When summertime arrives, fresh vegetables fill the farmer’s markets, and I get excited about salads. Even though most people associate salad with a side dish, I consider salad an opportunity for creativity. And with creativity, comes summer salads that wow even those who don’t like salad. For those salad skeptics, 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 of you looking to take your 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 as 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 over I don’t have the room on the grilled for 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 vinegars 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 just 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. Often times, 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 deleicate. 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 without any 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! In order 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 a variety of 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.
For this summer salad, the oil-free balsamic dressing brings all the flavors together and soaks into the crusty bread.
And last, but certainly not least, is a top 10 in 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 over, so eat your veggies while they are at their freshest!