4 Refreshing Summer Salads You Haven’t Already Made

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Written By: Melissa Fiorenza

Getting a little tired of your usual house salad or your same old Caesar? Same here. But because salads are one of the lightest, healthiest, most refreshing meals you could have on a hot and sticky summer day, it’d be silly to toss out your tomatoes and move on. Instead, shake it up. 

We asked renowned chefs and cookbook authors to give us a unique spin on salad that’ll have us crunching, salivating, and re-making it all season long. 

1. Asparagus + Peas Salad

Recipe courtesy of French Master Chef Nico Romo of NICO in Charleston. "Though simple and light in its ingredients, this dish packs in the flavor and seasonal bounty," says Chef Romo.


Nico gives all of the green vegetables a quick blanch in boiling water for one minute and cools them off in ice water. Then he tosses in the herbs, feta, lemon juice, and olive oil/vinegar mixture. 


  • .5 lb fresh peas

  • 1 lb sugar snap

  • 1 lb snow peas

  • 2 lb asparagus

  • 2 oz of fresh chopped tarragon

  • 4 oz feta cheese crumble

  • Olive oil, lemon juice, red wine 1/2 cup each equal parts

  • Salt & pepper to taste

2. Watermelon Salad

Recipe courtesy of Chef Daniel England of the San Diego-based OMG Hospitality Group. He says “you can never go wrong with a watermelon salad, especially when you add a fresh Thai kick to it.” 


Toss ingredients together in a bowl and voila—summer is served!


  • 1 lb. watermelon, large, diced

  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced

  • 2 red radishes, shaved

  • 1 handful mint, chopped

  • 1 Thai chili, minced

  • 1 handful Thai basil, chopped

  • 1 tbsp. toasted cashews, chopped

  • 5 tbsp. fish sauce

  • 2 limes, juiced and zested

  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

3. Quinoa, Arugula, and Fig Salad

Recipe courtesy of Amy Riolo, award-winning and best-selling author, chef, TV personality, and Mediterranean diet advocate.

From Amy’s The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, this French spin on tabbouleh replaces bulgur wheat with nutritious quinoa—the ancient grain that supplies all nine essential aminoacids—making it a complete protein, she says. “If fresh figs are not in season, substitute pears, apples, oranges, or the fruit of your choice.”


  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa, stir, reduce heat to low, and cover. Allow to simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool completely.Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper together to form vinaigrette.

  2. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and lightly fluff with a fork. Combine with the vinaigrette. Gently stir in figs. Place the arugula on a platter. Pour the quinoa mixture over the arugula and serve.


  • 1 cup (185 g) dry quinoa, rinsed

  • ½ cup (118 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • ¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt

  • Black pepper, to taste

  • 1 pint (228 g) fresh figs, quartered

  • 11 ounces (312 g) baby arugula

4. Summer Vegetable Succotash with Freekah and Flaked Crab

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Collin Smelser of Costero in Los Angeles. 


Melt butter. Saute garlic and shallot until translucent. Add corn, beans, and squash and saute until hot. Add cooked freekah. Once warmed, add crab. Add stock, bring back to a simmer. Gently stir in butter, lemon, parsley, and cheese.



2 T unsalted cultured butter, plus 2 T to finish
1 t garlic, minced
1 T shallot, minced
1 C grilled corn, cut off cobb
¼ C vegetable stock
2 oz fresh beans or wax beans, (cut in 1/3 ’s)
1 C shucked fava beans, blanched and peeled
1/2 C blanched patty pan squash (cut in ¼’s)
1/2 C blanched baby squash (cut in 1/3 ‘s)
2 cooked freekah or faro, cooked to spec
6 oz picked dungeness crab
3 T finely chopped parsley
1/2 lemon, zest + juice
1/2 C Grana Padana, grated