Summer Salads Recipes to Usher in the Season

Bellesen, Rachel. “Summer Salad” 2021.


With the arrival of summer comes so many of our favorite things. Longer days spent lounging in the warm afternoon air. Apricots and cherries popping up in markets and stores. Cold popsicles after a refreshing dip in the lake. It becomes easy to hear the echoes of carefree childhood days and to reach for simplicity and comfort. What we eat can mirror these feelings and help connect us to the summer with seasonal fruits and veggies.

When the heat rises, we tend to gravitate towards colder foods. If you’re searching for a healthy, light option for the approaching summer days, salad is one of your best bets. Versatile, simple and tasty, you can tailor a salad to fit your individual tastes and dietary needs. Try one of these summer salads recipes the next time you’re hungry on a hot day.



Kale Salad Recipe

kale, fresh kale, dark leafy greens, summer salad with kale
Kale has become something of a ruler among vegetables over the past few years. This is for good reason. Not only is it loaded with nutrients, it also holds many health benefits. For example, it can help your eye health and has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease

Check out all the nutrients kale holds: 

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium 
  • Manganese 
  • Copper
  • Potassium 

That is one impressive list! In addition to these nutrients, kale also maintains its popularity in the health world for the low amount of calories it contains. If you’re a diabetic or simply watching your caloric intake, kale can be a great inclusion in your daily meals. It can be used in practically any way you prefer, including baking, steaming and consuming raw. This summer salads recipe features kale as its star and provides crunch and flavor.




kale salad, summer salad with kale, dark leafy greens, kale salad with cranberries and nuts

Summer Kale Salad

Author: Molly Doyle                                          Total Time: 5 minutes                                                        Difficulty: Easy


  • Salad Base:
    • Kale
    • Sunflower Seeds
    • 1/4 cup Edamame
    • 1 Green Onion, sliced
    • 1/2 Apple, sliced
    • Goat Cheese to taste


    • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
    • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
    • 1 tbsp Honey
    • Salt and Pepper to taste



    1. Prepare the kale by rinsing and then ripping off the leafy bits into smaller pieces. Discard the stems and set the leaves aside in a bowl. 
    2. Sprinkle the kale with a pinch of salt and mix well. 
    3. Slice your green onions and apples and shell your edamame (if needed). 
    4. Place the sunflower seeds, edamame, green onion, apples onto the top of your kale.
    5. Make your dressing by whisking together the olive oil and lemon. Add in the honey and whisk to combine. Sprinkle in pepper to taste.
    6. Sprinkle with goat cheese and drizzle with dressing.
    7. Serve and enjoy!


    Summer Salads Recipes with Pasta 

    pasta salad, pasta salad with vegetables, pasta and broccoli
    If you’re not a vegetable enthusiast or you’re looking for a bit of a change, using pasta as your salad base can be a great alternative to leafy greens. These days, there are so many kinds of pastas to choose from. Personally, I enjoy veggie rotinis, but you can opt for whatever fits your fancy! A pasta salad can also be a little more hardy than a traditional salad due to the uptick in carb content. This makes it wonderful as a main dish for lunch or dinner. 

    How to turn your pasta salad into a summer delight? It’s simple. You’ll use a light dressing and fill the pasta salad itself with lots of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Served cold and enjoyed outdoors, this can be the ultimate summer midday meal. A bonus? You can add in or sub out whatever you choose to make it perfect for you!

    Summer Pasta Salad Recipe

    Author: Molly Doyle                                          Total Time: 15 minutes                                                        Difficulty: Easy



    • Salad Base:
      • 1 Box of the pasta of your choice
      • Cherry Tomatoes
      • 1 Cucumber, diced
      • 2 Yellow Bell Peppers, sliced
      • Feta Cheese to taste
      • Canned Tuna (or the protein of your choice)


      • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
      • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
      • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
      • 1 Garlic Clove, Crushed



    1.   Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and pour the pasta into the pot. Cook for 10 minutes or follow the directions for your chosen pasta. 
    2.   While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cherry tomatoes by washing and patting dry. Slice them into halves and set aside. 
    3.   Wash the cucumbers and pat dry. Dice and set aside. 
    4.   Wash the yellow bell peppers and slice into strips. You can cut the strips into smaller pieces if you prefer. 
    5.   If you’re using tuna, open the can, drain and place into a bowl. 
    6.   Prepare the dressing by pouring 3 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar into a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until you reach a ratio that tastes good to you. I recommended tasting as you go to ensure that you get the right amount for you. If you’re at a loss, you can always try the tried and true classic ratio of one to three parts vinegar to oil, respectively. Add in the crushed garlic clove and the dijon mustard. Whisk to combine.
    7.   When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and place into a large bowl. Add your cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow bell peppers, and tuna. Mix together until combined. 
    8.   Once everything has been mixed, drizzle with the dressing and place in the fridge for at least two hours. Once the pasta has cooled, you can sprinkle in the feta cheese, serve and enjoy.


    Create Your Summer Salad Today 

    These summer salads recipes are meant to inspire you as the summer begins to roll towards us. They are simple, healthy and delicious. If there is anything that you want to change, feel free to do so! These summer salads recipes are yours to create, play with and enjoy. If you do try one of these out, tag @cookandculture. We’d love to see the final results!


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