41 Summer Salad Recipes That Are Perfect for Dinner
Summer is the perfect time to make a delicious salad for dinner. Fresh produce like tomatoes, zucchini and corn are flavorful additions to hearty proteins like chicken, lobster and salmon. Recipes like Crunchy Chicken & Mango Salad and Tomato & Onion Salad with Crispy Tofu are bright, healthy and a great choice for a light, summer dinner.
Crunchy Chicken & Mango Salad
This Asian-inspired dinner salad has terrific crunch, thanks to sugar snap peas and napa cabbage. Give the dressing a kick of heat by adding a bit of sambal oelek, an Indonesian hot sauce that you can find in most large supermarkets and Asian grocery stores.
Chopped Cobb Salad
This single-serving recipe for Cobb salad swaps chicken in for bacon, which makes it a great source of protein for lunch. If you prefer another salad dressing, feel free to use that instead of our honey-mustard vinaigrette.
Chicken & Kale Taco Salad with Jalapeño-Avocado Ranch
This healthy, super-fast salad recipe swaps out romaine for kale, giving you more than 10 times the vitamin C. Easy flavor hacks like store-bought ranch and pickled jalapeños help make a creamy, tangy and spicy dressing you'll want to drizzle on everything from salad to sliced veggies and shredded poached chicken.
Tomato, Cucumber & White-Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
This no-cook bean salad is a delicious way to use summer's best cherry or grape tomatoes and juicy cucumbers for a light dinner or lunch. Fresh basil elevates an easy vinaigrette recipe that dresses up this simple salad into something extraordinary.
Lobster Niçoise Salad
Steamed lobster is a luxurious swap for tuna in this otherwise-classic, veggie-loaded Niçoise salad. In a pinch--or if you don't want to deal with a giant pot of boiling water on a steamy summer day--many supermarkets have freshly picked lobster meat at their seafood counter or in the freezer case. Serve with a warm baguette for lunch or dinner.
Tomato & Onion Salad with Crispy Tofu
Tofu definitely benefits from a marinade, in this case lemon juice, olive oil and fresh herbs. In this vegetarian salad recipe, the tofu is pressed first, which concentrates its subtle soy flavor and improves the texture by removing some of the water. But what really makes this recipe special is the Parmesan cheese crust that transforms the tofu into a soft, cheesy crouton.
Hummus & Greek Salad
Tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and feta top arugula in this quick Greek salad. Served with whole-wheat pita and prepared hummus, it makes a filling, yet healthy lunch.
Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Ginger-Wasabi Dressing
This quick, healthy dinner salad recipe is ready in 40 minutes thanks to preshredded carrots and coleslaw mix. If you have leftover quinoa, skip Step 1 and use 2 cups in the salad. If you want a bigger flavor kick in the dressing, up the wasabi powder to 1 tablespoon.
Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
A blend of whole-wheat panko and fine cornmeal gives this healthy chicken recipe the perfect amount of crunch even though it's not deep fried. Making an easy homemade buttermilk ranch dressing recipe means you can skip bottled, which may have additives and stabilizers.
Black Bean, Mango & Kale Wheat Berry Salad
Wheat berries give this healthy grain-salad recipe a toothsome bite. The chopped kale can be swapped for any dark leafy green, such as spinach or chard, if desired.
Shrimp, Zucchini & Tomato Sorghum Salad
In this gluten-free grain-salad recipe we use sorghum, a hearty small yellow grain that has a chewy texture. Here it's tossed with a cider vinaigrette, shrimp and vegetables. Serve as a main dish or as a side for grilled chicken or steak.
Vietnamese Grapefruit & Pork Salad (Pork Goi Buoi)
Goi buoi is a Vietnamese salad typically made with pomelo, a thick-skinned but super-sweet citrus fruit. In this healthy salad recipe, we use grapefruit because it's easier to find. Plus, it lends a tangy, acidic flavor to balance the vegetables.
