Summer parties are ramping up, and that means your host and/or guest duties are too. It doesn’t matter which category you fall into because both require you to make some bangin’ food that will have everyone saying, “Omigosh this is SO good, how did you make it?!” Instead of replying with, “My good friend Trader Joe whipped this up for me,” put your own cooking skills to the test by making one of these classic summer salad recipes. If you’re afraid that classic sounds boring, Robyn Stone from Add a Pinch is this week’s featured foodie, and she’s showing us exactly how to take the classics to the next level.
In charge of pasta salad for the next picnic/barbecue/potluck? This is the one to make. Mix cheesy tortellini with olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and even more cheese (yay, feta!) to give your guests a taste of the Mediterranean in one bite.
While you’re used to grapes and celery in the OG, the addition of roasted pecans and dried cranberries takes this chicken salad from classic to OMG-this-is-amazing. If real mayonnaise scares you, try a Whole30-approved mayo or mash up an avocado instead.
This ain’t your mama’s kale salad. With hard-boiled eggs, okra pods, and radishes, it’s like something out of a dream. We think you could even go medium-boiled with the eggs to create a dressing-like consistency with the yolk. And yes, there’s avocado in it too.
Trying to save a dollar but also want to impress the guests? Nothing says summer (or inexpensive) like this cucumber and tomato salad. It only requires a chopped onion and Italian dressing to complete it. That’s what we call summer cooking done right.
Hot summer nights call for minimal work in the kitchen. Peel and devein cooked shrimp, slice a creamy avocado into chunks, dice up a red onion, and then throw it all in a bowl. The dressing is homemade, but you probably have everything you need in the pantry. If not, just go the olive oil and lemon juice route—we promise it will be just as tasty.
If the host asks you to bring a dish, always say fruit salad. It’s the easiest and prettiest dish to make, especially if you use the pineapple as the serving dish. Just scoop out the flesh, slice into cubes, and add them back into the pineapple boat. Give it a little color by adding in blueberries, raspberries, and sliced strawberries. We think you can leave it as is, but Stone adds a squeeze of lime and drizzle of honey for a sweet-and-sour finish.
Sure, you can go to any grocery store and pick up a prepared macaroni salad, but when it’s this easy, you really should make it yourself. That’ll guarantee it doesn’t taste like it’s been sitting in the cooling case for a couple of weeks days. Plus, this one has a bit of a kick thanks to the jalapeño (we bet your store-bought version doesn’t have that).