Easy Summer Salads

With that Summer sun comes vine ripened tomatoes, crunchy corn and sweet summer veggies that give your side dishes a wonderful pop of flavor! (and color too!) I have compiled my favorite Summer Salad recipes to share with you, that I promise you will go back to summer after summer. P.S. I even threw in some fantastic easy and quick dressings at the end that you can use on your own favorites to add a punch of summer flavor.

As climates vary, please feel free to substitute any ingredients with fresh veggies locally available to you. You can’t go wrong with anything fresh and ripe!

Now, let’s get started with a simple yet classic salad (with a small twist)..

Spicy and Creamy Slaw

Ingredients

6 Servings

½small red onion or 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

3Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

½–1serrano chile or jalapeño, thinly sliced into roundsKosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1small garlic clove, finely grated

½cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt or mayonnaise

2Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1medium head of savoy or green cabbage (about 2 lb.)

½cup chopped dill or parsley

Preparation

Step 1

Combine red onion and vinegar in a small bowl; add ½–1 chile, depending on the heat of your chile and your preference; season with salt and pepper. Let sit 10 minutes. Whisk in garlic, yogurt, oil, and lemon zest and juice; set dressing aside.

Step 2

Cut cabbage in half through core. Remove core; discard. Tear leaves into 2″ irregular pieces and place in a large bowl. Season with salt and massage and scrunch firmly with your hands for a minute or so to soften. Pour reserved dressing over cabbage and toss with your hands to coat. Season with more salt if needed (cabbage can take a good amount of salt).

Step 3

Toss in dill just before serving.

Step 4

Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 12 hours ahead; cover and chill. Slaw (without dill) can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.

Grilled Mushroom Antipasto Salad

Ingredients

4–6 servings

2lb. assorted mushrooms (such as crimini, shiitake, and/or maitake), wiped clean, trimmed, torn into big pieces if large

7Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, dividedKosher salt

2Tbsp. Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1tsp. Aleppo-style pepper

1tsp. dried oregano

1garlic clove, finely grated

2oz. Parmesan, shaved

½cup Castelvetrano olives, coarsely chopped

¼cup drained Peppadew peppers in brine, coarsely chopped

Preparation

Step 1

Prepare a grill for high heat. Toss mushrooms and 3 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl to coat. Grill, turning occasionally with tongs, until lightly charred, 2–6 minutes (depending on size and type). Return to bowl; season with salt.

Step 2

Whisk vinegar, Aleppo-style pepper, oregano, garlic, and remaining 4 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl to combine; season vinaigrette with salt and black pepper. Pour over mushrooms and toss to coat. Add Parmesan, olives, and Peppadew peppers; gently toss to combine.

Summer Beans with Miso Butter

Ingredients

4 servings

¼cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2Tbsp. white miso

½serrano chile, finely grated

1½” piece ginger, peeled, finely grated

12oz. Romano, wax, and/or green beans

2tsp. extra-virgin olive oilLime wedges and toasted sesame seeds (for serving)

Preparation

Step 1

Stir butter, miso, chile, and ginger in a small bowl until smooth.

Step 2

Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Toss beans with oil in a medium bowl, then add to skillet. Cook, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Step 3

Spread miso butter on a platter. Arrange beans over. Top with sesame seeds, then squeeze lime wedges over.

Grilled Summer Squash and Red Onion with Feta

Ingredients

4 servings

½cup plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill

1garlic clove, finely grated

¼cup white wine vinegar

4medium summer squash and/or zucchini, cut lengthwise ¼” thick

1medium red onion, cut through root end into 8 wedges

2bay leavesKosher salt, freshly ground pepper

8oz. feta, crumbled into large pieces

4banana peppers from a jar, thinly sliced crosswiseGenerous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Preparation

Step 1

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; lightly oil grate. Whisk garlic, vinegar, and ½ cup oil in small bowl to combine; set marinade aside.

Step 2

Toss squash, onion, and bay leaves on a rimmed baking sheet with remaining 3 Tbsp. oil to coat; season generously with salt and black pepper.

Step 3

Arrange squash and onion on grate. Grill squash, undisturbed, until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes. Turn over and grill on second side until tender and starting to release liquid, about 2 minutes. Transfer squash back to baking sheet. Grill onion, turning occasionally, until tender and charred around the edges, about 5 minutes. Transfer back to baking sheet.

Step 4

Arrange squash, onion, bay leaves, and feta on a rimmed platter and pour reserved marinade over. Scatter banana peppers on top and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Let sit at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving.

