Summer Salads – Three Easy Salads to Whip Up Tonight!


It’s FINALLY starting to feel like summer in Ohio! 

And something about all that sunshine and heat makes me crave simple, no-cook dinners. My focus over the past year has been to encourage healthier eating habits in my home. One way my family has done this is by letting my five-year-old plant her very own container garden.

We filled large containers with some good quality organic soil and planted various lettuces, kale, and all kinds of herbs to enjoy all summer long. At a fraction of the price of buying organic produce, we now have lots of delicious things to harvest all season. 

My little one LOVES going out to snip a few different lettuces for a quick salad, and even eats mint and basil leaves straight off the plant! 

We get to talk about the importance of eating in season and how good our bodies feel when we add in freshly picked greens. So far, our whole family has been enjoying delicious salads for dinner. I love how quick they are to prepare and that leaves more time to enjoy our evenings by taking a long walk together or going out for some ice cream.  Simple summer salads followed by ice cream?

That’s what I call #balance.

Here are three of our favorite simple summer salads!

If you want to make it easier on yourself, you can absolutely buy your dressings in a grocery store. We like to whip up homemade versions of our favorite dressings so we have more control over the ingredient list. I’ll include our recipes just in case you want to give them a try. 

Also, to keep things simple I will often serve my simple summer salads topped with rotisserie chicken. Super easy to pick up while running errands, or if you’d like to make your own, here’s my DIY recipe!

Easy Italian salad with a creamy Italian dressing

For the salad:

  • head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced into matchsticks or shaved with a peeler
  • 1/2 container of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup of canned olives, drained
  • handful of shredded cheese – mozzarella, provolone or parmesan are all good options!
  • protein of choice: We mix it up – but some favorites are sliced nitrate-free pepperoni, shredded rotisserie chicken or a cup of garbanzo beans

For the creamy Italian dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayo, sour cream OR greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried or 2 tsp fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional, 1-2 tbsp of milk to thin out dressing if desired. (Greek yogurt will make a thicker dressing, and might need to be thinned out a bit.)

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

Crisp Asian salad with a sesame-soy dressing

For the salad:

  • head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/3 cup grated carrots
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • medium red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 cup snow peas 
  • a handful of sliced almonds or cashews
  • optional: sesame seeds
  • protein of choice: Sliced rotisserie chicken, cooked shrimp OR edamame all work great!

For the sesame-soy dressing:

  • small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (if you have white pepper, use it!)
  • optional: for a little heat, add 1 tsp of Sriracha hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

“All-American” salad with honey mustard dressing

For the salad:

  • head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (leftovers or rotisserie chicken)
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped (I cook extra in the morning and save some for this salad)
  • 1 avocado – diced
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 container cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • handful of cheddar cheese

For the honey mustard dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of your favorite mustard – I like to use Dijon
  • 2-3 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light vegetable oil (I like to use avocado oil)

Mix all ingredients except for oil in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking to create a creamy dressing. Taste, and adjust to your preference by adding in additional honey or mustard.

I hope you enjoyed these recipes. Are you a fan of the simple summer salad? What’s your family favorite? Let me know in the comments!


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Malini was born and raised in Worthington, OH. While it’s true that she has a raging case of wanderlust and takes every opportunity to travel far and wide, she and her husband can’t think of a better place to raise their 4 year old daughter and 10 year old Basenji dog, Sparky (aka - Sparks, Sparkles, Spark-a-licious, Sparkle-Pants). She works full time and spends her weekends tinkering around on a passion project that she and her husband have turned into a business. Malini’s favorite thing about Columbus is the amazing food scene - from food trucks to fine dining, Columbus has it all. Basically, she is obsessed with all things food + travel, and you can follow along with her family adventures on her blog Lakes and Lattes. She fell in love with her husband on a dance floor, and their daughter has certainly inherited daddy’s dancing genes! You can find them dancing around the kitchen, the living room, and the lawn. While it's painfully true that she has zero fashion sense, she can usually find her way around a kitchen. Her life goals include connecting with others and inspiring them to travel and eat good food!