Favorite Summer Salads

Warm weather brings thoughts of cool food and recipes that don't require a lot of indoor cooking. Who wants to tend a long, slow cooked meal when the sun is out and the warm weather beckons?

Here are three warm weather salads that have become some of my favorite summer salad recipes.

None of them require you to be any where near an oven or hot stove except to boil some water, and all are perfect for even the hottest summer days.

Serve them as side vegetable dishes or as a light lunch with a green salad and crusty bread.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

This is a lovely salad recipe that is great as a side salad or as a light luncheon recipe. Serve it in lettuce cups for lunch along with some fresh crusty bread and a great dessert. Just perfect!
  • 1 pound frozen cooked shrimp, thawed
  • 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Combine the shrimp, celery, Italian dressing and mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill, covered until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, peel and dice the avocado. Mix immediately with the lemon juice to prevent the avocado from going dark. Add to the shrimp mixture and mix gently.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cucumber Salad

This recipe is delicious, but oh so easy. It's a great recipe to serve company at a barbecue because it gets made ahead and sits in the fridge for a few hours until you are ready for it. The best summer entertaining recipes are ones that don't require the host and hostess to be in the kitchen cooking while guests lounge outside.
  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 head of lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Good pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Toss all the ingredients thoroughly in a large salad bowl. Chill for 2 hours before serving.

That's it!

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 2 hours

Lime Jello Cottage Cheese Salad

This is a lovely light salad recipe that is perfect for a summer barbecue but also works well all year on a buffet table. The crunch of the celery and green pepper add another layer of flavor and fresh taste.
  • 1 - 3 ounce package lime jello powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped

Blend first six ingredients (lime jello powder through salt and pepper) with beater and chill until firm 1" from edge of dish. Turn it into a bowl and beat it until it becomes light and fluffy. Fold in 1 cup cottage cheese, celery, onion and green pepper. Chill fully before serving.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 2 hours

Don't forget that most of your favorite summer salad recipes are great all year round too.

    Editor's Note: Karen Ciancio is a cook and lover of all things food and cooking related. Her website, Cooking Nook contains hundreds of recipes, cooking tips, measurement conversions, kitchen ideas, and diet and nutritional information. Find more great summer salad recipes there.