30 Great Summer Salad Recipes for Hot Days

Fresh, Crunchy, and Cooling

Avocado, Tomato, and Mozzarella Caprese Salad

The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

Summer days are meant for salads. Whether you're looking for refreshing cookout and barbecue sides, need a potluck or picnic idea, want to serve an elegant starter at your summer soirees, or are seeking easy meals to make on those days when it's too hot to turn on the oven, there's an option here to try. You'll find great ideas here for simple salads to enjoy on lazy summer days and evenings at home, plus, company-worthy salads you can make when you entertain guests.

  • 01 of 30

    Burrata Salad

    Burrata Salad

    Elaine Lemm

    Creamy burrata cheese, juicy grilled nectarines, and an herbaceous pesto dressing add up to heaven on a plate. Serve this stunning, easy-to-assemble salad for summer brunches, plating it with eggs and toast. A mimosa on the side would be a nice touch.

  • 02 of 30

    Green Salad With Scallion Mustard Vinaigrette

    Green Salad With Scallion Mustard Vinaigrette

    The Spruce/Katarina Zunic

    Consider this your go-to tossed green salad for summer dinner parties. Dressed in an elegant scallion vinaigrette with brown mustard, it's an excellent way to wake up the palate before a meal without filling you up too much.

  • 03 of 30

    Avocado, Tomato, and Mozzarella Caprese Salad

    Avocado, Tomato, and Mozzarella Caprese Salad

    The Spruce/Emily Hawkes

    Avocados add extra creaminess to a caprese salad of fresh mozzarella cheese, aromatic basil leaves, and ripe red tomatoes. Sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar are all that's needed to highlight this twist on a classic.

  • 04 of 30

    Loaded Chickpea Tabbouleh

    Loaded Chickpea Tabbouleh

    Anita Schecter

    Serve easy tabbouleh salad with falafel, pita bread, and a pitcher of mint-infused lemonade for a fabulous Middle-Eastern inspired patio lunch this summer. It's full of healthy ingredients, including nutty bulgur, bright fresh herbs, chickpeas, chopped raw veggies, and simple seasonings.

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  • 05 of 30

    Shrimp Avocado Salad

    Shrimp Avocado Salad

    The Spruce Eats/Jennifer Perillo

    Pretty, citrusy, and ready in a flash, this light, refreshing shrimp and avocado salad is everything you want in a summer starter. Stop cooking the shrimp just when they turn pink and dress the salad just before serving for perfect tender shellfish.

  • 06 of 30

    Carolina Slaw

    Carolina Slaw

    The Spruce

    What would summer barbecues be without at least one giant bowl of crunchy coleslaw? Southern-style Carolina slaw is vinegar-based, so you don't have to fuss over it spoiling on warmer days. You cook the sweet and tangy dressing briefly first, before pouring it over shredded and chopped vegetables.

  • 07 of 30

    Chopped Salad With Ham and Balsamic Vinaigrette

    Chopped Salad With Ham and Balsamic Vinaigrette

    Michelle Tran/EyeEm/Getty Images

    A hearty chopped salad with ham is a good meal choice for hot summer days and evenings when you don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Every bite is different, with a mix of meat, cheese, legumes, nuts, tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, and other crunchy vegetables.

  • 08 of 30

    California Grilled Chicken Salad

    California Grilled Chicken Salad

    Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    California chicken salad makes a fantastic brown bag lunch option or a weekend brunch salad when guests are expected. Marinating the chicken in the same dressing you use on greens keeps it nice and juicy when grilled and gives it a consistent flavor.

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  • 09 of 30

    Cold 5-Spice Zucchini and Chicken Noodle Salad

    Cold 5-Spice Zucchini and Chicken Noodle Salad

    Alice Martini

    Spiralized zucchini "noodles" have a satisfying texture that's similar to pasta, without all the calories and carbs. Turn them into a chilled summer salad that's perfect for cookouts, by tossing with Chinese five spice powder, cooked chicken, and a few other ingredients.

