20 No-Cook Side Dishes for Summer

Easy Pineapple Coleslaw
Photo: Andrea Mathis

As the weather heats up, turn to one of these no-cook side dishes to stay cool. These recipes are easy to throw together and perfect for a summer barbecue or potluck. Recipes like Easy Pineapple Coleslaw and Radish, Celery & Cucumber Salad are bright, tasty and colorful.

01 of 20

Marinated Cherry Tomato Salad


In this easy cherry tomato salad, the fresh herbs and bright dressing highlight the natural sweetness of the summery tomatoes. Elevate the look of this easy salad by using multicolored tomatoes if you can find them.

02 of 20

Cucumber-Yogurt Salad


A refreshing accompaniment to a main course of meat or fish, this cucumber-yogurt salad also makes a tasty filling for pita bread. If the cucumbers are grated instead of chopped, this mixture can be served as a dip.

03 of 20

Cabbage Slaw


Although it's not a traditional topping for American tacos, cabbage slaw is an essential ingredient when making fish tacos. This colorful, vinegar-dressed coleslaw can be made in just a few minutes. Use preshredded cabbage to make it even quicker.

04 of 20

Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Seek out several varieties of heirloom tomatoes for this simple salad. Sweeter and juicier than conventional tomatoes, they add the perfect pop of color.

05 of 20

Radish, Celery & Cucumber Salad

Shaved Radish, Celery & Cucumber Salad
Eva Kolenko

It's worth using that special bottle of olive oil and seeking out Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is bolder than basic Parm, for this simple salad. Use a mandoline to shave the veggies if you have one.

06 of 20

Cantaloupe Salad with Lime, Pepitas & Cotija

Cantaloupe Salad with Lime, Pepitas & Cotija
Jennifer Causey

This refreshing cantaloupe salad is tossed with tangy lime and garnished with crunchy pepitas and salty cotija cheese. Chili powder and cumin add a Southwestern spin. Enjoy as dinner side or light lunch.

07 of 20

Easy Pineapple Coleslaw

Easy Pineapple Coleslaw
Andrea Mathis

This easy pineapple coleslaw is a fresh take on the traditional coleslaw recipe—it contains those familiar savory flavors plus a touch of sweetness thanks to the pineapple. If you prefer a more tart-tasting slaw, feel free to add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice. This recipe is part of our Juneteenth Family Cookout Menu.

08 of 20

Marinated Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Marinated Cucumber & Tomato Salad
Andrea Mathis

This marinated salad is such a healthy way to enjoy those fresh summer veggies and can be easily customized. Try adding in some fresh herbs or feta cheese for a little added flavor. You can also swap in seasoned pepper, which is amped up with additional seasonings, in place of the plain ground pepper for an additional flavor boost. This recipe is part of our Juneteenth Family Cookout Menu.

09 of 20

Zucchini Noodle "Pasta" Salad

Zucchini Noodle

This healthy zucchini noodle salad has all the flavors you love in a classic Mediterranean pasta salad but we've swapped in zoodles for wheat pasta, which makes the salad lighter, lower in carbs and gluten-free. Serve it with grilled chicken or fish for a light and healthy summer dinner.

10 of 20

Radish Salad with Parmesan

Radish Salad with Parmesan
Victor Protasio

This bright and crispy radish salad with Parmesan is the perfect healthy salad for spring when radishes are at their peak.

11 of 20

Moroccan Kidney Bean & Chickpea Salad


The bold flavors of the lemon-cumin dressing in this healthy bean salad recipe make it a wonderful side dish to grilled beef and lamb, yet it's also a stellar meatless main when served with whole-wheat couscous.

12 of 20

Summer Squash "Noodles" with Tomatoes & Mint

Summer Squash “Noodles” with Tomatoes & Mint
Jason Donnelly

Find squash "noodles" with other precut fruits and veggies in your supermarket's produce section if you don't want to spiralize them yourself.

13 of 20

Mojito Blueberry & Watermelon Salad

Mojito Blueberry & Watermelon Salad

Inspired by the classic mojito cocktail, this festive and healthy fruit salad gets zing from rum, lime and mint. The optional piment d'Espelette--a sweet, spicy ground pepper from the Basque region of France--adds a hint of heat that's a nice contrast to the sweet fruit. Look for this spice at specialty stores, well-stocked markets or online. You could also swap in chile-lime seasoning blend (such as Tajín) for a similar subtle kick or omit the spice altogether. Feel free to skip the rum if you prefer an alcohol-free salad. With or without the rum, this salad has summertime backyard BBQ written all over it.

14 of 20

Heirloom Tomato & Summer Vegetable Salad


Allowing the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving means the raw vegetables get a chance to soak up the tangy-sweet dressing in this healthy side dish recipe. Serve with grilled chicken, steak, mushrooms or tofu.

15 of 20

Chipotle Coleslaw

Chipotle Coleslaw
Jacob Fox

Serve this slightly spicy slaw as a side—or topping—on taco night.

16 of 20

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Lemon & Cumin

bowl of Smashed Cucumber Salad with Lemon & Cumin

Don't skip salting the cucumbers in this quick cucumber salad recipe--just 10 minutes pulls out some of their excess moisture, concentrating the flavor and keeping the salad from being watered down. Serve as a healthy side dish at a summer cookout alongside burgers and hot dogs.

17 of 20

Carrot-Peanut Noodle Salad


This crunchy salad is made with spiralized carrots instead of noodles. Make sure to use unrefined peanut oil, which is way more flavorful than its refined counterpart and is one of the trio of peanutty ingredients that makes this simple salad stand out. Look for it with other specialty oils or in the Asian section of your grocery store.

18 of 20

Persian Cucumber & Tomato Salad with Preserved Lemon

Cucumber & Tomato Salad with Preserved Lemon

In this cucumber and tomato salad recipe, preserved lemon adds a tangy, salty bite. Serve this healthy salad as an accompaniment to dishes like grilled lamb or chicken or as a side on a bed of finely julienned purple kale, lightly dressed with more olive oil and lemon juice. Look for preserved lemons at specialty-foods stores. Or, to make your own, see our Preserved Lemons recipe on eatingwell.com.

19 of 20

Tomato, Watermelon & Avocado Salad


Enjoy this refreshing healthy salad recipe as a side dish or dice the tomatoes, watermelon and avocado smaller (1/2- to 1/4-inch pieces) and serve as a condiment for grilled fish, shrimp or chicken.

20 of 20

Citrus Kale Salad

Citrus Kale Salad
Jason Donnelly

Massaging the kale is well worth the effort because the process quickly softens the leaves for a tender bite. We've used green curly kale here, but red kale would also give this salad a lovely appearance. For an extra burst of citrus flavor, garnish each serving with additional lemon zest.

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