Charred and Raw Corn Salad

Ingredients

4 servings

4Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

6ears of corn, husked, kernels cut from cobs

1small shallot, cut into rings

1red chile (such as Fresno or red jalapeño), sliced into rings

5Tbsp. fresh lime juiceKosher salt

3Tbsp. whole-milk Greek yogurt

1oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 3 Tbsp.), plus more for serving

½cup cilantro leaves with tender stems, coarsely chopped, divided

Preparation

Step 1

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Add one-third of corn kernels and cook, undisturbed, until lightly charred underneath, 1–2 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly charred all over, 2–3 minutes longer.

Step 2

Meanwhile, mix shallot, chile, lime juice, and remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl; season with salt. Let sit at least 5 minutes or up to 1 hour to let shallot soften slightly. Add charred corn, remaining corn kernels, yogurt, 1 oz. Parmesan, and half of cilantro; season with salt. Toss to combine.

Step 3

Top corn salad with more Parmesan and remaining cilantro just before serving.

BLT Salad

Ingredients

4 servings

8slices bacon

14-ounce piece rustic country-style bread

⅓cup mayonnaise

2tablespoons fresh lemon juiceKosher salt, freshly ground pepper

⅓cup olive oilPinch of sugar

¼bunch or a very small handful of chives

2romaine hearts

1pound ripe juicy tomatoes, cut into bite-size wedges or slices

1large avocado, sliced

Steps

1.

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange 8 bacon slices side by side on a small rimmed baking sheet, overlapping slightly if necessary.

2.

Bake bacon, removing sheet from oven and turning slices with tongs halfway through, until slices are deep reddish brown with crispy edges, 25–35 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425°.

3.

While bacon is cooking, cut crusts off bread; discard. Tear bread into 1″ pieces. Don’t worry if the pieces end up in different shapes and sizes. Irregular is good! You should have about 2 lightly packed cups.

→ About that whole bacon-in-the-oven thing…

4.

Transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate and blot with more paper towels to absorb excess fat. The bacon will crisp as it cools. Reserve baking sheet with bacon fat.

5.

Scatter bread on reserved baking sheet and toss with tongs until bread is evenly coated in fat.

6.

Bake bread, tossing once halfway through, until pieces are golden all over and crisp, 10–15 minutes. Let cool.

7.

Meanwhile, whisk ⅓ cup mayonnaise and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice in a medium bowl. Season with salt and lots of pepper, then slowly stream in ⅓ cup oil, whisking until dressing is thick and emulsified. Whisk in a pinch of sugar; set aside.

8.

Thinly slice enough chives to measure 2 Tbsp. and whisk into bowl with dressing.

9.

Slice remaining chives into 1″ pieces; set aside.

10.

Halve 2 romaine hearts lengthwise, trim off root ends, then cut each half in half again crosswise. Arrange lettuce pieces on a large platter or divide among individual plates. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle about a third of the dressing over top.

11.

Arrange tomatoes, avocado, and croutons over and around lettuce pieces.

12.

Break up cooled bacon with your hands into rough 1″ pieces and scatter over salad. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

13.

Sprinkle with reserved chives and serve.

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Cucumber and Onion Salad

Ingredients

8 servings

6Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced

½small red onion, thinly sliced

1tsp. kosher salt, plus more

¼cup unseasoned rice vinegar

2tsp. sugar. Freshly ground black pepper. Fresh mint leaves (for serving)

Preparation

Step 1

Toss cucumbers, onion, and 1 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. Let sit until cucumbers begin to release liquid. Gently press down on cucumbers to force out more liquid, being careful not to break apart. Remove from bowl, shaking off liquid, and place vegetables in a clean bowl. Toss with vinegar and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Top with mint.

Grilled Corn and Poblano Chile Salad

Ingredients

4 servings

Vegetable oil (for grill)

2tablespoons fresh lime juice

¾teaspoon hot sauce (such as Frank’s)Kosher salt

4ears of corn, in husk

2small poblano chiles

3tablespoons unsalted butter

2scallions, chopped

Preparation

Step 1

Prepare a grill for medium heat; oil grate. Whisk lime juice and hot sauce in a medium bowl; season with salt. Set dressing aside.

Step 2

Grill corn (still in husks) and chiles, turning occasionally, until corn is charred all over (husks will be nicely blackened and some of the kernels will become deeply browned in spots) and chiles are blackened in spots and crisp-tender, 10–12 minutes for corn and 8–10 minutes for chiles. Transfer to a platter and let cool slightly before shucking corn.

