Three Summer Salad Recipes
I’ll be super honest…cooking just isn’t my favorite thing. I’d much rather set the table than prepare the meal! Being a teacher, though, I do enjoy meal prep a lot more during the summer months when I have time to actually be more thoughtful and intentional about recipes! BUT, it just gets so hot here in the summer! And after an afternoon by the pool or day at the beach, I’m not usually in the mood for a big, heavy dinner.
Plus, summer salads are a great way to try and shed a few pounds from the school year too! (Though, I’m not claiming that these are necessarily the most calorie-friendly salads out there either!)
I should also mention that my favorite recipes are ALWAYS ones that don’t take a whole lot of time. And if I can save some for lunch the next day, even better!
In case you’re looking for some refreshing dinners during these summer months, I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you. I don’t even know where I came up with these, but they are just ones that I tend to only make during the summer and really enjoy!
Summertime and watermelon just go hand in hand! The only part I don’t love is the messy process of cutting up the watermelon. So sometimes I cheat and buy the pre-cut bowls from the deli. Most of the time, I just get my hubby to do it for me!
It is literally one of the most refreshing, summer treats and super healthy too! My very favorite way to eat watermelon is as a salad. Bonus? You only need three ingredients for this recipe!
- Watermelon, cut into bite-size chunks
- Crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Combine all three ingredients into a bowl and serve chilled!
How easy is that?!
I’ll be the first to admit, if you aren’t a cheese-lover, this probably won’t be your favorite recipe. But I don’t think I’ve ever tried a kind of cheese that I didn’t love (except for a random, really runny one in France; I don’t remember what it was called!). Gorgonzola cheese has that extra zing to it that I really love and the mix of salty and sweet makes this a favorite for me! I like to buy the fat-free gorgonzola crumbled cheese in an effort to make this a little more healthy!
Blueberries are the perfect addition to this watermelon salad. Plus, there is the benefit of the red, white, and blue! It makes a festive salad for your Fourth of July picnic!
I keep the leftovers around for an extra day or so and they make a great lunch for the next day. Win win! I leave some watermelon plain because my kiddos haven’t yet discovered a love for gorgonzola cheese (haha!) but it does make a nice treat for the whole family!
Next time you pass a roadside produce stand, grab yourself a big watermelon and enjoy!
Italian Chicken Pasta Salad
There are so many versions of pasta salad out there, so I’m sure this isn’t a new one to any of you! But it is one that I really enjoy and I love that I can just use what I have on hand. It’s a great way to use up the last of some of the veggies or leftover grilled chicken too! We do a lot of grilling in the summer and I love having a good recipe to use the last couple pieces of chicken!
Here is my favorite way to grill chicken:
- Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise so they are thinner cuts
- Marinate for 30 minutes in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, lemon pepper, and a little garlic powder
- Always make a few extra pieces because they are great to cut up and use on salads!
I’m listing the ingredients that I used here to create a Fourth of July pasta salad, but you can really use any pasta, veggie, meat, or cheese that you have on hand!
- Rotini pasta
- Pepperoni slices
- Fresh tomatoes
- Red pepper
- Grilled chicken
- Mozzarella cheese
- Shredded or shaved parmesan cheese
- Zesty Italian dressing
- Cook pasta, drain, and add a tiny bit of olive oil. Refrigerate and allow to chill completely. I usually do this either day before or the morning of.
- Chop all veggies and meat into small pieces. I cut the pepperoni slices into halves.
- Depending on what cheese you use, cut into cubes or mix in the shredded cheese with the veggies and meat. I cut some of the mozzarella slices into stars to be decorative for the holiday. You can also buy the cute cheese stars in the dairy section or used cubed cheese!
- Mix veggies, cheese, meat, and pasta into a large bowl. I usually save a few of the tomatoes and pepperonis to sprinkle around the top at the end.
- Mix Zesty Italian dressing into the pasta salad. You can use regular Italian dressing, but I particularly like the extra flavoring of the zesty for this salad.
- Top with a sprinkling of red tomatoes, pepperoni slices, and cheese stars.
- Serve chilled and enjoy!
There are lots of versions of this salad out here but I just do a simple version with things I have on hand that I know my family will enjoy. This recipe also works great for the Fourth of July and if you want to add some blue to the red (strawberries) and white (cheese), grab a package of fresh blueberries and sprinkle them in! We love blueberries and mix them into a lot of salads for the summer!
- Fresh spinach leaves
- Fresh strawberries
- Crumbled blue cheese
- Poppyseed dressing
- Optional: blueberries, onions, candied pecans
I lay out my spinach leaves, then top them with quartered strawberries (You can cut them however, quartering them seems to be the easiest for everyone to eat and looks pretty too!). I love cheese, so I add plenty of blue cheese crumbles to the top. Right before serving, I add poppyseed dressing.
Other variations of this strawberry salad recipe include candied pecans and onions. My family doesn’t prefer those ingredients, but they do add great flavor!
Other Summer Salad Recipes
I’m linking up some summer salad favorites from some of my blogging friends below! Check these out for more delicious and refreshing options this summer!
Quick and Easy Spinach Salad Recipe from Bricks and Blooms
Summer Corn Salad from 2 Bees in a Pod
Roasted Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Salad from My Home and Travels
Red, White, and Blue Layered Jello Salad from From Farmhouse to Florida
Layered Farmer’s Market Salad: Lemon Basil Dressing from Blue Ribbon Kitchen
Easy Pasta Salad from Down Sprigg Lane
The Best Potato Salad from Grandmother’s Table from Feet Under My Table
Easy Summer Tomato Pasta from Living Large in a Small House
Awesome Jalapeno Cornbread Salad for Summer from Blue Sky at Home
The Best Keto Vietnamese Cucumber Salad from Simply 2 Moms
The Best Caribbean Black Bean Salad from Simply 2 Moms
Kale Salad with Grilled Chicken – THM from Simply 2 Moms