32 Summer Salad Recipes That Are Perfect for Lunch
Enjoy a fresh and healthy lunch with these summer salad recipes. These salads are packed with seasonal, colorful produce like tomatoes, corn, strawberries and more. Recipes like Avocado & Corn Salad and Watermelon & Goat Cheese Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette are bright, delicious and perfect for lunch.
Grilled Corn Salad with Chili-Miso Dressing
Serve this Asian salad with grilled steak, chicken or firm white fish like halibut. You can also double the recipe and bring it to your next potluck. If you can find tatsoi, a peppery Asian leafy green, use it instead of mild-mannered spinach. Store-bought Thai sweet chili sauce and umami-packed white miso build fast flavor in this easy summer salad.
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.
Watermelon & Goat Cheese Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
In this watermelon and goat cheese salad, the contrasting flavors and textures of crisp, sweet melon and creamy, tangy goat cheese are magical partners. Top with sliced grilled chicken to make it a meal.
Strawberry-Balsamic Spinach Salad with Chicken
A quick blender vinaigrette does double duty as dressing for this strawberry spinach salad and, with the addition of ketchup and strawberry preserves, as a barbecue sauce for the tenders.
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.
Green Goddess Salad with Chicken
In this cucumber, tomato, Swiss and chicken salad recipe, a healthy green goddess dressing is made from avocado, buttermilk and herbs. Any extra dressing is delicious served over grilled chicken or flaky white fish, such as cod or flounder.
No-Cook Black Bean Salad
A classic black bean salad is a must for picnics and potlucks. This vegan version gets its creaminess from blended avocado. Any mix of salad greens will work well, but try arugula if you want to give this hearty salad a peppery kick.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
For this fast salad recipe, we top summer's ripest tomatoes with a bold tomato-based dressing for good measure. Serve as a light lunch with whole-grain toast or pair with grilled steak and chicken for dinner.
Avocado & Corn Salad
In this fresh summer salad recipe, sweet corn and honey balance nicely with tomatoes, avocado and lime juice. Bring it along to your next summer picnic or pair it with grilled shrimp or chicken for an easy weeknight meal.
Roasted Bell Pepper Salad with Mozzarella & Basil
Sweet peppers like red, orange and yellow bells stand in for tomatoes in this caprese-style salad and pair deliciously with the fresh mozzarella and acidic balsamic drizzle. Try green bell peppers if you prefer less sweetness. This easy, healthy recipe takes just 20 minutes to make.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Avocado & Walnuts
Serve this summery strawberry spinach salad alongside soup or a half sandwich, or top with grilled chicken or roasted salmon for a complete and easy healthy meal.
Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata
For a gorgeous take on a classic caprese, make this healthy salad recipe with heirloom tomatoes in various colors, shapes and sizes. Swapping regular mozzarella for creamy burrata makes this summer salad even more special--but it's still incredibly easy to make.
Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad
This refreshing salad, made with cantaloupe and cucumbers, is the perfect summer dish for any occasion. Ready in just 25 minutes, this dish is perfect for any occasion.
Green Salad with Peaches, Feta & Mint Vinaigrette
This healthy side salad recipe follows one of the essential formulas for great salads: tossing bitter greens with sweet fruit, crunchy toasted nuts and salty cheese. Melons are a good alternative to the stone fruit later in the summer, or try dried apricots during the winter months.
Watermelon & Arugula Salad
This simple watermelon and arugula salad is slightly sweet, which mellows the peppery arugula. The basil works beautifully with both the arugula and the watermelon, and the briny, salty feta cheese is the perfect complement to the rest of the flavors.
Spinach Salad with Raspberries, Goat Cheese & Hazelnuts
This pretty spinach salad couldn't be easier to make: just whisk together a simple vinaigrette in a serving bowl, then toss it with spinach, goat cheese and hazelnuts. Feel free to swap in your favorite nut for the hazelnuts--this simple salad would also be lovely with pecans, walnuts or almonds. The key is the combo of sweet fruit, tangy vinegar, creamy and salty cheese and crunchy nuts. Serve with grilled chicken or your favorite protein for a healthy dinner that comes together in a snap.
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.
