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simple summer salad recipes

Updated on February 17, 2014

Summer Salads at Picnics and Backyard Outings

It's not often but sometimes I am invited to a summer cook-out where they only serve hamburgers and hot dogs but forget to have a variety of summer salads to go with the grilled fare. Oh sure there are always chips but where is the salad I ask in a whisper. I can't imagine eating at a picnic or BBQ without being served some sort of summer salad.

The choices are mind boggling. There is macaroni salad, coleslaw, tossed salad, potato salad, fruit salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, jello salad and the list and combination within each type are almost endless. Why on earth would you invite me to a summer outing and not serve some sort of summer salad? Of course I'm just kidding, but to those of you who love summer salads I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

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Simple coleslaw has long been a summer favorite at picnics and backyard outings.


  • 8 cups cabbage
  • 1/4 cup carrots
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 lemon juice
  • salt + pepper to taste


  1. Shred the cabbage and carrots into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl add the remaining ingredients and mix well then pour over the cabbage and carrots.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator two to three hours, longer is better.
Cast your vote for Coleslaw
potato salad
potato salad

Potato Salad

This is a wonderful potato salad to serve warm with all the flavors making a statement. If you prefer it is also great served chilled.


  • about 1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons basil (diced)
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup red onion
  • 2 med navel oranges
  • 1 tomato
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cover the potatoes with salted water and bring to a boil cooking 8 to 10 minutes or till fork can easily pierce the potato.Don't overcook.
  2. While the potatoes cook put the olive oil, diced basil, quartered pecans and garlic in a bowl and let sit. I used a garlic press to really get the most out of the garlic.
  3. Dice enough red onion to make 1/2 cup. Peel and then slice the oranges into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller. Dice the tomato and add all 3 into a bowl.
  4. And then add the still warm potatoes and the rest of the ingredients stir well
  5. You can serve this potato salad warm on a bed of lettuce or put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on the top when you serve it.
OXO Good Grips  Salad Spinner
OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner

I always spin my fresh washed lettuce so that it will stay fresh longer...

Misto Gourmet Olive Oil Sprayer (Set of 2) Silver and Black
Misto Gourmet Olive Oil Sprayer (Set of 2) Silver and Black

I've been using a Misto olive oil sprayer for over 20 years. I spray it on everything, even delivered pizza.

macaroni salad
macaroni salad

Macaroni Salad - whole wheat, reduced carb or regular - macaroni makes great salad

Try topping the salad with goat cheese when you serve it. Substitute lemon or orange wedges for the lime.


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 med jalapeno pepper
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 heaping cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1 whole lime
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Franks)
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil


  1. Cook the macaroni slightly less then recommended which allows it to stand up to mixing and refrigeration better. Once it is done rinse it well under cold water and drain well.
  2. Chop the onion, jalapeno pepper and olives well. Dice the cilantro well. Cut the grape tomatoes in half
  3. In a bowl mix all the ingredients really well except the lime, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour, 3 hours is best.
  4. Cut the lime and squeeze half into the mixture. Cut the rest into wedges and serve on the side of the salad.
  5. Serve the salad on a bed of greens with a few tomato wedges on the side.
fruit salad
fruit salad

Fruit Salad

Serving fruit salad at room temperature will make everyone's taste buds POP!


  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 + tablespoons fresh mint
  • 2 navel orangrs
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1/2 med cantaloupe
  • 1/2 med honeydew melon
  • lemon juice wedges


  1. Wash the all the fruit in a colander and drain well. If any of the fruit is frozen make sure you thaw it completely before using.
  2. Dice the fresh mint well and in a small cup mix with the honey.
  3. Remove stems and peels from fruits and then slice nicely and place in a bowl, then add the honey and mint mixture and stir well but gentles.
  4. Serve on plates not bowls as this allows all the fruit to be seen. Serve each plate with a large lemon wedge.
  5. If your family or guests like honey and mint you might want to have an extra cup with the mixture in it so they can add more their salad if they choose.
  6. For a bit more sweetness you may want to add a banana or two to the salad
tossed salad
tossed salad

Tossed Salad

Crisp fresh veggies are one of the wonders of eating outside in the summer.


  • 1 head Green Leaf Lettuce
  • 6 or 8 cups Mixed Greens
  • 2 or 3 ripe Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup carrots
  • 1 firm Cucumber
  • 1 cup Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Celery
  • 1/4 cup green or black olives
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 or 3 dressing choices


  1. Wash and dry the lettuce and mixed green, rip lettuce leaves into small pieces and with the greens place in a large bowl.
  2. Wash then slice the tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, and celery and toss with the ingredients in the bowl.
  3. Grate the carrots and dice the olives and cheese and sprinkle on the top of the salad.
  4. Serving salads room temperature will bring out all the great veggie flavors. Serve the salad with choice of dressing, have salt and pepper within reach.

Fresh Lettuce Adds Snap & Flavor To Any Salad...

Keeping Lettuce Crisp & Fresh

Salad - Yes or No

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The Salad Stop -

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    • GreenfireWiseWo profile image

      GreenfireWiseWo 6 years ago

      Sometimes it is just too hot to cook or eat warm food. Salads are really wonderful on days like that. Thank you - love the recipes.

    • Zen Automat profile image

      Zen Automat 6 years ago

      @totalhealth: The whipping cream sounds really good, I'll keep that in mind. Glad you could stop over and take a look around.

    • profile image

      totalhealth 6 years ago

      fresh fruit salads are very refreshing. but sometimes if there's no lot of time, canned fruits will do. ans it taste better if you add condensed milk and whipping cream in it.