Bursting with seasonal flavor, this Summer Salad recipe makes the most of summer’s fresh produce! Peppery arugula is tossed with fresh, buttery corn, strawberries, cucumber, and more to make a refreshing hot-weather dish.
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Salad is always welcome at my table, and during the summer months I just can’t get enough! It’s the perfect way to showcase seasonal produce, and this summer salad is truly special. I love to bring it to neighborhood potlucks and sometimes I’ll double the recipe and serve it for a simple dinner along with a baguette. You can add even more fresh vegetables if you want!
Summer Salad Recipe
So, what makes a salad a “summer salad”? In my opinion, there has to be some fruit thrown in. For my summer salad recipe, I add vibrantly red sliced strawberries for a hint of sweet juiciness. Corn kernels are sauteed in butter to bring out their flavor, and lots of creamy avocado balances out the slight spiciness of the arugula that serves as a green backdrop. You’ll also find summer staples like cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Salty feta cheese brings it all together.
And the dressing? It could be not be simpler! You can whip up the dressing for this summer salad right in the bowl you plan to serve it in, which is such a bonus. Add toasted nuts or sunflower seeds for crunch and protein, or keep to the recipe as written. This is sure to become a family favorite—I know it is one of my favorites and I’ll definitely be making it all summer long.
Ingredients for Summer Salad
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Butter – Unsalted butter is best in this salad.
- Corn – You’ll use fresh corn from a cob for this recipe.
- Olive oil – I like extra-virgin olive oil.
- Vinegar – You can use sherry or red wine vinegar.
- Salt – I prefer to use kosher salt.
- Black pepper
- Strawberries – Try to use ripe but firm strawberries for this salad.
- Feta cheese – You can buy a block of feta or feta crumbles.
- Cherry tomatoes – You can substitute grape tomatoes.
- Cucumber – Use an English cucumber, which is seedless, or a regular cucumber and remove the seeds.
- Arugula – Swap in baby spinach if you can’t get arugula.
- Basil – Fresh basil leaves are used for this salad.
I think this salad is so perfect for summer as it’s written, but you can definitely change things up if you feel like it. Here are a few variation ideas:
- Add nuts. Toasted nuts like walnuts or almonds are always welcome in a salad!
- Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Raw or roasted sunflower seeds make for a wonderful crunch and add a nice nutty flavor.
- Substitute baby spinach for the arugula. If you wish, you could make this a spinach salad by swapping out the arugula for baby spinach. You could also do a combination of spinach and arugula leaves if you like.
- Use a different fruit, or add more fruit. Blueberries or raspberries would be lovely in this salad in place of the strawberries and will still add a summery fruit flavor.
- Swap out the feta. If you like, try using fresh mozzarella—not shredded mozzarella—in place of the feta cheese.
How to Make Summer Salad
- Cook the corn: Add the butter to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the corn kernels and saute for 5 to 6 minutes until tender and starting to color slightly. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
- Make the dressing and salad: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the remaining ingredients, then gently toss together until everything is coated with the dressing. Serve immediately.
If you don’t have a cob of corn, you can substitute frozen corn in a pinch (I prefer the flavor of fresh corn in this salad but frozen is nearly as good). Cook the frozen corn the same way as you’d cook the fresh corn, but cook it a little longer to make sure it’s cooked through.
How to Store Summer Salad
Salad tastes best on the day that it’s made, but if you have leftovers you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Summer salad goes with so many dishes! You can serve it at a casual weeknight dinner or bring it to a BBQ or potluck. Here are some of my favorite dishes to serve summer salad with:
- Pasta. Pasta is always a great main meal choice when you make a salad. Some of my favorite pasta dishes that would be delicious served with a summer salad include Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta, One-Skillet Creamy Tomato Italian Sausage Pasta, or Crock Pot Lasagna.
- Grilled meat. A platter of Grilled BBQ Chicken needs just a summer salad to make a complete meal. Or simply grill a chicken breast—or try my Easy Marinated Grilled Chicken Tenders—or a steak to serve with summer salad for a quick and easy summer meal.
- Seafood. My Pesto Salmon would be amazing served with a summer salad! Or serve salad alongside my Easy Shrimp Tacos to round out your meal with fresh vegetables.
- A pasta salad. If it’s too hot to think about eating much, I suggest serving a few cold salads for dinner! Try my Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad, Italian Pasta Salad, Dill Pickle Pasta Salad, or Easy Pasta Salad recipes.
A summer salad is a fresh salad that incorporates a lot of seasonal ingredients like cucumber, fruit, tomatoes, and more.
A salad typically consists of raw greens, vegetables and toppings. It is served mixed or topped with a dressing.
Leafy greens make a great base for a fresh salad! These can include spinach and baby spinach, romaine lettuce, baby kale, butter lettuce and other lettuces, and arugula.
Summer Salad Recipe
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 ear corn, shucked and kernels cut from the cob
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed and cut into quarters
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 ½ cups fresh arugula
- ¼ cup fresh basil, minced
- Add the butter to a saucepan over medium high heat. Once heated, add the corn kernels and saute for 5 to 6 minutes until tender and starting to color slightly. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the remaining ingredients, then gently toss together until everything is coated with the dressing. Serve immediately.