Brined Shrimp With Charred Corn Salad
Seared shrimp with a quick spice rub pairs with pan-charred summer vegetables in this simple dish that pops with fresh flavor. A little white wine vinegar balances the sweetness of the caramelized veggies and also complements the shrimp.
Grilled Romaine Salad With Crab
Welcome to grilled salad season. A quick char adds smoky depth and a glossy finish to crisp romaine hearts, making them the perfect base for fresh fixings. You'll get smokier results on an outdoor grill, but a stovetop grill pan will give a subtler effect. Our guacamole dressing is a simple riff on green goddess, mastering the less-is-more summer motif. If you can't find crab, use frozen, thawed shrimp instead.
Sun Gold Tomato Caprese Salad
We use young heirloom Cherokee Purple tomatoes to balance the intense sweetness of Sun Golds with a little acid and umami depth, but other red cherry tomatoes will work well also.
Tart Apple-Hazelnut Chicken Salad
Here's a sumptuous new spin on the classic. This quick, make-ahead salad comes from Cooking That Counts: 1,200- to 1,500-Calorie Meal Plans to Lose Weight Deliciously ($22, Oxmoor House). Serve it over a bed of greens or with a side of veggies and multigrain crackers.
Kale Buttermilk Caesar with Frizzled Eggs
Classic salads like Caesar don't go out of style, but they can certainly be updated. We swap romaine for lacinato kale and use tangy buttermilk in place of mayo. A second hit of anchovy in the hot oil gives the croutons extra savory depth as they toast in the pan.
Summery Chickpea Salad
This fresh seasonal salad is ridiculously easy to put together and quite versatile. Serve our suggested amount as a side salad with grilled steak, chicken, or fish, or eat a double portion as a main dish. You can also stick with the serving size listed here and add canned oil-packed tuna or sliced rotisserie chicken breast for a filling lunch. Leftovers fare well as is, tucked into tacos, or added to whole-grain salad bowls.
Curried Cauliflower Salad with Yogurt
Composed salads are more thoughtful than fussy; this one couldn't be easier to assemble. They're also more about what's left out (no ubiquitous cherry tomatoes or carrots) than what's included. Every ingredient here fits the Indian-inspired theme.
Arugula, Egg, and Charred Asparagus Salad
Just a hint of char on the asparagus adds fantastic complexity to this simple 5-ingredient spring salad. Look for medium stalks rather than pencil-thin ones—those would char and dry out too quickly. A soft-boiled egg adds protein and richness; let the slightly runny yolks mingle with the rest of the salad before enjoying. Whole-milk Greek yogurt has a lusciousness and milder tang than lower-fat yogurt. It's the perfect binder for the lemony dressing. Serve with a slice of multigrain bread spread with goat cheese and a dash of cracked black pepper.
Maple-Bacon Kale Salad
Here's a way to make the most of craveable flavors like bacon and maple, in a dish that's still got plenty of nutritional value. The bacon drippings go into the salad dressing, along with mustard, vinegar, and maple syrup for a simple side dish that pairs well with grains, veggies, pastas, or proteins. It's low in sodium and sat fat, but tastes luxurious!
Shrimp With Grilled Citrus and Leek Relish
Drew Curren, chef-partner of Elm Restaurant Group in Austin, cooks both the shrimp and the relish on a grill at his Texas restaurant. If the weather is mild enough for you to grill, live-fire cooking makes this dish even more delicious, adding a hint of smoky flavor. Roll the citrus between your palm and the cutting board before slicing and juicing—it crushes the pulp a little and makes it easier to extract juice. The 16-20 count for shrimp refers to how many shrimp make a pound, which is helpful since the designations “medium,” “large,” and “extra-large” can vary from market to market. A quality, fruity, and grassy olive oil is best here to bring a touch of velvety richness to the dressing.
Spring Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Bacon
A big batch of Ginger-Coconut Quinoa forms the base of this filling spring salad that's packed with fresh vegetables and herbs.
California Steak Salad
This salad is ideal for cold grilled steak, as reheating may overcook the meat or cause the basil and arugula to wilt. Grilling the red onion adds another layer of char and a bit of sweetness to counter the tartness of the vinaigrette.
Burger Patty Salad
We love the richness that a little ground lamb offers, but you can use all beef or even ground turkey instead.
Cheesy Beef Patties with Tomato-Cucumber Salad
This deconstructed take on a cheeseburger puts some of the season's best and most abundant produce in the spotlight with a simple, dilly tomato cucumber salad. Whip it up for an easy weeknight dinner—we cook the patties in a skillet but you could also char them on the grill.
Chicken Salad with Bok Choy, Almonds, and Apricots
Leftover chicken makes a perfect hearty protein for a quick, no cook lunch. Here, we combine it with sliced radishes, baby bok choy, and dried apricots, for a delicious Asian salad packed with fresh flavor.
Vietnamese Pork Salad
Think of this impressive salad as a deconstructed version of a spring roll. Rice noodles cook in just 2 minutes; be sure to drain and rinse promptly with cold water so they don't overcook.
