9 summertime salad ideas

During the summertime invariably menus turn to lighter fare. There’s nothing better than a fresh, crispy salad in my book. Here are 9 yummy different salad ideas our family enjoys throughout the summer.

9 summertime salad ideas

We are lucky to grow our own fresh vegetables in our garden, allowing us to harvest for some super fresh summertime salads. There’s nothing better than to snip your own fresh veggies before prepping your salad ingredients.

9 summertime salad ideas

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⚜️ {1} 3-layer salad

This layered salad is a great option that can be adapted in so many directions. You can lighten it up for an easy lunch or beef it up for a main dinner entree. There’s a ton of versatility and you can adapt it to your family’s preference.

9 summertime salad ideas
on the menu – 3-layer salad

The bottom layer here includes farfalle {bowtie} pasta, which constitutes the base of the dish. This can also be substituted with brown or white rice, or a grain like quinoa or farrow. I toss my pasta in extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. I am very light handed with all the condiments since each layer gets it’s own dressing.

The middle layer is a bed of greens, which provides the freshness of the dish. I used arugula leafs here with lemon juice and salt&pepper. Once again this can be substituted with any greens of choice. Romaine lettuce can be used for an extra crunch or kale can elevate it to a super food platter.

The top layer is a protein salad. Here I have a mayonnaise based chicken salad, which I made from left over grilled chicken. I used celery, red onion and radishes in the chicken salad to provide some crunch and interest. You can also use tuna fish or shrimp salad or your protein salad of choice.

⚜️ {2} California style Nicoise salade

Nicoise salad is a traditional French salad, consisting of olives, hardboiled eggs, spring beans, tomatoes and new potatoes. Nicoise customarily includes tuna fish, which can be adapted with other fish options like salmon or trout.

on the menu – California style Salads Nicoise

To inject our California style into the traditional French Nicoise salad, we use seared Ahi tuna and avocados. It rounds out the salad beautifully!

9 summertime salad ideas
on the menu – California style Salads Nicoise

The dressing is a basic vinaigrette. If you would like the recipe I use, you can find it by following the link above to the original post.

four of the 9 summertime salad ideas are Caprese based

⚜️ {3} Caprese salad traditional

During the summer we eat a ton of Caprese salads. We grow tomatoes and basil in the garden so it’s a no brainer around here.

9 summertime salad ideas

We grow a variety of small tomatoes like, the pear and cherry sized varieties. I love to use the Ciliegine sized mozzarella balls, which are similar in size to the tomatoes. The tomatoes and mozzarella sliced in half are a perfect match.

Julienned fresh basil leaves adds the perfect compliment of herbaciousness to the salad. I simply use a light sprinkle of salt& pepper and toss it in olive oil and red wine vinegar.

9 summertime salad ideas

This basic Caprese salad is the base for many dishes throughout the summertime around here.

⚜️ {4} Caprese pasta salad

By adding pasta to a Caprese salad it provides a heartier dish that can be used as a side for a dinner entree or a light main dish. You can also add a protein if you would like a heartier fair.

9 summertime salad ideas
on the menu – pasta 101

My favorite way to doctor up a Caprese pasta salad is to fold some antipasto ingredients into the dish. Sliced salami, olives, roasted peppers, and marinated artichoke hearts include some yummy options.

I also love to fold in some tender greens from the garden like arugula and butter crunch. I am working on an updated garden post, which I will be sharing really soon.

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⚜️ {5} Caprese salad skewers

One of my go to pot luck appetizers to bring for summertime soirees are Caprese skewers. They are super easy to make and always super popular during gatherings and get togethers.

I love how low maintenance they are. The mini skewers make them easy for folks to grab and devour, while still holding a beverage and mixing & mingling with friends. There are no additional utensils needed, which makes them easy.

Every time it’s time to go home, the tray is empty which makes it super easy to take home rather than dealing with left overs. I always use my enamel tray for these, which is very light, so the whole experience is low maintenance all around. You can read all about my enamelware obsession here {metals III – enamelware}.

⚜️ {6} Caprese salad antipasto platter

This is a fabulous way to elevate the caprese ingredients to a new level. Add your favorite antipasto ingredients to a basic caprese salad to create a super delicious grazing platter.

on the menu – beyond the caprese salad

It’s a great appetizer tray when you are entertaining or it makes a great side accompaniment for lighter meals.

For this particular platter, I surrounded a traditional caprese salad with prosciutto ham, mediterranean olives, fresh avocado and roasted peppers.

9 summertime salad ideas
on the menu – beyond the caprese salad

Other options you could use are salami, coppa ham, marinated artichoke hearts and marinated mushrooms to name a few. It’s like combining a charcuterie board, antipasto platter and Caprese salad all in one. This is all I need with a crusty French baguette and a yummy glass of wine. I am good; I do not need anything else.

⚜️ {7} Corn, avocado & tomato salad

Or what I like to call left over corn salad. I created this dish after having some BBQ corn left over. Simply cut the corn off the cobb and add some diced fresh avocado, cucumber, tomatoes and red onion.

I dress the salad with a simple vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt&pepper, which is my go to dressing for many salads.

9 summertime salad ideas

You can include vegetables that you and your family prefer or use whatever you have on hand. This is a great way to use left overs or take advantage of using veggies that are hanging around.

It’s a great weekday salad |side dish option. It’s quick to make, using ingredients you hopefully already have on hand.

⚜️ {8} Shrimp lettuce wraps

Ok, so some might argue this is not technically a salad since it’s called a wrap, but it’s shrimp salad wrapped in a leaf of lettuce. That says salad all the way to me.

9 summertime salad ideas
on the menu – shrimp lettuce wraps

You can find the recipe with all the details by following the links to the original post. It’s a pretty simple recipe, where the key to the dish is the freshness of all the ingredients.

on the menu – shrimp lettuce wraps

You can serve these family style, where guests can help themselves to as many helpings as desired. Or you could also serve them individually at everyone’s place settings. I like to use a large lettuce leaf, which I wrap tightly around the shrimp salad, and tie close with a chive strand.

Crab or lobster meat are also great alternatives for this recipe.

⚜️ {9} Protein mixed greens salad

One of my favorite meals, especially during the warmer months, are mixed green salads with a protein of choice. This is a super easy meal, super fresh and super delicious.

9 summertime salad ideas

Some of the favorites around here are grilled chicken Caesar salad or arugula mixed greens salad with grilled flank steak & blue cheese.

Bon Appetite!

Remember you can get more details with recipes and additional pictures by following links to original posts.

get the look for these salad ideas

“A salad is not a meal, it is a style.”

Fran Lebowitz

linking with between naps on the porch


  1. jansaun says:

    The variety, the photos and the preparation all entice me to certainly give these a try-thx!

  2. helenfern says:

    What a great list! I love arugula. Thanks for sharing at My Big Fat Menopausal Life’s Share the Wealth Party. Hope your week is amazing!

  3. EsmeSalon says:

    Salad, salad and more salad, I can have that morning, noon and night,
    I visited you via Create, Bake, Grow & Gather Party #572
    If not already part of SSPS, and are interested, find my entries: Mushroom and Spinach Pilaf and Spinach and Artichoke Ziti
    You will find the linkup information (1) In the Top bar under Blogging: Weekly Senior Salon Pit Stop (2) In the sidebar: Click on 2nd image; (3) under the “Recent Posts
    We hope to meet you there virtually.

  4. Cara says:

    Oh my! I wish I could grow my own veggies MaryJo because your menu items sound and look divine!

    1. Oh! Thanks so much Cara. It’s super rewarding and fun to have the garden. XO- MJ

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