Whether you serve them as a side or as a light main dish, these easy salad recipes are guaranteed winners! They’re wholesome, delicious, and pair with a wide range of flavors and cuisines.
When you make your own salad, the world is your oyster and the options are endless!
While I love the convenience of bagged salad mixes and store-bought dressings, when it comes to flavor, freshness, and variety, they just don’t compare to DIYing it.
(Plus, when you make your own salad, it’s a great opportunity to use up what’s in your crisper drawer and pantry. Win!)
Best Salad Recipes for Every Occasion
In this collection, you’ll find everything from traditional green salads to a few favorite classics like potato salad and pasta salad recipes, too! There’s a salad for every occasion and craving.
Salads are fabulous for making ahead of time, but always store the salad and the dressing in separate containers in the refrigerator, then combine them just before serving.
Feel free to make any of these salad recipes your own. Swap in your favorite dressing, use the ingredients you have on hand, and put your own spin on them!
Spring Salad Recipes
Spring is the tail-end of endive season, and this elegant salad is the perfect way to put this crispy relative of radicchio to use! Endive leaves are a crunchy vessel for a simple salad, giving this recipe an air of sophistication—you’ll definitely feel like you’re enjoying dinner at a high-end restaurant when you make this dish.
A good spring salad embodies the freshness of the season with a combination of crisp greens, colorful add-ins, and a light vinaigrette. This spring salad recipe has all of these elements and more!
Fresh berries add sweetness, blue cheese adds a salty contrast, and candied walnuts add a delightful crunch (and more sweetness!) to every bite. The champagne vinaigrette is the perfect finishing touch.
We just can’t get enough of strawberries in the spring, especially when they’re added to salads. While many strawberry salads are paired with a rich, creamy, overly sweet poppy seed dressings, we keep things light here by using a poppy seed vinaigrette.
The acid in the dressing brings out the best of the spring berries, allowing their flavor to really pop.
Baby arugula leaves are peppery and just a little bit bitter, which means they’re flavorful enough to be the star of this salad. Lemon is a classic pairing with arugula so we use it as the acid in our simple vinaigrette, then add freshly ground black pepper to amp up the pepper flavor in this dish.
Thick shavings of Parmesan are pungent and salty, and their texture offers a nice contrast to the crisp greens.
Summer Salad Recipes
This red, white, and blue salad is a colorful side dish perfect for summertime gatherings, picnics, and barbecues!
Toss it all together for everyday appeal, or arrange the ingredients into an American flag for Memorial Day and 4th of July parties.
Is there anything better than juicy, ripe summer peaches? Your first thought might be to use them in something sweet (or just eat them as-is!), but they’re also a fabulous addition to salad!
This recipe combines the sweetness of fresh peaches with the tanginess of a zippy honey Dijon dressing. It’s an excellent accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish, making it an ideal dish for a summer barbecue, but I also love it for an effortless lunch.
Insalata Mista is a classic Italian dish that translates to “mixed salad” in English. While there are a lot of variations of this dish, my recipe is perfect for summer, with peppery arugula leaves paired with juicy grape tomatoes.
I add pine nuts for crunch, shaved Parmesan cheese for some saltiness, and it’s all tied together with a sweet and tangy homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
We all love Mexican street corn, but let’s be honest: it’s kind of messy. This Mexican street corn salad has all the deliciousness without the mess, which means it’s perfect for a party.
While you can use frozen corn to make it year-round, it’s a real treat when you can make it with local sweet corn in the summer. You’ll love the bold, contrasting flavors, with sweetness from the corn, saltiness from the cheese, and creaminess of the dressing.
Fall Salad Recipes
Crispy apples add some crunch to this fall-inspired salad! I love pairing it with pork instead of the standard applesauce, and it’s the kind of salad that’s easy to toss together while your main dish cooks.
In addition to the greens and fresh apple slices, we add blue cheese for some pungent, salty flavor, thinly sliced red onions, and a tangy sherry vinaigrette to contrast with the sweet apple.
Beets are one of those love-‘em-or-hate-‘em kinds of veggies, but I absolutely love their sweet, earthy flavor when they’re roasted in the oven. This salad couldn’t be more perfect for fall—the golden beets remind me of the color of leaves when they just start turning!
There are lots of contrasting textures here, from crisp jicama to tender beets, chewy dried figs, crunchy walnuts, and rich, creamy goat cheese.
Cabbage is harvested at the end of fall, but this crispy-crunchy salad is one you’ll want to make all year long! Instead of pairing shredded cabbage with a creamy dressing, this recipe uses a peppy sweet-and-tangy vinaigrette, which gets a boost in flavor from the addition of minced garlic.
Serve this cabbage salad as a side dish, or use it as a topping for tacos, burgers, hot dogs, and more.
