When summertime arrives, fresh vegetables fill the farmer's markets, and I get excited about summer salads. Even though most people associate salad with a side dish, I consider vegan summer salads an opportunity for creativity. And with creativity comes summer salad recipes that wow even those who don't like salad. For those salad skeptics, vegan summer salads scream freshness and endless possibilities for lunch, dinner, potlucks, barbeques, and picnics.
So, I decided to share my favorite summertime salads for those looking to take your vegan salad recipes up a notch and explore the beauty of summer salads. Also, all my dressings are oil-free, so enjoy the adventure.
First, let's talk about having a barbeque with your friends and family. One of my favorite go-to salads for any barbeque is my Vegan Potato Salad. Not only can this salad be prepared beforehand, but it is also always a crowd-pleaser.
And, what goes better with potato salad than my family's favorite traditional Vegan Macaroni Salad. Just like grandma used to make, this vegan version of my grandma's macaroni salad even has green peas! Dressed is a sweet cashew mayo dressing; Vegan Macaroni Salad disappears from my house fast as I put it on the tables.
Another great salad recipe for any barbeque is my Charred Corn Salad. Sometimes, I have so many people that I don't have the room on the grilled corn on the cob. Instead, I grill the corn ahead of time and make a Charred Corn Salad from the corn on the cob.
Then, my guests get corn on the cob, but in a bowl mixed with colorful vegetables in an oil-free dressing.
On those hot summer nights, I like to make summer salads that combine vegetables and fruit. As a result, the sweetness of the fruit with the vegetables is enhanced by the kinds of vinegar in the oil-free dressings. A few of my favorite summer salads are served with grilled peaches, grilled grapes, and raw mango.
With peaches in season, the grilled corn and peaches are incredible with a vegan Yogurt Dressing Recipe. The fresh bed of lettuce, mixed with arugula, gives it a peppery undertone of flavor that tastes fabulous with the combination of red and white onion.
On the other hand, my Grape Salad is incredibly savory with the pop of jammy grapes fresh off the grill. Within minutes, red grapes transform into little balls of flavor.
Loaded with Simple Rosemary Infused Pickled Red Onions and roasted pecans, this summer salad is a savory, sweet explosion in every bite.
The next salad on my favorite list is Mango Salad because it yells summertime. Since I love mango, almost as much as I love summer peaches, mango is the highlight of this summer salad recipe.
Dressed to impress, this summer salad is loaded with cucumbers, tomatoes, kale, red onions, and mangos. In a light peanut lime dressing with cilantro garnish, mango salad is simply fresh and delicious. Even though it only has six simple ingredients, the intense flavors bring you back for more.
Of course, I can't forget about entree salads perfect for the summertime heat. Who wants to eat hot food on those hot summer nights? Not me. Oftentimes, I skip the oven and grill and go right for a summer salad. My family, who I depend on to be candidly honest about the food I prepare, picked these three salads as their favorites.
My husband, who is sometimes a picky eater, loves Asparagus Salad. When we go to the farmer's market, he chooses the asparagus and prefers it thin and delicate. My job, of course, is to make it into something fabulous.
Asparagus salad, although savory and tangy, is simple and only contains a few simple ingredients. Make no lettuce at all; this summer salad is full of cold orzo pasta: tomatoes, green onions, parsley, and asparagus. Tossed in an oil-free champagne vinegarette, this salad is a keeper.
Because we love cold pasta salads in the summer, my personal favorite is Healthy Greek Pasta Salad! To create a greek pasta salad, I focused on typical ingredients in a vegan Greek salad. I also used the same hummus, lemon dressing I used in my Skinny Quinoa Greek Salad with OMG Oil-Free Dressing. The combination of hummus, lemon, and red wine vinegar is tangy and tart.
Without a doubt, the Tofu Feta Cheese and vegetable pasta makes this one of my favorite salads to eat all year round.
Next up is another family favorite, which is my version of a Panzanella Salad Recipe. Tuscan chopped salad, also called a tomato bread salad or bread salad, Panzanella salad can be made in various ways, making it easy to create your own unique version. My version, of course, is oil-free and full of vegetables! And, an additional twist is the use of baby potatoes.
The oil-free balsamic dressing brings all the flavors together and soaks into the crusty bread for this summer salad.
And let's not forget the pasta. Vegan pasta salad full of spring's most vibrant vegetables, dressed in a light and tangy oil-free vinaigrette dressing. This spring pasta salad is so fresh and delicious, and your guests will come back for seconds.
Mexican quinoa salad is a blend of tri-colored quinoa, pinto beans, and various vegetables mixed in an oil-free cilantro lime dressing. Great as an entree salad or as a side dish, Mexican quinoa salad is earthy and delicious. Prepare in under 20 minutes!
Vegan Caesar salad is a copycat version of a traditional Caesar salad, veganized for plant-based salad lovers. Oil-free, down to the croutons, this vegan Caesar salad is savory and delicious, with all the tasty flavors in a Caesar salad just healthier.
Israeli salad is a chopped salad packed with vibrant vegetables, chickpeas, and fresh herbs in an oil-free lemony dressing. Made ahead of time, the flavors in this Israeli salad enhance as it chills.
(CAJUN POTATO SALAD)
Spice up your next barbeque with this cajun potato salad recipe. Loaded with vegetables and dressed in a tangy cajun dressing, this cajun potato salad will wow your friends at the next potluck, picnic or outing.
Sweet potato salad is a combination of savory and sweet and full of superfood goodness. Roasted sweet potatoes are tossed into various veggies and greens and dressed in a tangy oil-free dressing. Salads don't have to be boring, so mix it up with a sweet potato salad recipe.
This superfood salad is full of nutrient-dense ingredients and dressed with an oil-free apple cider vinaigrette dressing. Get all your nutrients in one delicious salad that will fill you up and leave you satisfied.
Italian pasta salad is one of my favorite cold pasta salads. Loaded with various fresh vegetables, roasted asparagus, and white beans, this pasta salad checks all the boxes in one delicious bowl. Dressed in a creamy, oil-free Italian dressing, this pasta salad will be your new favorite salad to serve this spring and summer.
Savory meets sweet in this beet salad dressed in an oil-free balsamic vinaigrette and topped with tofu feta cheese. Don't be surprised when they ask for seconds.
Something magical happens when toasted walnuts, apples, red onions, and vegan tofu feta cheese are in a bowl of green. Then those fabulous ingredients are tossed in an oil-free walnut apple salad dressing, and the world becomes a better place. Turn simple ingredients into an incredible salad experience.
And last, but certainly not least, is a popular salad at my house, Antipasto Salad, veganized of course. Traditionally a meat and cheese salad, this summer salad is hearty and filling with only vegetables and a tangy oil-free Italian dressing.
Obviously, there are several variations of antipasto salad recipes, but I created an antipasto salad full of my favorite Italian ingredients. Even though I love my Italian Chopped Salad, vegan antipasto salad is heartier and contains more ingredients. Antipasto salad, though, is so filling and delicious, I eat it as an entree salad.
So, the next time someone suggests all vegans do is eat salad, show them what you are made of, and make a summer salad recipe to wow a crowd.
Summertime is almost here, so eat your veggies while they are at their freshest!
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