Summer is salad season – but no matter how hot it is outside, sometimes it’s difficult to get excited about a bowl of lettuce and some sliced tomatoes. Luckily, however, there are literally hundreds of fresh and flavour-packed salad recipes to try – from high-protein bowls to colourful creations that celebrate eating the rainbow.

Whether you’re looking to include more fresh vegetables into your diet, are hoping to lose a bit of weight, or just want some inspiration for delicious and diverse salads, we’ve got you covered.

From salads containing proteins like fish and meat to fully vegan versions, here are 10 flavour-packed salad recipes to enjoy.

1. Tomato salad with mango miso dressing

Tomato salad with mango miso dressing

Tomatoes come into their own during summer, and biting into a sweet, ripe tomato that’s still warm from the sun is one of life’s little pleasures.

When you have good-quality tomatoes, all you really need to maximise their taste is a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. But if you’re looking to add even more flavour (and colour), this recipe from chef Yotam Ottolenghi is ideal.

The ripe sweetness of the mango is beautifully offset by the sweet-yet-tangy tomatoes, while salty miso balances things out. It’s the perfect marriage of flavours.

Meanwhile, a squeeze of lime lends a welcome tartness, and fresh sliced red onions add a piquant twist. Top with fresh basil, mint, chilli, and nigella seeds, then season and enjoy!

To make Yotam Ottolenghi’s tomato and mango miso salad, try this recipe by The Guardian.

2. Ultimate Nicoise salad

Ultimate Nicoise salad

If you’re in the mood for a crispy and refreshing salad but have real hunger pangs, then a leaf or tomato-based salad might not cut it.

There are many substantial salads around, but one of the heartiest and most delicious is Nicoise salad. Originating in Nice, in the South of France, this healthy and satisfying salad will fill you up while still feeling light and fresh.

Nicoise salads can vary, but most contain new potatoes, boiled eggs, olives, tomatoes, fish, and crisp summer veg.

This particular Nicoise salad recipe uses roasted new potatoes, a mix of green beans and asparagus, and ensures the egg-yolk is still soft rather than hard-boiled. Drizzle with a classic vinaigrette, and serve with some crusty bread if you fancy.

To make the ultimate Nicoise salad, check out this recipe by Delicious Magazine.

3. Sardine and tomato panzanella

Sardine and tomato panzanella

There are few people in the world who don’t like Italian food – but while pasta and pizza may be the nation’s favourites, Italian salads are just as delicious…and far more fitting for warm summer days.

Panzanella is a classic Tuscan salad that includes sweet, ripe tomatoes, a zingy vinaigrette made from olive oil, garlic, shallots, dijon mustard, and vinegar, and crunchy, olive oil-soaked bread.

While traditional panzanella is filling enough thanks to the oil-infused bread, one way to bulk it out further (and to add more flavour and nutrients) is to add sardines. Tinned sardines work well and add a salty, fishy taste while still being cost-effective. Plus, because this dish traditionally uses stale bread, it’s a great way to use up an old loaf you have lying around!

To make sardine and tomato panzanella, check out this recipe from Delicious Magazine.

4. Orange orzo salad with almonds, feta, and olives

Another Mediterranean-inspired salad recipe that evokes images of drowsy blue skies, white-washed villages, and sparkling azure waters is this bright and irresistible orange orzo salad.

While orzo is Italian, many of the other ingredients used are of Greek origin, so it’s safe to say this recipe has a good chance of transporting you back to sunny holidays on the Med!

The trick for creating a perfect orzo salad is to rinse the pasta right after cooking so that it doesn’t get sticky. Then, mix up some orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt, and stir into the chilled orzo along with chopped almonds, parsley, Kalamata olives, green onion, raisins, and crumbled feta. You can skip the olives or raisins if you’re not a fan – and just use a plant-based feta to make it vegan!

To make this juicy and vibrant orange orzo salad, try this recipe by Cookie + Kate.

5. Green papaya salad

Green papaya salad

If you’re craving the zingy, fragrant flavours of Asian food but don’t fancy eating a curry or noodle dish, why not try making a green papaya salad?

Though it originally hails from the country of Laos, green papaya salad is eaten all around Southeast Asia, and is especially popular in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

You might need to visit an Asian supermarket to get the key ingredient, unripe papaya, but the other ingredients can be found in regular supermarkets.

The dressing is made with chillies, lime juice, tamarind, garlic, fish sauce, and palm sugar, and each bite is a flavour explosion: sweet, spicy, tart, salty. Raw carrots, green beans, and peanuts add a satisfying crunch too. Just skip the fish sauce to keep it veggie!

To make Thai green papaya salad, have a go at this recipe from RecipeTin Eats.

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6. Chickpea salad with grilled vegetables

While most people want to avoid slaving over a hot stove in summer, a griddle pan is a different matter.

