Looking for healthy summer salad recipes for all your hot girl summer moments? I’ve compiled my best summer salad recipes with homemade dressings for you below (plus my tricks to making THE BEST healthy salads). These unexpected, globally flavorful, and nutritious salads have all the health benefits to make you feel beautiful from the inside out.
Each recipe is filled with nutritious produce and powerful ingredients that’ll help you lose weight, have more energy, bust constipation and bloating, sleep better and have glowing skin (more details inside each recipe!). From couscous and pasta salads for a crowd to plant-based chickpea salads for meal prep lunch, we have the best salad and homemade dressing for every summer moment. Oh, and I’ve noted each recipe as vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free for easy picking!
Tips from Chefs for Making Restaurant-Worthy Salads
During my years as a food editor, I’ve gotten to meet and learn from some of the world’s most recognized chefs. Of course, I asked them for some of their best tips for making produce and natural ingredients shine. Here are three major cooking hacks they taught me:
- Salt your salad greens. Do it right before assembling and serving by tossing the greens in a large bowl, so all the leaves are evenly seasoned.
- Swap half your greens for torn, fresh herbs. This will make your salad taste so high-end and elevated, plus add a big boost of nutrients! Some of my favorite fresh herbs to use in salads are mint, cilantro, and basil.
- Make homemade vegan dressings creamy with tahini or nut butter. This will add fiber, protein, and fat, which will result in a deliciously, blood sugar balancing dressing.
Best Salads for Weight Loss
If weight loss or weight management is your goal, let me be real for a second: you DO NOT need to deprive yourself of delicious food to see results fast. And I’m not just saying that because you know I think you look beautiful exactly as you are! Research shows that eating a fiber-rich diet (read: nuts, beans, avocado, and much summer produce) is one of the best ways to boost fat-burning while enhancing nutrient absorption! Go forth, and dive into these healthy summer salads with a fork in both hands, guilt-free. And if you do need a little self-confidence pick me up, listen to this podcast episode on how to feel beautiful.
3. Healthy Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps (gf, df, v optional)
Best Salads for Glowing Skin
Beautiful skin starts on the inside with what you eat. Meet my all-time favorite salad recipes for a radiant complexion. They’re loaded with glow-boosting ingredients with healthy fats, antioxidants, minerals, protein, and phytonutrients that are shown in research to promote healthy skin and anti-aging.
5. Hot Girl Summer Salad (v, gf option)
Best Salads for a Crowd
Live your best life with the best produce in season. Whether you’re looking for an easy side dish for your next party or the perfect summer salad for the upcoming BBQ, everyone will come back for seconds of any of these vibrant and fresh salads! Pair these not-boring salads with not-boring conversation! If you’re thinking of new things to do this summer with family and friends, you’re going to LOVE playing my Healthier Together Deck. It has 6 categories and over 150 unique cards (including my signature interactive questions from my Healthier Together Podcast), and will foster hundreds of hours of fun and deep conversations!
8. Elote Corn and Chickpea Bowl (v, gf)
9. Sweet and Savory Summer Pasta Salad (v, gf option)
10. Basil, Corn, and Blackberry Salad (v, gf)
Best Salads for Meal Prep
These healthy meal prep salad recipes are my favorite ones to make ahead of time and have ready to assemble on busy days. Because if there’s one thing my hot girl summer is NOT, it’s hangry. You could actually make all of the salads in this blog post for meal prep (I give storing instructions in each recipe). I designed meal prep salad recipes below to be make ahead lunch ideas. They’re filled with fresh veggies, plant based protein and fiber, nutritious herbs, and healthy fats, so they’re zesty and have texture, and also will keep you full throughout the day and prevent energy spikes and crashes.
13. Soba Noodle Salad (v, gf)
I hope you love these Summer Salads That Don’t Suck! When you snap a picture of your beautiful creations, tag me on Instagram (@lizmoody) – I can’t wait to see!