This pear salad is a perfect blend of crisp greens, juicy pears, candied walnuts, and tangy white wine vinaigrette. Gorgonzola adds a punchy bite to balance the sweetness of the pears and nuts, so don’t skip it!
Even better, pear salad is versatile; serve it as a side dish with pork or chicken or as a light main course.
Classic Salad Recipes
Seven layer salad is a classic American recipe loved for its contrasting flavors and textures, along with its beautiful presentation. As the name implies, this salad has seven distinct layers of ingredients, each bringing a different taste and texture to the table.
This dish is often served at potlucks, picnics, and other casual gatherings, and it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any event. Just make sure you serve it in a glass bowl so everyone can see the layered effect!
Looking for the perfect side dish to serve with pasta or pizza? Look no further than an Italian salad! Best known for its zesty red wine vinaigrette, my Italian salad recipe includes artichokes, pimentos, and red onions tossed with romaine lettuce and finished with grated Parmesan.
This is also a versatile salad, though, so you can add whatever veggies you happen to have on hand. Cucumbers and tomatoes are also great here!
A staple of deli counters everywhere, this creamy potato salad is a classic side for pairing with sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers. (Can you even have a cookout or potluck without a big bowl of potato salad?!)
Customize this old-fashioned recipe to your personal preferences and tastes; it’s a perfect dish for cooks who love to experiment with different flavors.
Greek salad typically contains tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and bell peppers, which means it’s big on freshness and crispy textures. The veggies are tossed in a simple vinaigrette, then feta and olives finish it off for lots of salty, briny flavor.
This salad is often a side dish, but you can also enjoy it as a light main dish, especially during the summer when all of its ingredients are in season.
Pasta Salad Recipes
Spaghetti salad is a delicious dish that has gained popularity in recent years as a fun spin on the traditional pasta salad. Instead of macaroni, shells, or bow ties, use long spaghetti noodles to make this zippy, veggie-packed salad.
The olives and salami give it the flavor of a classic antipasto platter, while an assortment of vegetables bring lots of freshness and texture.
Can you make an entire dinner out of pasta salad? You can when it’s made with tortellini! Not only is cheese tortellini delicious, it’s also extra satisfying.
I also love how the shape of tortellini holds onto the red wine vinaigrette and oregano, ensuring that every single bite is absolutely bursting with flavor.
Some pasta salads are heavy, with creamy dressings and even sugar added to the mix. This Italian pasta salad is the exact opposite, with a light red wine vinaigrette and just enough grated Parmesan to add flavor without weighing things down.
The key to a perfect Italian Pasta Salad is using high-quality ingredients like perfectly cooked al dente pasta that retains its shape and texture, and incorporating a variety of colors, flavors, and textures with your add-ins.
I use artichoke hearts, red onion, and pimentos, but feel free to make it your own!
We love this veggie pasta salad as a side with grilled chicken or a homemade panini. The lemon juice in the vinaigrette gives it an unexpected twist, as does the addition of red pepper flakes—just enough heat to make things interesting!
As the name suggests, there are lots of fresh vegetables in the mix here, but rather than keeping them raw, they’re given a quick sauté, making them perfectly tender and concentrating their flavor.
Also known by their Italian name, farfalle, bow tie pasta is an excellent base for pasta salad thanks to its shape and size.
I love this dish with fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes, which pair beautifully with a flavorful vinaigrette and salty feta, but you can make it caprese-style by swapping in a balsamic vinaigrette and fresh mozzarella.
22 Easy Salad Recipes
- 1 Handheld Endive Salad
- 1 Simple Spring Salad
- 1 Strawberry Salad
- 1 Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- 1 Red White and Blue Salad
- 1 Peach Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
- 1 Insalata Mista
- 1 Mexican Street Corn Salad
- 1 Apple Salad
- 1 Roasted Beet Salad
- 1 Cabbage Salad
- 1 Pear Salad
- 1 Seven Layer Salad
- 1 Italian Salad
- 1 Creamy Potato Salad
- 1 Classic Greek Salad
- 1 Spaghetti Salad
- 1 Tortellini Pasta Salad
- 1 Italian Pasta Salad
- 1 Veggie Pasta Salad
- 1 Bow Tie Pasta Salad
- Prep – Gather ingredients and chop according to directions.
- Mix – Gently mix all salad ingredients immediately before serving.
- Serve – Garnish as directed and enjoy!
- Salads are fabulous for making ahead of time, but always store the salad and the dressing in separate containers in the refrigerator, then combine them just before serving.
- You can make (almost) any salad a meal by adding a simple protein like chicken, shrimp or salmon.
- Feel free to make any of these salad recipes your own. Swap in your favorite dressing, use the ingredients you have on hand, and put your own spin on them!
Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.