20+ Refreshing Summer Salads


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Endless sunshine calls for refreshing summer salads. They’re easy to toss together, they let you get creative with in-season produce, and they taste extra juicy and delicious.

Slices of tomato and mozzarella on a plate with fresh basil leaves.

Refreshing Summer Salads for Every Craving

Slow summer days call for one thing – easy, no-fuss meals. Because the last thing we want to be doing is spending long hours in the kitchen with the oven on (no extra sweating, thank you very much). So, here’s my favorite roundup of the best summer salad recipes to make all season long!

You’ll find everything from 4-ingredient salads that can be tossed together in a jiff, to a full blown meal with hearty proteins and veggies that actually fill you up (in a light way of course). And if you need something in between for your next summer cookout, there’s plenty of party favorite salads to choose from as well!

The Easiest Summer Salads, Ever!

Let’s be honest, summer salads that require minimal effort are our saving grace. Especially when you’re also on grilling or margarita duty. So here’s a few favorites that only need 4 to 8 ingredients in their natural state. Just wash, slice, and toss!

Tomato, onion, avocado salad on a plate next to parsley.

Tomato Avocado Salad: The name pretty much says it all. Just layer the slices of tomato and avocado (with onions) on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, squeeze some lemon juice, and finish with salt with cracked blak pepper. It’s ultra fresh with no tossing involved.

A big bowl of Greek salad

Greek Salad: A Greek salad is always welcome at a summer table. All you need are cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives, bell pepper, feta cheese, and my homemade Greek salad dressing. Trust me when I say this homemade dressing makes every bit of difference.

A bowl of cucumber radish salad with a spoon

Cucumber Radish Salad: I’m a sucker for this one not just because it’s aesthetically pleasing, but it’s so simple and refreshing. The pops of lemon juice, fresh dill, and punchy green onions really zhuzh up your typical cucumber salad. If you’re not a fan of radish though, this classic cucumber salad will always be a perennial winner.

Mediterranean chickpea salad in a large white bowl on a table.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad: This chickpea salad gets a coastal twist with tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, feta cheese, parsley, and my reader favorite lemon vinaigrette. And if you’re a fan of roasted flavors – you’ll love this roasted red pepper chickpea salad variation.

Slices of tomato and mozzarella on a plate with fresh basil leaves.

Caprese Salad: This salad is on repeat every time I travel to Italy, along with an Aperol spritz (of course). Slices of juicy tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, with a drizzle of balsamic and freshly picked basil leaves literally screams summer on a plate.

Chopped broccoli and chickpea salad in a large bowl

Chopped Broccoli and Chickpea Salad: If you love textured salads, this salad is loaded with crunchy broccoli and chickpeas, crisp bell pepper, celery, and onion. Then tossed with a creamy lemon tahini dressing.

Chimichurri potato salad in a big bowl

Chimichurri Potato Salad: Creamy potatoes tossed with fresh chimichurri sauce. Pretty much the best savory salad that can be served warmed or chilled!

Waldorf salad in a large white bowl.

Waldorf Salad: This classic fruit and nut salad is a mix of crisp apples, celery, grapes, and crunchy walnuts, tossed in a tangy-sweet, creamy dressing. So refreshing!

Avocado caprese salad on a white plate next to balsamic vinegar.

Avocado Caprese Salad: Give your classic caprese salad a California twist with avocado! Because who doesn’t love a bit of creamy avocado in their salads?

Israeli salad made from tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion and herbs in a white bowl.

Israeli Salad: A Mediterranean favorite, it’s a simple combination of bite-sized tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs. It’s also my favorite side-salad to accompany pretty much every outdoor summer meal.

Let’s Not Forget These Creamy Summer Salads – They’re Classics!

Chicken salad, tuna salad, shrimp salad, and potato salad are classics for a reason. A creamy mayonnaise or yogurt dressing helps meld together simple ingredients and fresh herbs for vibrant flavor!

Shrimp salad in a large white bowl

Shrimp Salad: This might just be one of your new favorite ways to eat shrimp this summer (aside from my grilled shrimp skewers of course). Chilled shrimp are tossed with celery, onion, and the best creamy, lemony, herby dressing.