There’s something about a griddle pan that’s synonymous with summer, whether it’s the smoky BBQ smell it brings out, or the chargrilled flavour. If you’re looking for a hearty salad that’s protein-packed yet plant-based, this chickpea salad with grilled vegetables is ideal.

While it looks impressive, and is packed with vibrant colours and flavours, this salad is actually super simple to make.

Chargrilling your veg takes it to the next level: aubergines become meaty and smoky, while the cherry tomatoes pop satisfyingly in your mouth. Iron and protein-rich chickpeas will keep you full, and the zesty zhoug sauce makes a delicious dressing. Serve with griddled flatbread for the ultimate finish!

To make this chickpea salad with grilled vegetables, check out this recipe by Lazy Cat Kitchen.

7. Middle Eastern roasted cauliflower salad

If you don’t have a griddle pan but love the combination of charred, caramelised vegetables with fresh salads, then look no further than this vibrant Middle Eastern-inspired roasted cauliflower salad.

Roasting your cauliflower with red onion and olive oil adds both sweetness and richness, while cumin and cardamom create that distinct Middle Eastern warmth and flavour.

Once your veggies are tender with crispy edges, it’s time to add even more flavours and textures. Lemon zest and juice adds a lovely zingy flavour, and maple syrup gives a subtle hint of sweetness. Scatter over some pistachios for crunch and colour, add a drizzle of pomegranate molasses for a tart yet sweet twist, and finish with some fresh parsley. The perfect fusion of flavours!

To make this roasted cauliflower salad, try this recipe by Minimalist Baker.

8. Salmon, lentil and quinoa salad

Salmon, lentil and quinoa salad

If you’re a fan of salmon and are following a low-cholesterol diet, this next recipe should tick the box.

While quinoa is often served warm, it’s also delicious enjoyed cold in salads. Plus, it’s packed with protein, zinc, fibre, folate, and antioxidants. When paired with salmon, which is high in omega-3, and health-boosting lentils, it makes a perfectly balanced meal.

Quinoa is quick and easy to prepare, and when cooked in stock and flavoured with a tasty lemon and herb dressing, it’s seriously delicious. Poaching the salmon is the healthiest way to cook it, and once it’s tender, flake into large chunks and mix with the quinoa. Add some ready-cooked puy lentils, green veg like broccoli and asparagus, and enjoy it as a healthy lunch or dinner.

To make salmon, lentil and quinoa salad, have a go at this recipe by BBC Good Food.

9. Spicy peanut soba noodle salad

Another recipe that’s ideal if you like hearty salads with some form of carbs is a soba noodle salad.

Soba noodles are thin Japanese noodles that can be eaten hot, usually in a noodle soup, or chilled, in salads. Because they’re made from buckwheat, they’re naturally gluten-free, and are the perfect base for flavoursome and filling Asian-style salads.

Soba noodle salads are really versatile, although most dressings include sesame oil. To jazz up your salad – and to add antioxidants – try using lots of colourful veggies: red peppers, purple cabbage, and lots of coriander work well. This recipe has an incredibly moreish spicy peanut sauce, and is served with shredded chicken – though, you can always swap with tofu to keep it veggie.

To make this spicy peanut soba noodle salad, try this recipe from Pinch of Yum.

10. Ultimate chicken salad

If you’re a fan of chicken and creamy dressings, chicken salad is probably one of your top picks.

Traditional chicken salad features diced chicken mixed with a creamy mayo and mustard dressing, which is then tossed with crunchy celery, crisp spring onion, and juicy grapes. It’s quick and easy to knock up, and is filling, refreshing, and flavoursome.

But if you’d like to elevate this classic dish, the trick is to add a few extra key ingredients. Toasted almonds add crunch, parsley gives extra freshness, and tarragon – which always pairs well with chicken – brings depth to the dish. Add a squeeze of lemon juice for some zesty brightness, then season, and you’ll be astonished at how much better this salad tastes.

To make the ultimate chicken salad, check out this recipe by Downshiftology.

Final thoughts…

So there you have it…ten delicious salad recipes that are perfect for the summer months and beyond – and not a single limp lettuce leaf in sight!

Salads aren’t only great ways to ensure you eat more fresh vegetables, they’re also quick and easy to prepare, and usually endlessly adaptable too.

From vegan salads packed with plant-protein like chickpeas, to salads with chicken or fish, and spicy, piquant sauces to smooth, creamy dressings – there’s a salad for every taste preference and dietary requirement.

Plus, most of these salads can be made in bulk too, so what you eat as a light dinner today can be finished as a refreshing lunch tomorrow. Enjoy at the kitchen table, in the garden, or pack into some tupperware and enjoy alfresco in your local park!

For more recipe inspiration over the coming months, you might like to check out our articles; 7 sunshine-inspired recipe ideas, or 8 sizzling barbecue recipe ideas. Or, tune into Rest Less Events to learn how to make a Thai peach salad.