Fresh and vibrant salads are the cornerstone of summer cooking—or should I say assembling! These recipes are perfect for warm days when it’s just too hot to cook. They also work great as a side for a BBQ or potluck.
Delicious Summer Salad Recipes
Salads are just right on sweltering summer nights when you’re not even hungry but still need to have a little something. You can easily make them a meal by adding some grilled chicken or fish, just as long as you keep it simple!
The recipes below are some of my favorite summer salad recipes. Choose from an ultra-simple Cucumber Salad or go for a heartier, one-bowl meal with my Summer Cobb Salad. I love serving potato salad with burgers and always bring macaroni salad or ramen noodle salad to summer gatherings! You’re sure to find something to fit every occasion.
1. Cucumber Salad
This cucumber salad recipe could hardly be simpler to make but is so refreshing! Crunchy sliced cucumbers are dressed in a simple vinegar and sugar dressing, with fresh herbs added for extra flavor. I like to make this a little bit in advance of serving and keep it cold in the fridge until I’m ready to eat it.
2. Summer Cobb Salad
This summery take on a traditional Cobb salad is sure to please. Full of fresh vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, almonds, and creamy avocado this is a super satisfying and healthy meal. I add blackberries and raspberries for a delicious twist.
3. Corn, Avocado, and Cilantro Salad
In-season corn plus avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro makes for a salad I find it hard to stop eating! This dish works perfectly as a simple, juicy side dish at a barbecue; you can serve it alongside burgers for a healthy and fresh accompaniment. But this salad is so good I sometimes just slice up a loaf of French bread and eat salad and bread and butter for dinner—I don’t need anything else.
4. Summer Pasta Salad
As its name suggests, this is an amazing pasta salad full of summer flavors! Rotini pasta is loaded with fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and salty feta cheese then tossed with Italian dressing for a satisfying one-bowl meal that can be served at room temperature. I love this one for potlucks!
5. Potato Salad
A thick and creamy version of the summer staple, my recipe for potato salad is so tender and flavorful. I love to throw in lots of chopped fresh dill, crunchy chopped celery and red onion, paprika, sweet relish, mayo and mustard, and hard boiled eggs! You absolutely need to make this one for your next picnic gathering!
6. Macaroni Salad
Forget about buying macaroni salad, this homemade version is a cinch to put together and tastes so much better! Plus, when you make it yourself you can adapt it to your own preferences (try pickles instead of sweet relish, for example). I love it with little cubes of cheddar cheese thrown in. This recipe is a must for your 4th of July BBQ!
7. Ham Salad
Ham salad is a wonderful way to use up leftover ham, and it’s a versatile option for hot summer nights when you want something a little different, but don’t want to make a lot of effort. It’s great as a sandwich or on crackers, or you could simply top a fresh green salad with a scoop of ham salad for extra protein.
8. Antipasto Salad
A bowl of antipasto salad is a classic appetizer for good reason—it’s loaded with vegetables, made filling by the addition of meat, and is finished with lots of cheese. I think it’s hearty enough to work as a main meal, especially during the dog days of summer when cooking a big meal is the last thing you want to think about. You could throw in extra meat or top with some grilled chicken if you want a little more, but this one is really satisfying just on its own.
9. Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Here’s another super flavorful and filling salad that will go fast when you bring it to a potluck! It’s hard to go wrong when you toss pasta with ranch dressing, smoky bacon, black olives, and sharp Cheddar cheese. Serve this as a side with hot dogs or enjoy it as a standalone for a lighter dinner option.
10. Crusted Chicken Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard
This crispy chicken Cobb salad is dressed with an amazing homemade honey mustard dressing that really takes it over the top. Fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and avocado plus tender lettuce and crunchy red onions make this a memorable and satisfying meal. Perfect for summer lunches!
11. Delicious Chicken Salad
A really nice option for a summer lunch or simple dinner is chicken salad. Serve it on fresh or toasted bread for a complete meal! My version of chicken salad is creamy with mayonnaise, has a wonderful tang from fresh lemon juice, and is packed with juicy grapes and crunchy celery and apples. Add some nuts for even more crunch and you’ve got the makings of the perfect picnic basket sandwich.
12. Taco Salad
Tacos, but make it a salad! My taco salad is a satisfying meal that takes hardly any time to prep, perfect on those extra humid and hot summer nights. You could also serve this as a sort of deconstructed dip, with lots of crispy tortilla chips to scoop up the seasoned ground beef, cheese, avocado and of course, sour cream.
13. Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
I love serving this dill pickle pasta salad at BBQs—it feels like the perfect side to serve with juicy burgers that have just come off the grill! This is a unique twist on a traditional pasta salad, and I’ve added pickles and tangy pickle juice and fresh dill for lots of flavor.
14. Broccoli Salad
Broccoli salad made with raw broccoli is a healthy and delicious salad to add to your summer rotation! You’ll start with lots of fresh broccoli, then throw in bacon and sunflower seeds. Stir in some shredded cheddar and toss the whole salad in a creamy mayo-based dressing for a finishing touch. I especially love this one at cookouts!
15. Waldorf Salad
A Waldorf salad is a wonderful addition to a summer brunch! It’s made with chopped apples, juicy grapes, crunch celery and raisins. If you’re serving this later in the day you could add in some grilled chicken for a light, complete meal.
16. Ambrosia Salad
I had to include a dessert salad on this list! The ultimate decadent fruit salad, ambrosia salad is a classic recipe that mixes pineapple, mandarins, coconut, a creamy dressing, and mini marshmallows. I love to serve ambrosia salad as part of a summer brunch spread.