7 Refreshing Summer Salads

7 Refreshing Summer Salads

These light, tasty dishes are perfect for hot weather, BBQ’s, and picnics.

By Lorraine Allen

When the temperatures climb, there are few things less appealing than spending an afternoon in the kitchen near the oven or stove. When it’s too hot to be inside cooking, these easy-breezy dishes bring just the right balance of refreshingly light taste and healthy, satisfying eating. You can serve them with quickly seared or grilled protein, and call it a dinner!

1. Fennel and orange salad: This light, fruity dish goes well with chicken, fish, or pasta dishes. Slice the fennel and orange very thinly, and toss over a bowl of leafy greens (try butter or Bibb lettuce), and finish with a light drizzle of olive oil and some freshly squeezed lemon juice. If you’re feeling fancy, garnish with fennel fronds.

2. Watermelon, arugula and feta salad: This one is perfect for picnics, beach days or barbecues. Cube the watermelon and feta into roughly the same bite-size pieces. Toss with plenty of arugula, dress with some olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

3. German potato salad: This dish is satisfying, hearty, and a real crowd-pleaser. (And while it does require cooking, the time involved is minimal since the potatoes are small.) Boil about four cups of halved baby potatoes until fork-tender; drain and let cool. Dice three or four hard-boiled eggs and a handful of fresh chives or scallions; set aside. Stir together two tablespoons mustard with two tablespoons white-wine vinegar and 1/2 cup mayo. Toss potatoes with chopped eggs, dressing, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and chill, covered, until ready to serve.

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4. Snap peas and mint salad: Trim ends from two cups of washed snap peas, and cut each pea pod in half. Combine with lettuce and a handful of torn fresh mint. Toss with a light dressing of your choice.

5. Beet, apple, and walnut salad: Cold beets are deliciously sweet and refreshing. Slice them into half-circles if raw, or wedges if they’re cooked. Slice unpeeled apples in a similar shape and size. Add a cup of chopped toasted walnuts. In a small bowl, whisk together red wine and olive oil to make a dressing; season with salt and pepper. Serve over a bed of crunchy romaine lettuce and crumble some tangy fresh goat cheese on top.


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6. Tomato, tuna, and corn salad: This protein-packed salad is a perfect lunch or light dinner for a hot day. If you use super-fresh corn on the cob, you don’t even have to cook it first – just slice the kernels off with a sharp knife. (Otherwise you can wrap the cobs in damp paper towels and microwave for a minute or two to steam without having to use the stove.) Slice the tomatoes into thin wedges, and mix with a cup or so of drained canned tuna (or a grilled fresh tuna steak!) in a large bowl. Add corn and a handful of chopped fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper and toss with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Serve with fresh, crunchy bread on the side.

7. Carrot salad: This is a great side to almost any meal. Peel and grate carrots (about a cup per person) into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. You can add grated apples and beets to add color and flavor, but the carrots are sweet and delicious on their own, too. This dish tastes best when made ahead of time, after it has sat for a couple of hours—ideal for summer picnics!

What are your favorite summer salads?

Lorraine is a freelance parenting and food writer, and she shares her cooking adventures and family recipes at FeedingLina.com. She lives in New York with her family and one squirrel-obsessed dog. Follow her @feedingLina.

Image ©iStock.com/nitrub

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