Fresh & Flavorful

18 Scrumptious Make-Ahead Summer Salads

So refreshing!

Every summer, I am surprised by the sheer amount of events we attend as a family. Between get-togethers with our neighbors and beach days with friends, there is always a gathering to go to — and a dish to prep and bring. That’s exactly where these recipes for make-ahead summer salads come in quite handy.

Heading to a cookout? Bring a summer salad. Potluck by the pool? Bring a summer salad. It just sounds right, you know? It’s summer, so you’re making salad. Because as delicious as it would be, a hot casserole dish full of cheesy potatoes in the middle of June just isn’t all that appealing. Especially if you’re going to be outside, having something refreshing to eat is a must. And because summer is so busy, it’s even better if that refreshing dish can be made ahead of time.

Plus, with all the fresh produce you can get your hands on during this time of year, summer is the ideal season to whip up a salad at least a few times a week just because you can. Whether you need to make one for a gathering, want serve one for dinner, or even make it to divide up and eat it for lunch all week, there are plenty of ideas on this list to keep you rolling in greens all summer long.


Thai Crunch Peanut Salad

A chopped salad packed with veggies and tossed in a creamy peanut sauce, this Thai crunch peanut salad from Gimme Some Oven needs to be in your fridge for summer lunches. It’s something you can throw together and have on those days when you really want takeout, but you’re too busy soaking up the sun to call in an order.


Spinach Salad

How beautiful does this spinach salad from Cookie and Kate look? It’s so simple to put together and just the ideal salad to make if you have some fresh raspberries and pecans on-hand this summer. Keep this in a container in your fridge and just add the balsamic glaze to your bowl whenever you’re ready to eat. To amp up the protein factor and turn it into a meal, you could also add some grilled chicken or leftover steak.


Italian Chopped Salad

For a hearty make-ahead summer salad that your whole family can dive into for dinner after a day of fun in the sun, this Italian chopped salad from Damn Delicious will definitely feed a crowd. It’s a fantastic choice if you need something you can prep ahead of time and assemble right before it’s time to eat. It’s packed with protein from the chickpeas and salami, but it also has plenty of summer veggies like cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes.


Couscous Salad

Something that I personally love about couscous is that it takes on the flavor of whatever it’s paired with, so the longer this couscous salad from Love and Lemons hangs out in the fridge, the better. The fresh thyme, basil, and lemon juice give this cold salad such a summery kick. Plus, there’s usually no shortage of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers to choose from in the summer.


Summer Corn Salad

This summer corn salad from A Classic Twist couldn’t not be on this list because summer is literally in the name. It is just chock-full of fresh summer flavors. Sweet corn cut right off the cob, juicy cherry tomatoes, and zesty jalapeños, red onion, lime, cilantro — what’s not to love? Whip it up when you have the time and serve a scoop of it with burgers and hot dogs for a simple and refreshing summer dinner.


Mango Pineapple Shrimp Salad

This mango pineapple shrimp salad from Averie Cooks is like summer in a bowl. Serve it up in bowls as a standalone salad dish or with some tortilla chips like you would a ceviche. The acidity from the lime juice keeps the avocados from browning, so you can make this ahead of an event and just keep it in the fridge in an air-tight container until it’s time to eat.


Kale Apple Salad

Not only can you make this kale apple salad from Pinch of Yum ahead of time, it’s actually recommended in the recipe. Chop up the greens — Brussels sprouts and kale — prep the shallots and nuts, and dice all of the other ingredients when you have time, but keep everything in separate containers. When you’re ready to eat, assemble the salad and toss in the dressing for a quick and nutrient-packed meal.


Green Goddess Tortellini Salad

Packed with seasonal veggies including squash and zucchini, this green goddess tortellini salad from Cookie and Kate is an amazing choice for a make-ahead summer salad. You can also customize it with whatever veggies you have on-hand — broccoli, asparagus, it all works. Will you feel like a goddess after eating this? I make no promises, but I honestly don’t see how you wouldn’t.


Watermelon Salad With Whipped Feta

It doesn’t get much more summery than watermelon and cucumbers. Add in fresh mint from your summer herb garden and you’re in business, thanks to this recipe from Gimme Some Oven. Serve this watermelon salad with whipped feta on a big platter next to a pitcher of ice-cold lemonade and your kids will definitely not mind getting out of the pool for a snack.


Italian Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is one of my favorite things to make for picnics in the summer. This Italian pasta salad from A Cozy Kitchen can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three to four days, making it an ideal choice for when you need something to make ahead of time. Plus, between the cherry tomatoes, the banana peppers, and the cucumbers, there are plenty of summer vibes happening here.


Sonoma Salad

The more fresh summer fruit, the better, I say — and this Sonoma salad from A Classic Twist has plenty. You can absolutely prep everything for this salad in advance. Chop your cantaloupe and apples, slice your strawberries, and cook your chicken (or, more realistically, use leftovers) when you have time, and then assemble everything when you’re ready to enjoy.


Summer Fruit Salad

If you saw this summer fruit salad from Simply Scratch on the table at a cookout, you’d definitely take a scoop or two, right? It’s so pretty and uses every bit of summer fruit and fresh herbs you can imagine. When you want to serve something refreshing, this is the salad to make.


Kale Cobb Salad

Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, avocado — do I really need to spell it out for you? As you can clearly see, this kale cobb salad from Damn Delicious is delightfully summery. The creamy poppy seed dressing is served on the side, and should be stored separately from the rest of the salad if you’re making it ahead of time.


Broccoli Salad

If you don’t already have a go-to broccoli salad recipe in rotation for summer, this one from Love and Lemons is a standout choice. A lighter take on the creamy broccoli salad your grandma makes, this version features tangy dijon dressing that pairs beautifully with the dried cranberries, diced red onion, smoky almonds, and pepitas.


Rosemary Chicken & Peach Salad

This drool-worthy rosemary chicken and peach salad from Damn Delicious checks every single box for a filling, but refreshing summer salad. Hearty protein? Check. Herbs from your garden? Check. Summer fruits and veggies? Check and check. It really leaves nothing to be desired.


Thai Quinoa Salad

A fantastic make-ahead summer salad, this Thai quinoa salad from A Spicy Perspective is packed with veggies. I mean, talk about eating all of the colors of the rainbow! It’s full of flavor and has a satisfying crunch that’s super refreshing on a hot summer day.


Bacon & Blue Cheese Chop Salad

Summer salad, but make it fancy. This bacon and blue cheese chop salad from Simply Scratch is the kind of salad you might see served at a restaurant that looks more complicated than it actually is. To make it ahead of time, you’ll want to cook your bacon and make your crispy fried onions and candied pecans, but then store everything in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the whole salad.


Raw Carrot Raisin Salad

If you want to make a summer salad that you can grab and eat straight out of the fridge to fill you up despite the heat, this raw carrot raisin salad from a Spicy Perspective is a great one to try. The dressing is creamy, but bright, thanks to lemon juice, and the thinly shredded carrots paired with almond slices give the salad a nice crunch. Sweet and satisfying, it’s a fantastic side salad to bring to a potluck or serve at a cookout.

Summer will be gone before you know it, but you can soak up all of the fantastic flavors the season has to offer with these make-ahead summer salads.