  • 10 of 30

    Grilled Watermelon Salad with Mint

    Grilled Watermelon Salad with Mint

    Alexandra Grablewski/Getty Images

    Watermelon and cookouts are made for each other. Grilling the fruit adds a smoky dimension that beautifully complements flame-roasted meats, but this maple and mint-infused salad also makes an easy, refreshing side dish for grilled fish.

  • 11 of 30

    Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad

    Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad

    Diana Rattray

    Win all the summer potlucks with this festive creamy, tri-color potato salad that includes chopped hard-boiled eggs. It's a great pick for Fourth of July parties and picnics. Make it up to a day ahead and keep well-chilled until serving.

  • 12 of 30

    Spiced Up Grilled Eggplant Salad

    Spiced Up Grilled Eggplant Salad

    Nancy Lopez-McHugh

    Grilled eggplant has a rich flavor and meaty texture that makes this salad an excellent vegetarian option at barbecues. To remove the bitterness from eggplant, slice and salt them first and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes before grilling.

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  • 13 of 30

    Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad With Cilantro Dressing

    Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad With Cilantro Dressing

    Laurel Randolph

    Shaved asparagus spears, peppery arugula greens, and edamame make an elegant flavor combination. Parmesan cheese, crispy breadcrumbs, and cilantro dressing take this gorgeous, green salad over the top. Serve it for a sophisticated starter at summer dinner parties.

  • 14 of 30

    Summer Seafood Pasta Salad

    Summer Seafood Pasta Salad

    mphillips007/Getty Images

    Elegant summer soirees call for this sophisticated seafood pasta salad. Tender pasta spirals and succulent seafood morsels (use shrimp, crab, lobster, or any combination of shellfish you can find) are easy to prepare as an impressive starter course.

  • 15 of 30

    Cucumber Pineapple Thai Salad

    Cucumber Pineapple Thai Salad

    The Spruce/D.Schmidt

    Sweet, sour, and refreshing, this vibrant, Thai-inspired summer salad looks and tastes gourmet, but takes little time and effort to make. It makes a satisfying lunch on its own, thanks to a generous amount of peanuts and pairs well with grilled meats at cookouts.

  • 16 of 30

    Fresh Corn Salad

    Fresh Corn Salad

    alexbai/Getty Images

    Fresh corn is one of the best things about summer. Slice the raw kernels right off the cob for using in a sweet and crunchy salad with other chopped fresh vegetables and spicy, fresh basil leaves. Serve alongside burgers and veggie burgers, or grilled chicken breasts.

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  • 17 of 30

    Corpus Christi Salad

    Corpus Christi Salad

    Robin Grose

    Corpus Christi salad was conceived in Central Mexico to celebrate the region's fresh seasonal produce. With its colorful medley of summer squash, corn, cucumber, apple, peach, and avocado, this salad makes a decorative and delicious starter for your outdoor parties.

  • 18 of 30

    Grilled Caesar Salad

    Grilled Caesar Salad

    Anita Schecter

    Everyone's favorite restaurant salad goes to the grill in this modern update. A grilled Caesar salad is special enough to serve at your swankiest summer shindigs and the touch of smoke from the grill pairs wonderfully with its classic, garlicky dressing.

  • 19 of 30

    Raw Beet Green Salad

    Raw Beet Green Salad

    Crystal Cartier/Getty Images

    Save the greens from fresh beets and use them in a nutritious, palate-cleansing raw greens salad. Allow the bitter greens to marinate in the simple balsamic dressing for a while before serving, so they soften up and take on some sweetness.

  • 20 of 30

    Grilled Pear and Sweet Potato Salad

    Grilled Pear and Sweet Potato Salad

    Regarding BBQ, Inc.

