Warm weather offers an excellent opportunity to liven up your summer salad recipes with tons of readily available fresh produce like ripe watermelons, tomatoes, and peaches. Those seasonal fruits and veggies can turn your bowls from a snooze-fest to something you’ll actually be excited to eat.
And they’re actually more versatile than you may think. For one, they don’t always need to include greens—some summer salads have a completely different base, like pasta or quinoa. Many options served as sides are more focused on the refreshment factor, packing in cool, hydrating ingredients like watermelon or cucumbers. On the flip side, some high-protein salads can be hearty enough to be a meal on their own, especially if you top them with a bunch of grilled chicken or tofu.
Summery bowls can satisfy your sweet tooth—dice some pears, blood oranges, or pomegranates for a fruit salad, for instance—or hit a savory craving, by using dressings like a poppy seed or a ginger-based sauce. You can create a spicier bite as well, by adding condiments like chili crisp or spicy jerk sauce for some zest and heat.
What’s more, summer salad recipes can be budget-friendly too. You can save some cash by making cheap homemade salads packed with hearty pantry staples like canned tuna, beans, or chickpeas.
The bottom line is that there’s no wrong way to enjoy a salad this summer. When you’ve got so much in-season produce (and perhaps a grill, if you’re lucky!), you can make tasty dishes all season long—and never get bored with what’s on your plate. Forget about your sad desk salad, and get started with some of these fun recipes below.