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15 Salad Recipes to Shake Up Your Summer Meals

Toss your usual salad routine with these fun and innovative twists.
salad summer Salads

Salads are a great way to get a meal on the table quickly without a lot of cooking. They’re especially convenient during those hot summer months when we’re craving ways to cool down. And while both Caesars and Cobbs are the champions of salad recipes—for good reason—it’s the perfect time of year to try something new.  

From a Greek-inspired make-ahead salad that tastes like a seaside vacation to a famous Louisiana classic reimagined in bowl form, this collection of salad recipes will push the boundaries of what you thought a bowl of greens could be and keep your family excited all summer long. 

Taco Salad in Tortilla Bowls 

Turn what could be just another Taco Tuesday on its head by serving these family-friendly salads instead. The recipe calls for toasting the tortilla bowls from scratch, which is easier than you’d think. Then, each is piled high with all the fixings like beans, corn, lettuce, tomatoes, taco-seasoned turkey, and more. Plus, individual bowls also mean everyone can customize to their heart’s content—from mild for the kids to extra hot sauce and pickled jalapeños for the adults. 

Get the recipe: Taco Salad in Tortilla Bowls 

Grilled Chopped Salad with Chicken   

Step aside poached chicken and raw veggies—there’s a new chopped salad recipe in town. Grilling all the usual suspects, like chicken, peppers, and tomatoes, brings the signature grill marks and infuses everything with a slight smokey char. Pre-marinated chicken skewers, bottled Italian dressing, and pre-made hard-boiled eggs let you shortcut lots of prep work so you can get right to eating, making this an easy option for any night of the week. 

Get the recipe: Grilled Chopped Salad with Chicken 

Grilled Salad Pizza with Prosciutto 

Why choose between salad and pizza when you can have both? Placing this simple yet elegant spinach and arugula salad on top of a whole wheat pizza is a great way to turn what could be a side into a main course. Grilling the store-bought crust as opposed to baking it heightens the textural contrast between the crunchy exterior and pillowy soft insides. Top it off with prosciutto and Parmesan for a real winner.  

Get the recipe: Grilled Salad Pizza with Prosciutto 

Bloody Mary Panzanella Salad   

Channel the briny spirit of a Bloody Mary cocktail into your salad bowl with this riff on an Italian Panzanella. This signature drink gets reimagined as a sultry, spicy dressing that soaks into the toasted bread cubes. At the same time, the celery, red onion, and olives get upgraded from garnishes to leading roles. It’s the ideal dish for rounding out a brunch menu or as a bold side dish all summer long.  

Get the recipe: Bloody Mary Panzanella Salad 

Greek Pasta Salad with Shrimp 

This summery pasta salad recipe highlights all the bright flavors of a beach vacation along the Mediterranean. Thick and creamy tzatziki is perfect for heartier salads, coating every bite of pasta and shrimp with bright notes of garlic and lemon. Finished off with some fresh dill and crumbled feta, it’s perfect for picnics or a light, satisfying lunch. 

Get the recipe: Greek Pasta Salad with Shrimp 

Layered Muffuletta Salad 

Salads are a great canvas for exploring classic flavor profiles in a new and lighter way, and that’s certainly the case behind this ode to the iconic New Orleans sandwich. Crunchy croutons instead of sandwich bread allow for all the filling ingredients of a muffuletta to shine through with layers of salami, ham, cheese, peppers, and olives.  

Get the recipe: Layered Muffuletta Salad 

Farro Salad with Cherries, Cucumber, and Mint 

Grain salad recipes offer a refreshing change of pace from the monotony of standard greens and are a delightful way to enjoy seasonal produce. Bookmark this recipe for peak cherry season when they are sweet, plump, and bursting with juice. Cooling mint and cucumber with creamy goat cheese makes for a perfect counterpart for some grilled chicken and a glass of wine on a warm summer’s night.  

Get the recipe: Farro Salad with Cherries, Cucumber and Mint 

Ramen Noodle Salad with Baked Tofu 

Instant ramen has way more versatility than you might think, especially when you skip the seasoning packets and turn the noodles into this easy plant-based meal. Softening the noodles in a Thai-inspired peanut dressing means they absorb all that flavor without you having to turn on the stove. Topped with crispy baked tofu, toasted almonds, and mandarin oranges, this unexpected salad recipe isn’t skimping on flavor. 

Get the recipe: Ramen Noodle Salad with Baked Tofu 

Charcuterie Salad 

While we could graze from a cheese and meat board every night of the week, this spinach salad gets all our favorite flavors in one bowl. The usual suspects are here like prosciutto, salami, olives, cheddar, and blue cheese. The clever use of fig jam brings some sweetness to an easy homemade vinaigrette that helps balance the salty ingredients. To easily make this vegetarian-friendly, omit the meats and swap in some candied walnuts or spiced almonds for a different source of protein.

Get the recipe: Charcuterie Salad

BBQ Chicken and Corn Salad 

This salad recipe brings the best of a backyard summer barbecue into one bowl. The grilled barbecue chicken and the creamy onion dressing deliver an irresistible sweet and salty pairing. Add grape tomatoes, hearty black beans, creamy avocados, and slightly charred corn, and you have the makings of a well-balanced meal that you can pull together in just 30 minutes. 

Get the recipe: BBQ Chicken and Corn Salad 

Layered Southern Cornbread Salad   

This show-stopping Southern centerpiece will be the talk of any dinner with its distinctive presentation. Using store-bought cornbread, pre-shredded cheese, and ready-made dressing lets you bypass almost all the prep work and make this salad a weeknight opportunity. While it will taste just as good once it’s all tossed together, try using a glass bowl or a trifle dish so you can show off all the gorgeous layers of beans, tomatoes, onion, pepper, cheese, and toasty cornbread. 

Get the recipe: Layered Southern Cornbread Salad 

Grilled Steak Panzanella Salad 

Like an American steakhouse classic that studied abroad in Italy, grilled zucchini and strips of medium-rare steak punch up a traditional Panzanella to make it a robust and flavorful meal. Pop the flank steak into the easy soy-garlic marinade right when you get home from the market, and it will be ready to grill when you make dinner the following night. A drizzle of peppercorn salad dressing, juicy tomatoes, and toasted ciabatta croutons complete the dish.  

Get the recipe: Grilled Steak Panzanella Salad 

Egg Roll Noodle Salad 

Deconstructing a Chinese takeout favorite leads to this fun plant-based noodle salad. Baking the egg roll wrappers rather than frying them makes for a garnish that’s significantly lighter, and lets the filling become the focus. Bean sprouts, edamame, and vegetable slaw give this dish lots of flavor that can hold up to the sesame-ginger dressing. 

Get the recipe: Egg Roll Noodle Salad 

Crispy Rice and Pork Salad 

We promise you’ve never had rice like this, and after you try the first bite there’s no going back. Letting the rice cook undisturbed in a single layer creates a glorious golden crust and produces crispy bites of rice that bring the crunch to this Asian-inspired salad. The base of shredded cabbage and vegetables gets tossed with some spiced ground pork for a bright and refreshing weeknight meal. 

Get the recipe: Crispy Rice and Pork Salad 

Grilled Shrimp Po’boy Wedges  

Simply grilled shrimp is doctored up with Cajun seasoning and plated alongside juicy tomatoes in grilled lettuce cups for a twist on the New Orleans favorite. Crispy buttered breadcrumbs bring an element of crunch, and everything is topped off with a spicy ranch dressing in these hand-held salad wedges.  

Get the recipe: Grilled Shrimp Po’boy Wedge

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