Bacon, Egg, and Kale Breakfast Salad
Based loosely on the flavors of a BLT, this salad is hearty and light at the same time. Don’t worry if it feels like you don’t have a lot of dressing; the luscious golden yolk makes a creamy sauce in the bowl.
Watermelon and Arugula Chicken Salad
If watermelon wedges are a mainstay at your summer cookouts, try dicing for this instant, gorgeous salad. The sweetness of the fruit pairs beautifully with the smoky rotisserie chicken and fresh mint to create a summertime staple that will keep the family asking for seconds.
Fried Egg and Crunchy Breadcrumb Breakfast Salad
Whole-grain rye bread is so flavorful on its own and adds a special lift to our first salad. You can make the toasted breadcrumbs up to two days ahead; just store in an airtight container or zip-top bag until you’re ready for them.
Seared Steak with Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad
For a finishing touch of color and light, herby flavor, garnish the dish with chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.
Grapefruit, Avocado, and Prosciutto Breakfast Salad
Bright, refreshing grapefruit pairs surprisingly well with nutty-earthy toasted sesame oil. This meal is full of satiating heart-healthy fats that will keep you full for a long time.
Grilled Watermelon and Halloumi Salad with Minty Green Beans
If your farmers' market doesn't have slender haricots verts, grab a handful of regular green beans and cook them a couple of minutes longer. Halloumi is a wonderfully salty-nutty cheese that's firm enough to stand up to grilling; if you can't find it, use ricotta salata or queso fresco.
Perfect Pork Tenderloin
Think of this refreshing salad as a deconstructed spring roll: cool rice noodles, crisp vegetables, and a sweet-and-spicy vinaigrette instead of a dipping sauce. Top it all off with savory stir-fried pork. Look for brown rice noodles on the Asian foods aisle of your supermarket or in your local Asian market. We love that they offer up whole-grain goodness, and, once cooked, they’re pretty much indistinguishable from white rice noodles. If you're unfamiliar with fish sauce, you'll find it on the Asian foods aisle, too. We find it to be indispensable in the kitchen, lending savory depth to all kinds of dishes; try a splash in meatloaf or burgers; guacamole; meat or chicken marinades; or spaghetti sauce.
Pomegranate-Farro Breakfast Salad with Honey Ricotta
Farro, an ancient whole grain similar to quinoa, packs a hearty crunch in this simple breakfast salad. Honey adds a bright, sweetness to play wonderfully with the creamy ricotta cheese. For a tangier citrus flavor, go with lemon; for more floral, sweet notes, try tangerine. To keep prep simple, use purchased pomegranate arils from the produce section, or pre-prep a fresh pomegranate the night before.
Black and Blue Salad
All the components of a steak house-stye dinner in a simple, low-calorie main dish salad. And it is ready in less than 20 minutes.
Herbed Shrimp With Tomato-Spinach Salad
Fresh herbs turn a simple Mediterranean salad into a summertime stunner.
Apple-Sunchoke Salad With Smoked Trout and Cider Vinaigrette
Sunchokes, the knobby, thin-skinned tubers also misleadingly referred to as Jerusalem artichokes (they're not artichokes and have nothing to do with Jerusalem), offer beguilingly nutty, sweet flavor. North Carolina chef Scott Crawford (of Standard Foods in Raleigh, NC) makes these root veggies shine in this elegant salad featuring 2 apple varieties—one sweet and one tart—and salty smoked trout.
Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad
The single anchovy fillet lends umami depth to the dressing without giving it any sort of strong fishy flavor.
Thai Steak Salad
A combination of fresh herbs—mint, cilantro, and basil—impart delicious fresh flavor. This salad would also be delicious with grilled chicken or lamb.
Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad
Enjoy the tasty combination of peppery arugula and herbed shrimp in this delectable, protein-filled salad.
Spicy Basil-Beef Salad
If regular Italian–or Genovese–basil is all you can find, it'll work fine. However, it's worth searching out a few varieties, such as purple, Thai, or lemon basil. Using a mix of varieties improves the salad by adding visual interest and nuanced flavors. If you can't find hanger steak, substitute flank instead.
Spicy Crab-Papaya Salad
Jalapeño gives this tropical salad a real kick, while the papaya and the crab offer an interesting, savory-sweet combo. The mild dressing lets the ingredients take front stage—and the whole thing keeps well in a fridge, and can be taken to work the next day.
Melon Salad with Prosciutto
Salty cheese and ham accent the sweet fruit in this refreshing main-dish salad, a perfect meal on a warm spring day.
Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad With Chicken
This colorful orzo and chicken main-dish salad is packed with an assortment of chopped fresh vegetables and tossed with a tangy lemon dressing.
Stone Fruit Chicken-Rice Salad
Chicken is pure lean protein (use a good brand for chickeny flavor). Cherries and nectarines lend a sweet-tart counterpoint. Brown rice adds whole-grain goodness.