23 Easy Summer Salads That You’ll Actually Crave

Cool down, savor up.

By Annie Thompson

It’s hot, y’all. We’ve officially crossed over into the time of year when it’s just too steamy outside to turn the oven on. Summer is a time when meals should be as simple as they are delicious, always enjoyed with the brightest flavors of the season. Some of the easiest, most nutritious, and delightfully oven-free meals? Easy summer salads. Whether they’re topped with protein, fruit, veggies, nuts, or all of the above, easy summer salads can make the most of even the hottest days. Because let’s be honest, the last place you want to be this summer is trapped in a hot kitchen.

There are a few key elements that distinguish a summer salad from your average everyday salad. Summer salads are often lighter, sometimes filled with seasonal fruit, and are usually topped with a bright, citrusy vinaigrette that’s as cheery as the season. The best part is, your ingredients do the work for you. With all the delicious produce that’s in season this time of year, the end result will only taste like it took hours to make.

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

23 Easy Summer Salads to Make When It’s Too Hot for the Oven

the best simple green salad

The Best Simple Green Salad (Inspired by Via Carota)

Why We Love It: Possibly the most simple (and stunning) summer salad is this bowl inspired by everyone’s NYC favorite, Via Carota. It doesn’t take much—only three ingredients, to be exact. Don’t miss out on Camille’s shallot vinaigrette to pair with this bowl of green goodness.

Hero Ingredient: Fresh greens crave crunchy walnuts for a delicious textural play.

watermelon chopped greek salad

Watermelon Chopped Greek Salad

Why We Love It: Chopped Greek salad can be enjoyed all throughout the year, but there’s just something about snacking on its crisp, refreshing deliciousness during the summer that makes it a warm-weather favorite.

Hero Ingredient: Feta is a miracle in summer salads, and it’s the perfect buffer between all of the fresh, crunchy flavors this salad has to offer.

Mexican chopped salad with honey-shallot vinaigrette_easy summer salads

Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey-Shallot Vinaigrette

Why We Love It: This Mexican chopped salad is the perfect balance of nutritious ingredients and light summery flavors. Chickpeas and pistachios bring a bit of warm nuttiness that stands out when paired with crunchy cucumbers and shredded carrots.

Hero Ingredient: This honey-shallot vinaigrette is one you’ll be making every week during the summer—and beyond.

watermelon salad with cucumber, mint, feta, and lime

Watermelon Salad with Cucumber, Mint, Feta, and Lime

Why We Love It: When has watermelon ever been a bad thing? Especially in the summer? In my experience, never. Not when enjoyed by the slice, by the pool, or by the salad, as is the case with this watermelon/caprese collab. It’s delicious as a meal, appetizer, or side for grilled mains like chicken or salmon. And it’s the perfect use for any extra melon you probably have. Peel off the plastic wrap and get to cutting!

Hero Ingredient: With fresh basil, sour lime, rich olive oil, and flaky salt all elevating that juicy melon, it’d be impossible to pick just one.

masala corn salad

Masala Corn Salad (Bhutta)

Why We Love It: Corn salad is a filling and delicious dish to enjoy as a side or on its own during the summer months. (And surprise, it’s in season!) This bowl is filled with crunchy and zesty ingredients, paired with a bit of heat.

Hero Ingredient: Spice up your corn salad with freshly sliced jalapeño.

tomato, avocado, cucumber salad_easy summer salads

Tomato, Avocado, & Cucumber Salad

Why We Love It: Take about a breathtaking salad! This trio of tomato, avocado, and cucumber is the perfect balance of crunchy, savory, and sweet. Throw in your favorite spices along with fresh herbs to top. It’s just as pretty as it is delicious—perhaps more.

Hero Ingredient: Fresh cilantro is always a good idea.

grapefruit avocado salad_easy summer salads

Grapefruit, Avocado, and Golden Beet Salad with Crunchy Chickpeas and Feta

Why We Love It: This fruit salad is yet another to add to your summer salad list. Chickpeas bring a great element of protein that pair well with these fresh fruits and bright greens.

