20 easy salads for every summer table

Using vibrant vegetables and fruits at their peak is a great way to eat well — and inexpensively — all season long.


Summer has many charms – the sun is late, fireflies abound and vegetables and fruits taste very well, and you don’t put much effort into turning them into delicious and satisfying dishes. Fortunately, the price of fresh produce has not risen like other ingredients this year and they are especially delicious now.

We’ve given you loose formulas, much like over-the-counter recipes, for 20 of our favorite combinations. Buy whatever looks and smells the most flattering (and least expensive), then play around with the suggestions below, using the quantities that make the most sense for you and your taste. (And if you want accurate recipe proportions and instructions, you can find the recipes on New York Times Cooking.)

The dishes below cover all kinds of salads: crunchy, fresh leafy greens; strong mixtures that can be kept for a few hours or prepared the day before; Pasta, cereal, and fat beans that can clump — or make — a meal; Fruit combinations that strike sweet and savory.

Go ahead and make this your own. Replace the bitter lettuce with a milder one, use a variety of fruit instead of just one, or go with the herbs or keep it away (hey, cilantro!). Season to taste – salt increases flavors, softens bitterness and balances sweetness and acidity, while pepper adds a floral flavour. Whatever you do, don’t worry. It’s summer, and cooking should be easy.

Eric Kim recreates the sweet and savory salad dressing that is served in many Japanese-American restaurants.

Mix a small carrot and a knob of fresh ginger with an amount of olive oil, and two tablespoons of rice vinegar, then season it with sugar, soy sauce and onion powder. Thin with a little water, then mix with cool crisp leaves of Little Jim or romaine lettuce. Mint shower.

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Four simple ingredients share the starring roles in a slick guide to this classic salad.

Drizzle baby arugula with olive oil, then sprinkle vegetables with just enough fresh lemon juice and salt to balance the bite. Sprinkle slivers of Parmesan cheese over the top for its salty and nutty rim.

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Eric embraces the bitterness of radicchio with sour garlic sauce and anchovies.

Drain the oil from the can of anchovies in a frying pan. Chop some anchovies and cook with the breadcrumbs until the crumbs are toasted. Then chop up the rest of the anchovies—reserve a few for garnish—and toss with olive oil, grated garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Toss with radicchio and sprinkle with anchovies and crumbs.

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Sweet, Salty, Salty, Spicy: Yewande Komolafe’s Vietnamese-inspired dinner salad hits all those ingredients.

Whisk together sugar, lemon juice, water, and fish sauce, adjusting amounts to your preferred balance of sweet, sour and salty, then stir in some minced garlic and cayenne pepper (spicy). Combine with shredded cabbage, cucumber, pepper and shredded cooked chicken. Add arugula or watercress and a handful of basil and mint. Top with store-bought crunchy fried shallots.

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Melissa Clark’s singing on a classic mug is satisfying enough to be a complete meal.

Combine the crunchy romaine, cucumber, tender cherry tomatoes, crunchy bacon, well-cooked eggs (or jam), avocado, crumbled blue cheese, and green onions. Put it on the table with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon zest and juice.

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Sweet corn gets a boost of chili, lemon, and herbs in this summertime side from Genevieve Ko.

Combine the lightly cooked corn kernels with the cherry tomato halves and peel, lemon juice, olive oil, and a little fresh chopped chili (or lots of cayenne pepper or none at all). Shred the basil and coriander leaves over everything and mix.

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Genevieve adds crunch to soft kale with sunflower seeds.

Rub thinly sliced ​​cabbage leaves (any kind) with salt, lemon juice and peel until soft, then mix with chopped dates, chopped fresh peaches (or any fruit with a core), sunflower seeds and olive oil.

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Pantry Champion tuna tastes especially fresh with added Genevive celery and parsley.

Soak a few slices of sweet and hot pepper with a little vinegar. Add the canned tuna (with oil), chopped celery and coarsely chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

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Chunky nut butters and fragrant hoisin are irresistible when filled with tender tofu and delicious summer beans in this Southeast Asian-inspired Genevieve dish.

Cook green beans in salted boiling water until tender but still crisp. Combine the crunchy peanut butter with half of the hoisin sauce, a large squeeze of lemon juice, a little sugar, and red pepper flakes, then stir in a little of the bean-cooking water. Stir in the marinade with grains and very firm tofu cubes.

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Melissa coats plump, perfectly cooked shrimp with lemony mayonnaise topped with tons of fresh herbs.

Cook peeled shrimp with lemon slices until opaque and drain. Whisk together lemon peel and juice with mayonnaise and a little olive oil. Add the shrimp that is still warm (chopped or not), some chopped celery, red onion, and a handful of chopped dill, parsley, or cilantro (or all three).

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Melissa’s marinade drenched in macaroni, tomatoes and cheese flavored with garlic.

Cook and drain the pasta. While it is still warm, combine it with a red wine vinegar dressing with grated garlic and dried oregano. Add halved small tomatoes, mozzarella cubes, salami slices, cucumber slices and chopped red onion. Put a pile of chopped parsley and basil.

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Raw zucchini gets a little sour and spicy pepper in Ali’s recipe.

Boil the lentils for about 10 minutes, then add the orange tongue and simmer until both are cooked. Combine with pickled chili slices, oil, and plenty of lemon juice. Add chopped zucchini, pistachios and sliced ​​green onions, and add as much fresh herbs as you like.

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Gently roasting millet in the Yewande grain bowl brings out its exquisite beauty.

Toast the roasted millet (or another small grain) until it is a deep golden color, then simmer until tender and tossed with olive oil. Whisk together lemon peel, juice, honey, and oil, and stir some into the cooled millet, along with sliced ​​cucumber, mint, and almond slices, if desired. Top with avocado and more vinegar.

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Eric seasons hummus with roasted salty and nutty seaweed and sesame mayonnaise.

Whisk together mayonnaise, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Add finely chopped jim (roasted salted Korean seaweed; don’t use nori, it will absorb moisture), chickpeas and a small handful of diced red onions.

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Dried fruits and nuts add color and crunch to this Middle Eastern-inspired side dish from David Tanis.

Cook some short-grain rice as you would pasta, then flip it—dry and cool—with olive oil whipped up with tahini, lemon juice, and peel. Add plump currants, chopped almonds, pistachios, and as many types of herbs as you like (parsley, mint, chives, and savory are good places to start).

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Crunchy celery and its aromatic, understated leaves are a staple of this picnic staple from Melissa.

Add chopped shallots and 1 tablespoon of Dijon to the apple cider vinegar, then slowly whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add a colorful mixture of beans, celery slices, chopped parsley, and celery leaves.

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Eric’s Summer Gift: An aromatic tropical fruit that isn’t hampered by peels or rinds.

Mix ripe pineapple chunks and mango with banana slices (slightly unripe, so it doesn’t turn into a puree), or use any fruit you have on hand. Season with salt and sprinkle with lemon juice until it tastes lively but not sour.

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Ali Caprese gives an unexpected sweet tart by swapping the tomatoes for the ripened fruit.

Chop the core fruits (nectarines, peaches, plums, and cherries) and arrange them on a plate. Squeeze lemon juice over everything, then sprinkle with sugar and thin salt. Leave until fruit juices gather, then top with fresh mozzarella and basil or mint (or both). Drizzle with olive oil, black pepper and more salt.

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Millie Peartree uses mango to add a welcome sweetness to a standard roast.

Thinly slice the ripe mango and mix with the cabbage, shredded carrots (use bagged cabbage mix), fresh cilantro, lemon juice and honey. Season with celery salt and black pepper. Cool and serve cold.

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