precooked whole-grain farro. It's found on the rice aisle. The recipe, however, begins with uncooked grain, which needs an hour in the pot and a little time to cool. We recently tasted—and loved—Wild Planet's wild albacore tuna, jarred in olive oil, which is firm, meaty, rich, and moist. We also love that it's sustainable, 100% pole and troll caught. Visit wildplanetfoods.com to purchase online or locate retailers.

View Recipe: Farro, Green Bean, and Fennel Salad with Tuna

Spinach-Pea Salad with Grilled Shrimp Recipe

Photo: Kenji Toma

Spinach-Pea Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Sweet, briny shrimp are lovely here—seared scallops would be, too. For a beautiful garnish, purchase edible flowers, separate the petals, and scatter them on top. Grilled whole-wheat pita makes wonderfully thin croutons; we like whole-wheat, but you can use white pita, too.

View Recipe: Spinach-Pea Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Caponata Salad with Grilled Flatbreads Recipe

Photo: Kenji Toma

Grilled Caponata Salad with Grilled Flatbreads

Look for caper berries near the olives in the supermarket; they should be next to the capers, but they're much bigger and have a stem. In a pinch, substitute about a tablespoon of chopped capers. Japanese eggplants have thinner skins than typical globe eggplants, so you can leave the peel on. The light purple color is pretty, too.

View Recipe: Grilled Caponata Salad with Grilled Flatbreads

Grilled Steak Panzanella with Pickled Vegetables Recipe

Photo: Kenji Toma

Grilled Steak Panzanella with Pickled Vegetables

Use the bottom part of ciabatta for this salad. The crusty, flat surface is easier to grill and provides more crunch. Don't skip the delicious pickled vegetable topping—it's earthy, crunchy, sweet-sour, and welcome in every bite.

View Recipe: Grilled Steak Panzanella with Pickled Vegetables

Heirloom Tomato and Beet Salad

Photo: Johnny Miller

Heirloom Tomato and Beet Salad

Heirloom tomatoes serve as the base for this vibrant and delicious vegetable salad.

View Recipe: Heirloom Tomato and Beet Salad

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

Photo: Johnny Miller

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

Briny feta cheese and tangy lime juice make great partners for sweet watermelon.

View Recipe: Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

Photo: Johnny Miller

Cucumber Salad

Ready in just 10 minutes, this simple side salad is the perfect addition to a variety of meat-based main dishes.

View Recipe: Cucumber Salad

Italian Three-Bean Salad

Photo: Johnny Miller

Italian Three-Bean Salad

Prepare the salad up to 1 day ahead, and store in the refrigerator. If you can't find fresh cranberry beans, substitute rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans, and add them to the snap beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking.

View Recipe: Italian Three-Bean Salad

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