    Sweet and smoky grilled pears and tender sweet potatoes are a match made in heaven in this warm summer salad that you serve over baby greens with an easy vinaigrette dressing. Tangy feta cheese and crunchy pecans round out the flavors and textures.

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  • 21 of 30

    Classic Greek Salad With Lemon Garlic Dressing

    Classic Greek Salad With Lemon Garlic Dressing

    Image Source/Getty Images

    Picnic salads don't get any easier or more classic than crunchy Greek salad with a bright, garlicky olive oil and oregano dressing. Don't skimp on the feta cheese, but feel free to leave out the lettuce for a village-style salad that won't wilt.

  • 22 of 30

    Tomato and Asparagus Fattoush Salad

    Tomato and Asparagus Fattoush Salad

    Anita Schecter

    Fattoush is the Middle Eastern version of bread salad and a cousin to Italian panzanella. It includes toasted pita bread pieces and quickly-sauteed vegetables flavored with olive oil, garlic, and simple seasonings. You add the bread to the skillet with veggies, where it softens and soaks up the cooking juices.

  • 23 of 30

    Classic Cobb Salad

    Classic Cobb Salad

    sbrogan/Getty Images

    Cobb salad is a popular addition to summer salad buffets and makes a hearty lunch on its own. There's something in it for everyone to like, with crispy bacon, hard-cooked eggs, chunks of chicken, avocado, tomato, Romaine lettuce leaves, and tangy Roquefort cheese.

  • 24 of 30

    Grilled Purple Salad

    Grilled Purple Salad

    Laurel Randolph

    The deep purple color palette of this warm cabbage, potato, and carrot salad makes it a stylish addition to your summer table. Parboiling the potatoes before giving them a turn on the grill yields spuds with tender and airy insides, and nicely crispy outsides.

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  • 25 of 30

    Vegan Pasta Salad

    Fat-Free Vegan Pasta Salad

    The Spruce

    Create a vegan pasta salad for lunches with friends this summer or pack it in your lunch tote for work. It has plenty of flavor, thanks to artichoke hearts, onion, bell peppers, green beans, fresh basil, and black olives, all tossed in low-calorie Italian dressing.

  • 26 of 30

    Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

    Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

    The Spruce/Diana Rattray

    Serve this tasty roasted cauliflower and quinoa salad warm or cold. You can pile it onto a bed of mixed baby greens or spinach leaves for a filling vegetarian lunch. Toasted sliced almonds add extra flavor and a satisfying crunch.

  • 27 of 30

    Spanish Mixed Green Salad With Tuna and Olives

    Spanish Mixed Green Salad With Tuna and Olives

    Rick Lew/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Spanish-style "ensalata mixta" with tuna and olives makes a satisfying brown bag lunch for summer days at work when you want to avoid all the carbs of sandwiches. It's light enough to be virtuous, but packs plenty of protein to help you avoid an afternoon energy slump.

  • 28 of 30

    Green Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Kamut

    Green Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Kamut

    Katie Workman/themom100.com

    It takes less than 10 minutes to throw together this healthy salad with crisp-tender green beans, juicy tomatoes, and nutty-tasting kamut grains. Serve it warm or cold as a main dish salad at lunch, adding cooked chicken or shrimp on top, if you like, for extra protein.

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  • 29 of 30

    Tex-Mex Black Bean and Corn Salad

    Tex-Mex Black Bean and Corn Salad

    Diana Rattray

    Protein-rich bean salads are excellent options for summer picnics and barbecues. Add this Tex-Mex version to plates with burgers and sausages. Make it up to two days ahead, storing in the fridge until ready to serve.

  • 30 of 30

    Easy Thai Fruit Salad

    Easy Thai Fruit Salad

    D.Schmidt

    Create a festive, vegan-friendly tropical fruit salad bowl for Fourth of July gatherings and other summer parties. Carve out a pineapple half and fill it with your choice of fruits, tossing them quickly beforehand in a sweet coconut-lime dressing.