An apple adds sweetness and crunch to a fresh green salad made with cherry tomatoes, pecans, and blue cheese.
Peach & Spinach Salad with Feta
This simple and refreshing salad recipe takes just 15 minutes to prepare. Each bite delivers the taste of sweet juicy peach, tangy feta, and toasted pine nuts and will leave you completely satisfied--but not over-stuffed!
Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Ricotta Salata & Charred Fennel
While spinach is a good leafy substitute for the sorrel in this salad, Ben Bebenroth, chef and owner of Cleveland's farm-to-table Spice Catering, sometimes uses thinly sliced raw rhubarb to mimic sorrel's tangy flavor in this summer squash salad.
Grilled Flank Steak with Tomato Salad
Cutting the steak immediately after cooking breaks all the rules on meat cookery, but in this recipe we do it intentionally in order to capture the juices and incorporate them into the dressing. Serve this grilled flank steak recipe with crusty bread to soak up the deliciousness.
Tomato-Basil Zoodle Salad
Spiralized zucchini noodles make the perfect base for this colorful and flavorful salad--think pasta salad without all the carbs! It comes together quickly for a light lunch or easy side. Add grilled chicken, shrimp or chickpeas to make a heartier meal.
Salmon & Avocado Salad
Tender salmon tops a hearty salad of red cabbage, carrots and avocados tossed with a creamy dill vinaigrette in this quick, easy dinner.
Quinoa Avocado Salad
Protein-packed quinoa pairs with creamy avocado in this refreshing grain salad. It's the perfect make-ahead side dish to bring on a picnic or take to a potluck. Or pack it for lunch or enjoy it as a light dinner.
Salad of Avocado & Romaine with Black Olive Dressing
John Willoughby helped to launch Cooks Illustrated, was executive editor at Gourmet and has authored several cookbooks, including Big Flavors of the Hot Sun, from which this salad was adapted for a March/April 1995 EatingWell story about olives. It's one of the favorites--chosen from more than 1,000 salad recipes--that we revisited in our 30th anniversary issue.
Summer Greens Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette & Anchovy Breadcrumbs
Using a variety of greens gives this simple summer salad an interesting mix of textures. The anchovy in the breadcrumbs and sun-dried tomatoes in the vinaigrette are subtle, but key to adding umami.
Cantaloupe, Arugula & Goat Cheese Salad
Buy a melon that feels heavy for its size and smells slightly sweet. Picking a ripe one ensures the right balance of flavors in this arugula and goat cheese salad.
Crunchy Salad with Creamy Vegan Avocado Dressing
Remember back when dousing some iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing was considered healthy? We know better now, but a lackluster vinaigrette makes us want to skip the salad altogether. Without the buttermilk and mayo, is it even worth it? This dressing, made with creamy avocado and tangy umeboshi vinegar, will show you the possibilities. You can make it as-is or substitute whatever herbs you have on hand: parsley, basil and cilantro are all great options. The salad itself is a colorful, texture-rich antidote to the stereotypical boring salad, and it's also customizable. Here we use a base of romaine because it's crunchy and sturdy enough to stand up to a creamy dressing, but you can use kale, mixed greens or any blend of greens your heart (and fridge) desires. Same for the add-ins: You can sub in green beans for the asparagus, use black beans instead of chickpeas, or mix in additional veggies you have available like cucumber or shredded carrots. If you want to get extra fancy with it, try grilling the corn for an added smoky flavor. While this salad can be eaten as a side, it's strong enough to star as the entree.
Greek Salad with Avocado
Avocado adds a creamy texture to this Greek-inspired salad. It's perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner and is ready in only 20 minutes. Enjoy it on its own, serve it alongside grilled steak or burgers, or top it off with slices of grilled chicken to make it a meal.
Chicken, Kiwi and Avocado Salad
This light lunch salad is full of flavor and texture. Sweet kiwi, creamy avocado and spicy radishes combine with grilled chicken in a lime and basil flavored dressing.
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.
Peach Salad with Tomatoes & Raspberry Vinaigrette
Here's a salad to toss together during the dog days of summer, when peaches and tomatoes are both at their best. Use a combination of lettuces that have different textures and flavors--a tender, more buttery variety with something more substantial and peppery, for instance.