Chicken, Charred Tomato & Broccoli Salad
This simple but substantial main-course salad gets its goodness from smoky skillet-blackened tomatoes and a dressing prepared right in the pan--maximizing all the flavor from the tomatoes.
Maine Blueberry & Lobster Salad
This green salad recipe with berries is a delicious way to get your antioxidants. You can also try this salad with crab or shrimp if fresh lobster is hard to find. Serve with crusty garlic bread.
Coriander-&-Lemon-Crusted Salmon with Asparagus Salad & Poached Egg
Crushed coriander seeds and lemon zest give this quick salmon recipe praiseworthy flavor that pairs beautifully with a shaved asparagus and poached egg salad. Served with a glass of white wine, this healthy recipe makes the ultimate lunch or light dinner.
Green Goddess Salad
This gorgeous salad combines fresh shrimp, cucumber, artichoke hearts and cherry tomatoes with homemade green goddess dressing. The dressing is beautifully green and creamy with avocado (loaded with good-for-you fats) and fresh herbs. Buttermilk and a dash of rice vinegar add tang.
Vegetarian Taco Salad
Nobody will miss the meat in this colorful, zesty vegetarian taco salad. The rice and bean mixture can be made ahead and the salad quickly assembled at mealtime. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.
Golden Beet, Green Bean & Fennel Salad with Scallops
Lemony seared scallops and a walnut vinaigrette top this healthy dinner salad. When shopping for scallops, avoid those treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP); it can make them mushy and the scallops won't brown properly. Some scallops have a small white muscle on the side; remove it before cooking.
Grilled Chicken Salad with Freekeh, Preserved Lemon & Dried Cherries
Dried cherries add color and sweet and tart flavor, while mint and parsley give this healthy grain salad recipe fresh notes. If fresh sweet cherries are available, you could add those instead. Serve this chicken salad recipe with tzatziki sauce and mixed greens on the side.
Grilled Salmon with Watercress Salad & Buttermilk Dressing
With a nod toward German cuisine, rye croutons, mustard and sauerkraut pair beautifully with this healthy salmon recipe. Most large supermarkets sell sauerkraut in the refrigerated section; if you can't find purple sauerkraut, feel free to use green (or make your own!). A rich dill-infused buttermilk dressing brings everything together in this healthy salad recipe.
Chicken, Shrimp & Mango Salad
Shrimp, chicken and spinach are tossed with a lively mango dressing in this refreshing tropical dinner salad.
Mediterranean Tuna-Spinach Salad
This tuna salad recipe gets an upgrade with olives, feta and a tahini dressing. Served over baby spinach, this is the perfect easy and light lunch or dinner salad.
Southwestern Steak Salad
This steak salad recipe is packed with fresh summer corn, ripe tomatoes and silky avocado. It might be hard to imagine that this healthy dinner can be whipped up so quickly but the secret is in the timing. While the steak is cooking under the broiler, you'll have plenty of time to whisk together the lightened-up creamy chipotle dressing and assemble the rest of the salad. Serve with crumbled tortilla chips for an extra crunch.
This fresh-tasting panzanella (Italian bread-and-tomato salad) is made with shrimp, olives and plenty of herbs. You'll need olives packed in flavorful brine to make the dressing. For convenience, buy shrimp already peeled and cooked. Sometimes the best-tasting precooked shrimp is sold frozen. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes to defrost. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.
Grilled Halibut Salad Nicoise
Salad nicoise, a classic French salad, is typically made with tuna. Here we use sweet grilled halibut (in season in midsummer) or striped bass. To make it quicker, substitute 2 or 3 cans of drained chunk light tuna. Or skip the fish altogether for a vegetarian main-course salad. We call for serving it on a platter, but it's just as beautiful individually plated. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.
A tomato-rich dressing boosts the flavor and lowers calories and fat in this tortellini salad (the dressing is also great on green salads or grilled fish). Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes add a good dose of vitamins A, C and fiber.
