Fresh salad, cold from the refrigerator, with that crisp bite — it's one of the best ways to feed yourself in the dog days of summer. And salad, done right, can be very satisfying — it's more than just a side dish. We have a favorite list of hearty slaws (see: broccoli, cabbage peanut, spicy kale) — as well as a wedge salad to put any diner to shame. Here are 15 of our favorite summer salads — good for lunch and dinner, or whenever you want a refreshing bite of something cool.
Two nights ago I stood in my kitchen and chopped bunches of kale into a feathery heap, then tossed this green confetti of kale with slivers of sweet red bell pepper and a dressing of peanuts, oil, and cider vinegar. Now I've been munching on it ever since. Kale's deep greenness is immensely satisfying, and the sweet-salty dressing in this salad makes this even more irresistible. And, of course, no-heat cooking is the best this time of year!
• 1 Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese - A diner classic, hearty enough for dinner, with blue cheese dressing and bacon (or fried tofu!).
• 2 Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado & Parm - A sweet and savory kale salad for lunchtime.
• 3 Crisp Salad with Sprouts & Miso-Lemon Dressing - A wild pile of sprouts, greens, and roasted edamame, with a tangy dressing of miso paste and lemon juice.
• 4 Goi Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Salad) - Shaved cabbage, tofu, and carrots nestled on a bed of rice noodles.
• 5 Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing - One of my favorite salads. Shaved kale with a sweet and salty peanut dressing.
• 6 Broccoli Slaw - A lightened-up, modernized version of that picnic classic.
• 7 Crunchy Peanut Slaw - Another peanut slaw, with cabbage and Asian flavors.
• 8 Root Vegetable Slaw With Orange-Cumin Dressing - A really beautiful summer salad.
• 9 Fresh Fennel and Lemon Slaw - A salad that will carry you through autumn and winter, with the refreshing taste of fennel.
• 10 Cabbage Beet Coleslaw - A vivid, colorful salad — I actually served this at my wedding!
MORE CRISP SUMMER SALADS
• 11 Thai Green Mango Salad
• 12 Celery and Grapefruit Salad with Parmesan - One of the most refreshing salads I know how to make.
• 13 Kale Salad with Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon - Lots more kale, with plenty of citrus.
• 14 Sour Cream Cucumber Salad with Mustard Seeds - Another sort of crisp, cool, creamy summer salad.
• 15 Kale and Ricotta Salad from Kim Severson and Gourmet - Last but certainly not least, this kale salad from Kim Severson is one of my all-time favorites.
And then, a little extra dressing on the side, for those of you who would just like some extra inspiration for your homemade salad dressings. Here are some of our favorite salad dressing recipes. All are so simple!
AND AN EXTRA: SALAD DRESSINGS!
• Creamy, Herby Ranch Dressing - Much better than ranch in a bottle.
• How To Make a Basic Vinaigrette - Making a basic dressing.
• Creamy Vinaigrette - Just a step up from the basic.
• Two-Minute, Creamy Salad Dressing - Another creamy dressing.
• Sherry Vinaigrette - A lovely and sophisticated dressing.
OK, your turn! What are your favorite, most refreshing summer slaw and salad recipes?
(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)