Step 3

Slather corn with butter, then cut kernels from cobs into bowl with reserved dressing. Remove seeds from chiles and chop. Add to corn along with scallions. Toss to combine; season corn salad with salt.

Jammy Pepper Pasta Salad

Ingredients

6 servings

1cup nuts (such as hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, or pistachios)

3lb. mixed bell peppers (baby, regular-size, or a mix of both)

2red Fresno chiles

1cup extra-virgin olive oil

1head of garlic, cloves separated

3large sprigs thyme

2½tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more

3tsp. sugar, divided

½cup plus 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

½red onion

1lb. rigatoni

6oz. ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta), cut into very thin planks, or crumbled feta

1cup basil leaves

Preparation

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until golden brown, 5–10 minutes depending on type of nuts. Let cool, then coarsely crush; set aside.

Step 2

Meanwhile, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise through their stems. Remove and discard any seeds and white ribs. Cut large bell peppers into 1″-thick strips and baby bell peppers in half lengthwise. Thinly slice chiles crosswise into rounds; discard stems.

Step 3

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Add peppers, chiles, garlic, thyme, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers begin to soften and are golden brown in some spots, 10–15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add ½ cup vinegar. Partially cover pot and cook, stirring every 5–10 minutes, until peppers are very soft, jammy, and browning in some spots, 35–45 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Pluck out and discard any shriveled thyme stems.

Step 4

While peppers cook, thinly slice onion and transfer to a small bowl. Add ½ tsp. salt and remaining 3 Tbsp. vinegar and 2 tsp. sugar, then toss to combine. Let sit to lightly pickle until ready to use.

Step 5

Cook rigatoni in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and add pasta to pot with peppers. Add pickled onions and their pickling liquid, then toss well to evenly coat pasta. Let cool to room temperature.

Step 6

Crumble ricotta salata into pot, then stir in reserved nuts. Tear basil into coarse pieces, add to pot, and stir until combined.

Step 7

Transfer to a large bowl and serve at room temperature, or cover and chill if you prefer to serve salad cold.

Step 8

Do Ahead: Pasta salad can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and chill.

Ultimate Caprese Salad

Ingredients

4 Servings

1pint mixed cherry tomatoes, preferably heirloom, halved

7tablespoons (or more) extra-virgin olive oil, divided Flaky sea salt

2pounds mixed medium and large tomatoes, preferably heirloom, cut into thin slices and/or wedges

8ounces buffalo mozzarella or mozzarella, room temperature, torn into pieces Coarsely ground black pepperSmall basil leaves and toasted country bread (for serving)

Preparation

Step 1

Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with salt.

Step 2

Arrange tomato slices on a platter, slightly overlapping; season generously with salt. Arrange mozzarella over tomatoes; lightly season mozzarella with salt. Spoon cherry tomatoes over salad and drizzle with 6 Tbsp. oil; season with pepper. Let stand 30 minutes to let flavors meld and release juices from tomatoes and mozzarella.

Step 3

Top salad with basil and additional salt and oil, if desired. Serve with bread alongside.

Quick and easy homemade dressings

Homemade Honey Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp grainy mustard
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Blend all ingredients together.
  2. I recommend tossing with green lettuce, berries, grape, apples, green onions and goat cheese!  Yum!

Simplest Asian Dressing

Ingredients

Makes about ½ cup

½small garlic clove, finely grated

1tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

2teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar

½cup olive oil

½teaspoon toasted sesame oilKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Step 1

Whisk garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil, then sesame oil (dressing will thicken slightly); season with salt and pepper.

Step 2

DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Transfer to a jar; cover and chill.

House Classic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

Makes about ½ cup

1small garlic clove, finely grated

2tablespoons red wine vinegar

2teaspoons Dijon mustard

½cup olive oilKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Step 1

Whisk garlic, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil until emulsified; season with salt and pepper.

Step 2

DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Transfer to a jar; cover and chill.

Creamy Caesar Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3 anchovies
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ​1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. For dressing, place anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper in blender.
  2. Blend until mixture is creamy.
  3. Add mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and oil to blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Summer Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed and cut in half (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon of mint cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves cut into thin strips

Directions

  1. Rub the cut side of the garlic all over the bottom of a large salad bowl or mixing bowl. Discard the garlic.
  2. Add the vinegar and the salt to the bowl. Whisk until the salt melts.
  3. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and then the water. It is the water that makes this dressing super light.
  4. Pile the greens on top of the dressing and just before you are ready to eat the salad, toss with the herbs.

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