When it’s hot outside, all I really want to eat is something cold, like a summer salad. Anyone else?!
It has been unbearably hot in Atlanta pretty much this whole summer. So, I’m upping my lunch and dinner game to include three easy salad recipes that are perfect for entertaining. BUT not just any old salad will do. I’m picky.
So, it needs to be a really, really good tasting salad. As in it doesn’t exactly have to be healthy, it just has to taste good! AND it needs to look pretty too, if I’m going to make it while entertaining guests. *Not required if I’m making it just for myself.
With those requirements in mind, I put together three seriously delicious summer salad recipes. Whether you’re with friends or just hanging out on the porch by yourself, these summer salads will get you through the hottest months of the year without breaking a sweat in the kitchen. Pinkie promise.
Summer Salad Recipes #1: Greek Hummus Platter Recipe
Update: This hummus platter is one of my most pinned recipes ever, so you know it’s a good one! You have to try it, especially if you’re hosting a summer dinner party.
First up is a really quick and easy hummus platter that is almost too pretty to eat, but only takes a few minutes to throw together.
Sure, it’s not exactly a salad in the traditional sense, but I love it anyway. This greek hummus board is the perfect go-to for when you want to serve something really pretty for guests, but don’t want to spend more than a few minutes making it.
Bonus… Depending on how many guests you have, you can make as much or as little as you want. Plus, you can cater the toppings to dietary restrictions and guest preferences if you want to go the extra mile.
Prep time: 5 Minutes // Cook Time: 8 minutes // Servings: 6 servings
- 1 package whole wheat pita bread
- 2 10 oz containers of hummus or homemade**
- 4 mini cucumbers
- 1/4 cup of feta crumbles (you can use regular or reduced fat)
- 1/4 cup of pepperoncini peppers
- 1/4 cup of large pitted olives
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of greek seasoning
- drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- small handful of toasted garbanzo beans (make your own or buy them already toasted)
- parsley to garnish
**Homemade hummus would really take this recipe to the next level if you have the time to throw it together. But if not, don’t fret! Store-bought hummus is delicious too, just be sure to choose a simple hummus that doesn’t have any extra flavors in (like garlic, etc) since we’ll be adding our own toppings.
How to Make a Greek Hummus Platter
Start by cutting full pieces of pita bread into triangles (you can get 6-8 wedges per full pita) and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of greek seasoning. Then, bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until golden brown. When you remove the pita from the oven, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and let cool.
Another option here would be to skip baking the pita all together, if you like cold pita. It’s totally a preference thing, so do what you feel here.
While waiting for the pita to toast in the oven, chop mini cucumbers, pepperoncini, black olives and red pepper. Then cut grape tomatoes in half. Set aside.
Next, scoop hummus onto a large tray and use a spoon to create a divot through the middle, similar to the photo. Sprinkle with the chopped and halved veggies.
Add crumbled feta, drizzle with olive oil and more greek seasoning, and garnish with a handful of toasted garbanzo beans. Then, add toasted pita points to the hummus board and it’s ready to serve.
Summer Salad Recipes #2: Panzanella Salad Recipe
Next up, on the list of easy salad recipes is an option for fellow bread lovers. It’s basically a bread salad! Does that exist?! IT DOES and while it’s technically called a panzanella salad, I’m perfectly content to continue calling it a bread salad if you’re cool with that.
It’s really, really easy to make and so pretty to serve up for guests, with the bright pops of color. Plus, you can switch out the watermelon for any other in-season fruits if you like.
Side note: I’m a huge cucumber salad kind of person and this recipe has plenty of cucs, if you’re into that! Honestly, I just love summer salads that I have all of my favorite ingredients in one bowl.
Prep time: 10 Minutes // Cook Time: 8 minutes // Servings: 6 servings
- 1 whole french baguette
- 5 slices of prosciutto
- 3 mini cucumbers
- 1/4 cup of shaved parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 2 sprigs of mint
- 1 handful of baby spinach and arugula (combined)
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound of watermelon spears
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- 1/2 tablespoon of ground black pepper
Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing for Panzanella Salad
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
- 1 small garlic clove (minced)
How to Make a Panzanella Salad
Cube one loaf of french bread into 1 inch pieces. Then, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake on 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
While waiting for bread to toast up, you can chop the salad ingredients and make the dressing. Slice or chop mini cucumbers, red onion, mint, arugula, tomatoes, and watermelon spears. You want all the pieces to be roughly the same size, if possible, including the toasted, cubed bread.
Set aside. Then, to make the dressing, whisk all the dijon vinaigrette dressing ingredients together and store in the fridge until it’s ready to use.
Once the bread has toasted up in the oven, toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl or dish. Add dressing and toss again.
Then, let everything sit for 30-60 minutes in the fridge before serving. This will help the bread to soak up some of dressing and the rest of the juices.
Summer Salad Recipes #3: Spinach Pesto Zucchini Noodle Salad Recipe
And last but not least, is a spinach pesto zucchini noodle salad, that I think you’re really going to love. Two words: ricotta cheese!
Let me start by saying, I like zucchini but I don’t LOVE zucchini…typically. However, this spinach pesto zucchini noodle salad is now one of my absolute favorite salads for the summer. So even if you’re not the world’s biggest zucchini fan, I highly recommend giving this salad a try. It also has maple bacon if you still need a little swaying.
Prep time: 5 Minutes // Cook Time: 10 minutes // Servings: 4 servings
- 16 ounces zucchini noodles
- 4 slices of thick sliced maple bacon
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of shaved parmesan cheese
- 2 heaping tablespoons of ricotta cheese
Spinach Pesto for Zucchini Noodle Salad
- 1/2 cup of frozen chopped spinach
- 1 sprig of parsley
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- cup of extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 large handfuls of fresh basil
How to Make Spinach Pesto Zucchini Noodles
While waiting for the bacon to finish cooking, make the spinach pesto. To do that, combine all the spinach pesto ingredients listed in the food processor, until smooth. Add more olive oil if desired for thinner consistency. Next, cut cherry tomatoes in half.
Combine zucchini noodles, cherry tomatoes, and bacon into a large bowl. Toss in the pesto, and add parmesan and ricotta cheese. Garnish with more basil, if desired.
And those are my summer salad recipes perfect for entertaining. I’m not sure if I could pick a favorite amongst the three because I honestly love them all. I made the panzanella one again the other day with cantaloupe instead of watermelon and I absolutely loved it. So, maybe that one is my fave right now, especially since you can vary the ingredients so easily.
But enough about me… I’m so curious to know which one of these three is your favorite or if you have any go-to salad recipes for entertaining.
Photography Amelia Lawrence
Which of these three summer salad recipes is your fave? What one do you think you’d be most likely to eat at home?
For more summertime entertaining vibes, be sure to check out the summer party ideas I shared for my end of summer tacos and ice cream party.