In the past month, we’ve shared some recipes pitch-perfect for summer, from grilled fruit sangria to healthy “fried” chicken. But why let the main dishes steal the spotlight? Long, hot days are ideal for fresh, no-cook salads. Here are five interesting, innovative salads featuring summer’s best fruits, veggies, and herbs straight from the market (or garden).
Watermelon, Mint, and Feta Salad with Chaat Masala via Plated
If you’ve never had feta cheese and watermelon together, you’re in for a revelation. Sweet, cool melon and crumbly, salty feta are a match made in heaven. Add fresh mint and chaat masala, an Indian spice blend, for an unexpected hit of flavor.
This multi-layered salad is as beautiful as it is flavorful. Roasted beets, sliced citrus, fennel, pistachios, and a honey-mustard dressing provide a good balance of sweet, sour, and savory.
Quinoa with Baby Squashes, Basil, and French Feta Cheese via Blue Apron Meals
Never heard of French feta? Us either. Apparently it’s lighter and milder than the Greek variety we’re all used to. Two types of squash (pattypan and zucchini), basil, and lemon lend plenty of summery color and flavor to this gluten-free grain salad.
Charred Corn and Avocado Salad with Lime, Chili, and Tomato via Food52
This side dish pretty much screams summer — it’s loaded with cherry tomatoes, charred corn, poblano peppers, red onion, and dressed with olive oil, lime juice, and honey. Eat it with a fork as a salad, mix it with grains for a heartier dish, or use it as a topping for grilled meat or fish.
Photo: EmilyC / Food52
Kale, Strawberry, and Avocado Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing via Two Peas and Their Pod
The avocado parade rolls on (and we’re pretty psyched about it)! Fresh in-season strawberries and a punchy lemon-poppy seed dressing are great for sweetening up slightly bitter kale. Almonds, avocado, and a sprinkling of cheese make this salad filling enough for a light lunch.
Did we miss any of your favorite summer salad recipes? Do you have a theme you’d like to see on next week’s The Greatist Table? Tell us about it the comments below or tweet the author @SophBreene.