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6 Easy Ideas for Making Better Summer Salads

6 Easy Ideas for Making Better Summer Salads

Words Marian Bull

Even the most intrepid salad-makers can fall into ruts sometimes. We all get bored of the same ol’ veggie combinations. Here are a few ways to keep your salads exciting all summer long.

Perhaps the greatest thing about summer—aside from the sunshine, pool parties, and long weekends—is how easy it is to cook this time of year. Pick up some fresh-looking vegetables from the farmers’ market, do very little to them, and you’ll have a beautiful salad. For solo lunches and dinner parties alike, it’s the perfect strategy; completely easy and delicious. Try these tips for spicing up your summer salads this season.

dressing for summer salad

Make a Big Batch of Dressing for the Whole Week

Since summer is salad season, you’ll want homemade dressing on hand at all times. Combine chopped garlic with your favorite oil and vinegar combo (typically a 3-to-1 ratio of oil to vinegar is the way to go) along with a spoonful of dijon mustard and even a kiss of maple syrup or honey—mix ‘em up in a dressing shaker and drizzle over your greens all week.

summer salad

Spiralize, Spiralize, Spiralize

One of the most fun ways to eat squash, beets, zucchini, and other fresh produce is to turn them into loopy noodles—which you can dress however you like. Spiralizers are super easy to use, and this handheld one is small enough to tuck into your kitchen drawer. Try these fun ideas for fruits and veggies you can spiralize.

summer salad

Don’t Forget Fresh Herbs

Herbs abound all summer long. They bring a bright green freshness to any salad. Don’t just relegate them to your caprese or your tabbouleh—sprinkle a handful of chopped herbs like mint, basil, parsley, and tarragon atop any salad to give it an extra punch.

washing salad

Keep it Simple

Buy the freshest lettuce you can find, make sure to store it properly, wash it well in an easy-to-use salad spinner, and dress it in a simple dressing—when you’re feeling lazy, there’s nothing better. Pair it with some fancy cheese and a nice loaf of bread, and you’ve got a meal.

grilled vegetables for summer salad

Fire Up the Grill

A little bit of char—on vegetables like corn, peppers, and eggplant—adds smokiness and textural contrast to any salad. Or try grilled fruit for a unique take on things. Check out this easy recipe for grilled summer vegetable salad.

Look Past Leaves

Sure, a green salad will never do you wrong (it is, essentially, the little black dress of salads) and summer is an excellent time for fresh green salads, simply dressed. But don’t feel constrained by them! Finely chop summer squash and peppers and marinate them in lemon juice and olive oil, then top them with a shower of fresh herbs. Toss baby tomatoes with fresh corn, basil, olive oil, and salt. Pick your favorite summer produce and go crazy. If you don’t use all the produce in one go, be sure to keep it nice and crisp for future salads later in the week (you’ll thank yourself later).

Have more summer veggies than you know what to do with? Try this Quick Guide to Quick-Pickling Summer Produce, plus our favorite 3-Ingredient Summer Sides, no-heat meals, and no-bake summer sweets.

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3-Blade Hand-Held Spiralizer 3-Blade Hand-Held Spiralizer Shop Now
Twist & Pour Salad Dressing Mixer - Green Twist & Pour Salad Dressing Mixer - Green Shop Now
Herb and Kale Stripping Comb Herb and Kale Stripping Comb Shop Now
By Marian Bull

Marian Bull is a freelance writer for OXO, an editor, and cook living in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Lucky Peach, Saveur, Bon Appétit, The New Republic, and BuzzFeed. She hates apricots.

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