Hero Ingredient: Grapefruit is a highly underrated addition to fruit salads. It adds a beautiful bit of refreshing zest that clears the palate for whatever flavor-packed course is coming next.

green fruit salad with ricotta and herbs

Green Fruit Salad with Ricotta and Herbs

Why We Love It: Ricotta in any dish has my heart. When paired with fresh fruit, this creamy cheese becomes practically unstoppable. While it tends to lean slightly sweet, ricotta takes on the flavor of anything that joins it. These fruits, in particular, have the perfect sweetness that is balanced out by the ricotta’s creaminess.

Hero Ingredient: Peaches are one of the best fruits to enjoy during warmer weather.

pink raddichio salad_easy summer salads

Pink Radicchio Salad

Why We Love It: A more stunning salad doesn’t exist—try and change my mind. Camilla Marcus taught us the perfect way to prepare and serve this delicious leafy vegetable, and we’ve been changed ever since. The pink radicchio pairs perfectly with a variety of toppings and makes for the ideal summer table salad that will wow any crowd.

Hero Ingredient: Hazelnuts are a nutty, crunchy topping for this picture-perfect salad.

strawberry arugula salad_easy summer salads

Strawberry & Arugula Salad with Spring Herbs & Goat Cheese

Why We Love It: This strawberry and arugula salad brings all the summer vibes. Creamy goat cheese is one of my all-time favorite salad toppings—and its addition to this salad is no exception! This flavor combination is one you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

Hero Ingredient: Be sure to enjoy all of the strawberries while they’re in season! This salad is my favorite way to make it happen. (This strawberry shortcake comes in at a close second.)

Charlie Bird Farro Salad

Why We Love It: A farro salad will definitely grab everyone’s attention during summer. With a variety of fruit, nuts, and fresh herbs, farro is anything but boring and bland. The squeeze of lemon brightens up this bowl and brings a bit of tang that I’m always searching for during the hotter months.

Hero Ingredient: Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs are must-have toppings for this grain salad (and almost any salad, really).

radish and fennel salad_easy summer salads

Radish & Fennel Citrus Salad

Why We Love It: This citrus salad is a beautiful mix of bright colors and zesty flavors. The tangy citruses are balanced out by sliced avocado and a drizzle of olive oil to create a simple bowl stacked with fresh summer goodness.

Hero Ingredient: Fennel is a surprisingly sweet addition to this salad.

Thai Chicken Salad With Spicy Peanut Dressing_easy summer salads

Thai Chicken Salad With Spicy Peanut Dressing

Why We Love It: One of the best parts about this easy summer salad is that you can use leftover rotisserie chicken. Talk about easy and delicious! It also boasts creamy avocado, floral and sweet mango, crunchy peanuts, and more to drive home all the Thai flavors.

Hero Ingredient: The spicy peanut sauce drizzled over top gives new life to all that carrot, cucumber, and kale.

Roasted Corn, Chickpea, and Avocado Salad With Poblano Vinaigrette_easy summer salads

Roasted Corn, Chickpea, and Avocado Salad With Poblano Vinaigrette

Why We Love It: This big texture, big flavor chopped salad combines sweet grilled corn, char-grilled poblano peppers, and fresh-burst cherry tomatoes to create a salad you can enjoy at home or on the go. It’s also totally customizable and hardly requires a recipe at all. (We love.) Basically, this chopped salad is your oyster.

Hero Ingredient: If there’s one thing you should follow to a tee, it’s the poblano vinaigrette. It’s smoky, sweet, salty, acidic, and pretty much everything you’ll come to crave and more. You don’t want to skip a step.

Summer Pasta Salad_easy summer salads

Summer Pasta Salad

Why We Love It: Pasta salad is a classic summertime staple. We love that it’s light and refreshing, but still substantial enough to leave you satisfied. Add to it some grilled veggies, mozzarella, edamame, and kalamata olives, and the result is nothing short of perfection. It’s perfect for lunch, dinner parties, and barbecues alike, and will be a crowd favorite wherever you take it.