Cucumber shrimp salad in a large serving bowl next to limes

Cucumber Shrimp Salad: For an even fresher twist on my classic shrimp salad, you’ll love this version that’s mixed with cucumbers, green onion, and a creamy lime dressing.

Tuna salad on a slice of bread.

Tuna Salad: A large bowl of this tuna salad is a summertime staple, and it’s budget-friendly (which I show in my budget meal prep!). You can make it a wrap, layer into endive leaves, or make tuna stuffed avocados. Basically, endless possibilities.

Broccoli tuna salad in a bowl next to a spoon.

Broccoli Tuna Salad: Since I’m always looking for ways to add green into meals, broccoli rice was the perfect way to sneak in veggies into a tuna salad. You won’t even notice it’s there!

Chicken salad in a white bowl with spoon.

Ultimate Chicken Salad: Thanks to my secret ingredient – tarragon – this chicken salad really is the best. The combo of chicken, grapes, celery, onions, and a creamy lemony sauce will surely win your heart.

Pesto chicken salad in a bowl

Pesto Chicken Salad: Make a batch of fresh basil pesto for this super delicious chicken salad. It’ll be a nice change from the classic version. Plus, it’s perfect for basil season!

Salmon salad in a large white bowl

Salmon Salad: After you bake a large salmon filet, flake it into a bowl with crisp celery, red onion, radishes, herbs, and a creamy, lemony dressing. Think of it as an elevated tuna salad!

Potato salad in a white bowl.

Classic Potato Salad: There’s a few ways you can go about making a potato salad, but you can never go wrong with this classic version. It’s the perfect mix of potatoes, boiled eggs, celery, onions, radishes, mayo, and dill.

People Will Rave About These Salads at Your Next BBQ

It’s not a BBQ without the best summer cookout side dishes. And yes, salads play a pretty big role on the table for 4th of July and Labor Day. From a grilled corn salad to a classic potato salad, here’s my take on the classics with a Downshiftology twist.

Grilled corn salad in a large white bowl.

Fresh Corn Salad: Whether you’ve got grilled corn on the cob or fresh sweet corn, this salad should be at the top of your list. Simply toss the corn with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, herbs, and a light blend of olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

Broccoli salad in a bowl.

Broccoli Salad: This is one of those must-make salads when it comes to any type of summer outing. And every time I bring a large bowl of this veggie bacon goodness, leftovers are pretty much nonexistent.

Summer Salads with Fruit – Every Which Way

At this point, your market should be flooding with perfectly ripe summer fruits. Plus, they’ll be a bit cheaper than other out-of-season produce. So why not make the most of them and add them to your summer salads for a naturally sweet and juicy touch?

A large white bowl of classic fruit salad.

Classic Fruit Salad: A homemade fruit salad is a million times better than a store-bought one. Especially when it’s tossed with a sweet and zingy honey lime dressing. It’s super easy to make, looks great in a massive bowl, and checks fresh fruits off the list.

A large bowl of mandarin chicken salad.

Mandarin Chicken Salad: Citrus hits differently in the summer, especially in this chicken salad. Oranges get mixed with spinach, cucumber slices, avocado, crunchy toppings, and a fresh lemon vinaigrette.

Berry spinach salad in a large bowl.

Berry Spinach Salad: Berry season is in full swing! So whip up this raspberry vinaigrette to toss with spinach, red onion, and your favorite blend of berries.

This grilled peach and burrata salad is summertime on a plate. The mix of grilled peaches, arugula, burrata, pine nuts and balsamic is the perfect summer salad recipe.

Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad: There’s just something so good about grilled fruit, especially sweet peaches. And when you combine them with fresh, creamy burrata and a drizzle of balsamic glaze (or this balsamic vinaigrette) – oh boy is it heavenly.

Watermelon salad in a black bowl

Watermelon Salad: Watermelon is a staple summertime fruit – from a watermelon smoothie to grilled watermelon. So of course, making a fruit salad with watermelon is just a given.

