20 easy salads for hot summer days


Summer has many charms — the sun lingers late, fireflies abound and vegetables and fruit taste so good, they don’t take much effort to turn into delicious, satisfying dishes. Thankfully, fresh produce hasn’t risen in price as much as other ingredients this year and is especially flavorful now.

We’ve given you loose formulas, much like our no-recipe recipes, for 20 of our favorite combinations. Buy whatever looks and smells the most enticing (and costs the least), then play around with the suggestions below, using amounts that make the most sense to you and your taste.

The dishes below cover all the salad bases: leafy tosses that are crisp and fresh; sturdy mixes that can sit out for a couple hours or be made the day before; hearty pastas, grains and beans that can bulk up — or make — a meal; fruit combinations that hit sweet and savory.

Go ahead and make these your own. Swap out bitter lettuces for milder ones, use a variety of fruits instead of just one kind, go wild with the herbs or banish them (hey, cilantro!). Season to taste — salt heightens flavors, tames bitterness and balances out sweetness and acidity, while pepper adds a floral bite. Whatever you do, don’t sweat it. It’s summertime, and the cooking should be easy.

Cathy Lo

Crunchy Greens With Carrot-Ginger Dressing

A salad of crunchy greens with ...

Bobbi Lin, The New York Times

A salad of crunchy greens with carrot-ginger dressing. Using vibrant vegetables and fruits at peak freshness is a great way to eat well Ñ and inexpensively Ñ throughout the season. Food Stylist: Eugene Jho. Prop Stylist: Christina Lane.

This recipe draws inspiration from the sunny-orange flavor of green salads with carrot-ginger dressing at Japanese American restaurants. The pulpy, aromatic dressing may be the star, but a salad is only as good as its lettuce. After washing and thoroughly spin-drying the greens in a salad spinner (alternatively, you can pat them dry in a clean kitchen towel), one way to maximize their crunch before adding the dressing is to refrigerate them, covered, for at least 30 minutes. Little Gem has a sweet, juicy sturdiness, but regular packaged mixed greens, baby spinach and chopped romaine hearts work, too.

By Eric Kim

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt
  • 2 to 4 heads Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated, or 1 romaine heart, chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

Preparation

1. Make the dressing: In a food processor, purée the carrot, ginger, olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, onion powder, a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon cold water until as smooth as possible, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Dress the salad: Place the lettuce leaves in a large serving bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of the dressing and toss, then add more as needed to evenly coat. The salad should be lightly dressed, not drowned; don’t use every drop of dressing if you don’t need to. Taste for seasoning, adjusting with more salt as desired. Top the salad with the mint leaves and serve immediately.

Arugula Salad With Parmesan

An arugula salad with parmesan. Using ...

Bobbi Lin, The New York Times

An arugula salad with parmesan. Using vibrant vegetables and fruits at peak freshness is a great way to eat well Ñ and inexpensively Ñ throughout the season. Food Stylist: Eugene Jho. Prop Stylist: Christina Lane.

Emulsifying a dressing isn’t essential for a sublime salad: Instead, think of the oil and acid as seasonings for a vegetable. For this recipe, that’s spicy arugula, dressed with olive oil, lemon and shards of Parmesan to create a salad classic in many Italian restaurants and homes. But whether olive oil or lemon should come first, like all seemingly simple questions, is complicated. James Beard, Marcella Hazan, Deborah Madison and Judy Rodgers all concurred: For a brighter-tasting salad, start with olive oil, which better adheres the liquids to the greens and doesn’t obscure the lemon. Be sure to use full-flavored greens, then taste the dressed leaves and adjust seasonings until the arugula tastes like its greatest self.

By Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Preparation

1. Place the arugula in a very large bowl, ideally one that could hold twice as many leaves. Drizzle over the olive oil and use your hands to toss lightly, then add the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Lightly toss the greens until they are evenly glossy; avoid overmixing or crushing the greens.

2. Add the Parmesan and toss just to incorporate. Taste. If the salad is too sharp, add another drop of oil and toss. If the salad is dull, add a sprinkle of salt and some lemon juice and toss. Eat right away.

Radicchio Caesar Salad

A radicchio caesar salad. Using vibrant ...

Bobbi Lin, The New York Times

A radicchio Caesar salad. Using vibrant vegetables and fruits at peak freshness is a great way to eat well Ñ and inexpensively Ñ throughout the season. Food Stylist: Eugene Jho. Prop Stylist: Christina Lane.

This fragrant take on Caesar salad uses up an entire tin of anchovies and replaces the sweet romaine with gloriously bitter radicchio. For the dressing: Though you could use a raw egg yolk and slowly stream in oil while whisking constantly, relying on the already emulsifying qualities of store-bought mayonnaise gets you to creamy heights with less fuss. This salad does not keep well, so serve it immediately, while the radicchio is still plump and crunchy. There’s no added salt in this recipe, as the many anchovies season both the breadcrumbs and the dressing. But should your radicchio be especially bitter — pleasant though that flavor can be — feel free to add a pinch of salt to help tame the bitterness.

By Eric Kim

Yield: 2 servings

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (2-ounce) tin flat anchovy fillets packed in olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coarse or panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head or 2 small heads radicchio (1 pound), any wilted outer leaves removed, quartered lengthwise, cored and leaves separated

Preparation



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