Hero Ingredient: Don’t be afraid to really char those veggies. It’s the caramelized edges that make this salad.

Southwestern Superfood Salad_easy summer salads

Southwestern Superfood Salad

Why We Love It: Imagine all of the flavors you love in a taco combined in salad form. Then imagine sweet summer peaches entering the mix. I only have two words to describe it: absolutely divine. It’s balanced, flavorful, and so easy to throw together for any time of day. Lean into the ease—it’s what the summer is all about, after all.

Hero Ingredient: I’m just a sucker for grilled corn. The sweetness and char it brings to the table is unmatched.

Grilled Paneer and Watermelon Salad_easy summer salads

Grilled Paneer and Watermelon Salad

Why We Love It: Prepare your melons for this fresh summer salad. Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon unite to create a whole that’s so much more than the sum of its parts. Plus, seasoned paneer brings a dose of char to perfectly counterbalance that fruity sweetness.

Hero Ingredient: Fresh mint weaves itself throughout this recipe and delivers herbal goodness on all fronts.

Burrata, Fig, & Arugula Salad_easy summer salads

Burrata, Fig, & Arugula Salad

Why We Love It: Figs are a super high-fiber fruit that you should definitely be eating this summer. Is it just me, or do they seem to elevate every dish they’re a part of? Either way, this easy summer salad introduces them to creamy burrata, candied pecans, and a simple vinaigrette that lets all those yummy components shine.

Hero Ingredient: Again, fresh mint packs a big punch in the flavor department.

mango and feta salad

Mango & Feta Salad

Why We Love It: Another fruit superstar, mango is such a fun addition to summer salads. Its sweet, tropical profile really makes it shine. And with salty feta, nutty pistachios, and fresh herbs by its side, mango is this year’s unofficial fruit of summer. I’m calling it now.

Hero Ingredient: Pistachios have always been one of my favorite nuts. Here, they bring all the crunchy texture this salad needs.

Mexican Street Corn Salad_easy summer salads

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Why We Love It: Make the most of corn season with this street corn salad that takes less than 10 minutes. (Seriously!) You get all the joys of eating decadent grilled street corn but without the side of dirty napkins and messy hands.

Hero Ingredient: Don’t be shy with that cotija cheese. The more, the merrier.

Grilled Peach and Asparagus Salad with Spicy Pepitas, Cashew Mozzarella, and Goji Chipotle Dressing_easy summer salads

Grilled Peach and Asparagus Salad with Spicy Pepitas, Cashew Mozzarella, and Goji Chipotle Dressing

Why We Love It: Like its namesake, this loaded salad has a little bit of everything. It’s delightfully decked out with grilled peaches, charred asparagus, spicy pepitas, vegan mozzarella, and the goji chipotle dressing. Proof that more is more.

Hero Ingredient: You’ll want extra of that Goji Chipotle Dressing. It doubles as a decadent dip for raw veggies.

Sunshine Detox Salad_easy summer salads

Sunshine Detox Salad

Why We Love It: A serving of this salad is storied to make you feel instantly healthier. With shredded cabbage, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, carrots, sunflower seeds, and avocado, it’s not hard to see why. The best part is that this slaw seems to get even better as it sits in the fridge, so making a big batch at the beginning of the week is definitely a good move. Grab and go or sit and savor—however you slice is, this sunshine-in-a-salad is our summer go-to.

Hero Ingredient: Tahini-orange vinaigrette is simultaneously simple and flavorful.

Chaat Masala Citrus Salad_easy summer salads

Chaat Masala Citrus Salad

Why We Love It: Citrus salad is always tasty—and even more so during the summer. When the sun is out, it feels good to eat something that’s just as bright and vibrant. And not to mention how refreshing and hydrating an orange can be! Perfectly juicy, sweet, and a little sour, this salad celebrates everything there is to love about citrus fruits.

Hero Ingredient: Avocado mellows out all that sweetness and brings just the right amount of creaminess to the mix. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be making this all summer long.