Melon mozzarella salad with basil. A delicious and healthy summer salad.

Melon Mozzarella Salad with Basil: If you’re a melon lover, this salad will hit all the right spots. You can technically slice them into little cubes. But if you’ve got a melon scooper, it makes for one good looking fruit salad.

The Best Summer Salads with Chicken, Seafood, and More!

When you need a heftier summer salad for lunch or dinner, these options will easily fill that void. You just have to decide whether you’re in the mood for chicken, ground beef, salmon, or shrimp! But don’t worry, the cooking is kept to a minimum with simple baked or pan-seared proteins.

Tuna, cucumber, mozzarella salad in a bowl

Tuna, Cucumber, Mozzarella Salad: Give canned tuna a fresh (and super delicious) new look in this simple, toss-together salad! The extra bits of sweet corn and fresh shallots give it some oomph.

A large platter of Nicoise salad

Nicoise Salad: The beauty of a Nicoise salad is how customizable it is. You can use anchovies instead of tuna, quail eggs instead of boiled eggs, or include no green beans at all. However you assemble it, it’s perfect for summertime entertaining.

Southwest chicken salad in a white bowl next to a small bowl of avocado dressing.

Southwest Chicken Salad: This chopped salad gets a Tex-Mex twist with black beans, corn, onions, tomatoes, cilantro lime chicken, and a creamy avocado dressing. Now tell me that doesn’t sound good?

Salmon filet on salad with avocado slices.

Salmon Avocado Salad: When you’re in the mood for pan seared salmon during the summer, make this salmon avocado salad. It combines ingredients you likely already have in your fridge, in a really delicious way.

Taco salad in a white bowl on top of a napkin, with limes and half an avocado next to the bowl.

Taco Salad: Experience everything you want in a taco, but in a more veggie-heavy meal! Just top chopped lettuce with cooked ground beef, beans, corn, guacamole, pico de gallo (or red salsa), and anything else you’d normally top on a taco.

An easy and delicious arugula salad recipe made with baby arugula, smoked salmon, avocado, pear and red onion.

Smoked Salmon, Avocado, and Arugula Salad: Not gonna lie, this is one of my favorite summer salad recipes. I’m a bit biased given how much I love smoked salmon, but it’s seriously so refreshing when paired with avocado, arugula, and a light dressing.

Two servings of Greek chicken salad in white bowls.

Greek Chicken Salad: Turn your favorite Greek salad into a full meal by adding slices of perfectly seasoned baked chicken breast!

For more summer meals, check out my best zucchini recipes, best mango recipes, and avocado recipes to enjoy!

Now’s the time to kick back and enjoy these refreshing salads. If you make any of these summer salad recipes, I’d love to hear which ones are your favorite in a comment below!

Summer salad recipes

20+ Refreshing Summer Salads

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


The best summer salads are easy to toss together, highlight fresh, in-season produce, and taste extra juicy and delicious – like this avocado caprese salad. Watch the video below for three summer salad recipes that are also great for meal prep!



  • 8 ounces mozzarella balls (2 medium balls)
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • handful of fresh basil leaves


  • Slice the tomatoes, mozzarella, and avocado into even slices.
    A wooden board with sliced avocado caprese ingredients
  • On a plate, alternate slices of the tomatoes, mozzarella, and avocado. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and top with fresh basil leaves.
    A white platter of avocado caprese salad


Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 506mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1225IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 302mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Summer salad recipes, Summer salads
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. We love the Curried Mango Chicken Salad–and we gave it a variation recently because I had some items I needed to use. Smoked chicken breast (done by my awesome husband), peaches and a bit of red onion. So, I subbed in the peaches for the mango, the red onion for the green (note to self–a little goes a long way), and chopped pecans for the cashews. It was fantastic! Thanks for all of your great recipe videos and online recipes! It’s been such a great help to my bariatric surgery journey. Yay!5 stars

  2. I love this post! How wonderful to have all of these refreshing recipes for the summer at my fingertips. Thank you very much, Lisa!5 stars