Gingery Grilled Salmon Salad
A ginger-lime marinade makes salmon sing.
Marinated Tofu Salad
Tofu soaks up the flavors of lemon, cumin and coriander in this marinated tofu salad. The marinade does double duty, combining with tahini to transform into a dressing with a nutty taste and creamy texture.
Kale & Strawberry Salad
In this kale and strawberry salad, apple-cider vinegar and mustard flavor the dressing while fresh strawberries offer a touch of sweetness. Creamy herbed goat cheese completes this healthy salad that's perfect for lunch or dinner.
Italian Chopped Salad
This simple chopped salad, inspired by the type of salad you might find at an Italian-American restaurant, has lots of texture and flavor, thanks to creamy cheese, briny olives and crisp fresh cucumber. The radicchio adds the classic red color as well as a slight bitterness that's balanced by the sweet sun-dried tomatoes.
Succotash Salad with Grilled Sirloin
A summer salad through and through! Grilled sweet potatoes and grilled sirloin steak add just enough smokiness without overpowering all of the fresh flavors, while a creamy lime dressing brings everything together.
3-Ingredient Green Goddess White Bean Salad
Bagged salad and slaw blends are great shortcut ingredients for adding variety without needing to wash and chop lots of different vegetables. Toss a kale-and-broccoli slaw mix with canned white beans and yogurt-based green goddess dressing for a crunchy main-dish salad in minutes.
Big Beautiful Summer Salad
This gorgeous and healthy summer vegetable salad is loaded with pretty produce, including golden beets, avocado, corn, microgreens and radishes. Chickpeas and edamame add substance, and an herb-filled buttermilk-avocado dressing makes this salad really special. Serve it on its own for a light vegetarian meal or add grilled chicken for an easy weeknight dinner.
Bitter Greens Salad with Soppressata & Pecorino
This bitter green salad turns the bland lunch salad on its head with its Mediterranean flair. Quickly charring radicchio and toasting dried oregano adds complex flavor, and slightly spicy soppressata pairs especially well with the sweetness of marinated cherry peppers. Pecorino Romano has a tangier, saltier taste than Parmesan, so just a bit provides the salad with plenty of nutty, sharp flavor. This salad can easily be made into a main course or served as a substantial side dish.
Peanut Zucchini Noodle Salad with Chicken
You'll end up with more peanut sauce than you need in this zucchini noodle recipe, and that's a good thing! It makes a great dip or stir-fry sauce.
Salmon with Chopped Tomatillo Salad
We made this chopped salad with pico de gallo in mind. Tangy tomatillos add fresh crunch to the classic mixture of tomatoes, cilantro and onion to brighten up this broiled salmon recipe.
Farro Salad with Grilled Chicken
Enjoy the flavors of the season with this summer farro salad. This dish is also great with wheat or rye berries instead of farro: skip the toasting step and cook in a pot of simmering water until tender, about 50 minutes. If your celery doesn't have any leaves on it, substitute fresh parsley instead.
Vietnamese Brown Rice & Steak Salad
Toasting raw rice in hot oil--some of it may even pop like popcorn--adds texture to this steak-and-rice salad.
Pita Panzanella Salad with Meatballs
This Mediterranean-inspired salad combines the flavors of Greece with the format of a traditional Tuscan bread salad for a refreshing, yet hearty meal. For a twist, try stuffing the salad into the pitas rather than crisping them in Step 3.
Kale & Avocado Salad with Blueberries & Edamame
Bursting with nutrient-rich produce, this California-inspired salad is a delicious and satisfying way to get your vitamins. We love the unique combination of blueberries, edamame, and goat cheese.
Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad with Wild Rice
This fresh take on chicken salad features a creamy yogurt-balsamic dressing and plenty of fresh herbs. It's a great option for leftover cooked chicken.