5 Easy and Delicious Summer Dinner Salads

posted: 06/22/17
by: TLCme

During most of the year, salads are relegated to side dishes -- but during the summer, serving a cool, refreshing salad for dinner is a welcome alternative to firing up the oven. The cooked portions of these meal-worthy salads -- grilled chicken, crumbled bacon, cooked pasta, wild rice -- can be made in advance (or you can use leftovers), so you have a simple, fast, dinner ready to go -- no oven required.

1. Tuscan Tortellini Salad

Cheese-filled tortellini --a meal in themselves -- are the star of this Tuscan tortellini salad from Delish. Instead of serving them hot with tomato or cream sauce, toss them with fresh spinach, salami or bacon, sundried tomatoes, and grated parmesan cheese for a grown-up version of pasta salad that's a perfect summer meal (especially when paired with a glass of wine and fresh Italian bread).

Tuscan salad
Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad

Meatless Middle Eastern chickpea salad from Cooking in Stilettos a light, fresh salad rich in protein and vegetables. Combine chopped cucumbers, scallions, tomatoes, bell peppers, herbs, and feta with a can of drained chickpeas, and toss with homemade lemon basil vinaigrette dressing. Serve with pita wedges for dipping, as a sandwich in a pita pocket, or over fresh greens, or add diced or shredded chicken for a heartier meal.
Cooking in Stilettos
Italian Sub Salad

Cold submarine sandwiches are a summer-friendly dinner already, but this Italian sub salad from Wicked Spatula is a no-bread alternative for gluten free families. The recipe calls for tomatoes, pitted olives, red onion, banana peppers, pepperoni, and salami, but you can adjust it to match your favorite sub -- add provolone cheese, swap banana pepper for roasted red peppers or hot peppers, use different Italian meats; then top it with a homemade red wine vinaigrette.

sub salad
Wicked Spatula
Wild Rice Salad with Mango and Cilantro

This simple wild rice salad with mango and cilantro from Family Food on the Table is so quick to prepare that you can put it together in the time it takes to cook the rice -- and make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator. The simple salad ingredients, including wild rice, mango, red onion, cilantro, and peanuts, are complemented by a lime-Sriracha dressing (which also pairs well with steak, chicken, or shrimp) for a dish that makes a tasty lunch or dinner.

rice salad
Family Food on the Table
Southwest Pasta Taco Salad

Taco pasta salad from Wine and Glue takes two foolproof meals and combines them into one easy summer favorite. It starts with the usual taco ingredients -- ground beef, taco seasoning, green pepper, onion -- and then incorporates cold cooked pasta, shredded cheese, and lettuce. But adding two unexpected ingredients -- French dressing and crushed Doritos -- gives it a crunchy, flavorful finish that puts a summery spin on your family's go-to favorites.
taco salad
Wine and Glue
These salads are perfect for summer! Check out more delicious, healthy salad ideas here!