Make the Most of Summer With These 21 Main Meal Salads

Turn summer's bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs into hearty weeknight dinner salads. From classics like Cobb salad to new favorites like fish taco salad bowls, we've got ideas that the whole family will love!

Three photos side by side of summer dinner salads. On the left is a platter of Farmers' Market Salad with Peaches, Goast Cheese, and Basil. In the center is a plate of Chicken Pozole Salad with thick wedges of avocado and sliced chicken breast in the center of the plate. On the right is Shrimp, Arugula, White Bean, and Cherry Tomato Salad with large shrimp set atop a bed of vegetables and beans.

Summer is the season for salads! Nothing highlights my garden bounty like crisp, crunchy vegetables tossed together for quick, healthy weeknight dinners.

I love salads packed with vegetables, but I need to make sure they are filling too. Making a salad into a complete meal can sometimes be a challenge, especially for my growing tweens. While a light plate for lunch will suffice, by the end of the day, we need a hearty dinner! We’ve worked hard and played hard and we are hungry.

If you're looking for bold, robust salads you're in luck! Pick from any of the recipes below and you are certain to have a healthy, filling, and utterly delicious weeknight dinner.

Robin Shreeves joins Claudia in compiling this list.

  • Cobb Salad

    Cobb Salad
    Sally Vargas

    This is my first go-to because I always have the ingredients on hand. You could also easily do a serve-yourself-salad-bar. Set all the ingredients out on the table and let everyone build their salad to their heart’s content!

  • Easy Steak Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

    Steak salad made with thinly-sliced pan-seared flank steak on a bed of arugula and lettuce with avocado, pomegranate seeds, and other add-ins
    Elise Bauer

    We started with arugula in this salad because its strong peppery flavor is balanced out by the steak and lemony vinaigrette. If you want to save on time, make the steak beforehand!

  • BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

    BLT Salad
    Sally Vargas

    Love BLTs? Then we think you’ll love this salad. It’s a deconstructed version of BLTs and uses generous amounts of that garden bounty. If you want some more protein added in, try some grilled chicken!

  • Shrimp, Arugula, White Bean, Cherry Tomato Salad

    Shrimp Arugula White Bean Salad
    Elise Bauer

    Easy, healthy, and quick is the name of this salad’s game. It’s on the table in 20 minutes and has bold Mediterranean flavor!

    Continue to 5 of 21 below.
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

    Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken Recipe
    Sabrina Modelle

    A simple Caesar salad transforms into a hearty meal thanks to some lean grilled chicken. Toss in some croutons and dinner is served.

  • Asian Tuna Salad

    Asian Tuna Salad
    Elise Bauer

    No need to turn on the oven for this Asian-inspired salad! Canned tuna is the star of the show and is surrounded with the flavors of radishes, green onion, and shredded carrots.

  • Fish Taco Salad Bowl

    Salad bowl with fish recipe
    Cheyenne Cohen

    Enjoy the same fresh flavors of fish tacos in salad form! Served with fresh veggies and crunchy tortillas, this is sure to become your new go-to for Taco Tuesdays.

  • Farmers' Market Salad with Peaches, Goat Cheese, and Basil

    Salad recipe with peaches, goat cheese and basil
    Alison Conklin

    Juicy, ripe peaches and aromatic basil never looked better than on this salad. It only takes 10 minutes to whip up, just make sure to have extra on hand. You’ll definitely want seconds.

    Continue to 9 of 21 below.
  • Turkey Taco Salad

    Turkey Taco Salad
    Sally Vargas

    The best part about this salad? The meat can be made in advance, which saves you time when the dinner hangries strike. Feel free to serve it warm or cold!

  • Chicken Pozole Salad

    Chicken Posole Salad
    Elise Bauer

    All the delightful fixings of chicken pozole are in this salad. Chili rubbed chicken breasts are served with hominy, shredded cabbage, and romaine and topped with avocados, radishes, cilantro, and cotija cheese. It all comes together in perfect harmony thanks to the lime infused vinaigrette!

  • Un-Cobb Salad

    Elise Bauer

    A Cobb salad is great if you are really wanting something substantial, but if you’re in the market for a meal that is on the lighter side, try this Un-Cobb Salad. Fresh fruits like mangos and apples are served with avocados and dried cranberries.

  • Strawberry Arugula Quinoa Salad

    Strawberry Quinoa Arugula Salad
    Elise Bauer

    Strawberries are juicy, tart, and sweet, and they make a playful addition to salads of all kinds, including a quinoa salad!

    Continue to 13 of 21 below.
  • Shrimp Cobb Salad with Creamy Basil Dressing

    shrimp cobb salad
    Sally Vargas

    Switching out the chicken with shrimp gives cobb salad a new twist while keeping the protein that helps you feel full longer. This version is light and refreshing and gets a tropical flair from mangoes and the salty bite of cotija cheese.

  • Lentil Salad with Summer Vegetables

    lentil salad
    Sheryl Julian

    Lentils are a great, plant-based source of protein and fiber. Added to an arugula-based salad with other fresh summer veggies, lentils make it a whole meal. Whisk together a lemony dressing and dinner is fresh and ready.

  • Chicken Panzanella Salad

    Chicken Panzanella Recipe - big bowl of colorful panzanella
    Nick Evans

    Use up any stale bread you have with this fun salad. Make things even easier on yourself by snagging a rotisserie chicken at the store.

  • Classic Chicken Salad

    Chicken Salad with celery and bell pepper in a serving bowl
    Elise Bauer

    This chicken salad is really the best there is. You can serve it on a sandwich, in pitas, or over a bed of lettuce (so it really can be a salad)! It has a sweet and tangy flavor that’ll drive your taste buds wild.

    Continue to 17 of 21 below.
  • Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

    Southwestern Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
    Alison Bickel

    Roasted fresh corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper, romaine, scallions... so much of summer's bounty goes into this chopped salad. Seasoned chicken adds protein and tortilla chips add some extra crunch. Topped with Cotija cheese and drizzled with a cilantro lime dressing, it's one hearty salad.

  • Chow Mein Noodle Chicken Salad

    Chow mein chicken salad
    Elise Bauer

    This is a great make-ahead salad if you keep the dressing separate from the rest of it. It's a colorful and tasty way to use up some leftover chicken and makes for a quick and easy light lunch or dinner. Chow mein noodles give it a fantastic crunch.

  • Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

    How to Make a Thai Noodle Salad
    Jessica Gavin

    Fresh, colorful, and tossed in a peanut dressing so good you could drink it. Make this one to take along to work or a picnic.

  • Curried Chicken Salad with Mango

    curried chicken salad
    Sheryl Julian

    Packed with nutrition and flavor, this salad is definitely a meal in and of itself. Full of late summer goodness like apples and celery plus grapes and mango, this is a fun spin on classic chicken salad. Add a little or a lot of the curry-seasoned dressing depending on your preference.

    Continue to 21 of 21 below.
  • Chicken Salad with Tahini Dressing

    Weeknight chicken salad in a bowl.

    Simply Recipes / Lori Rice

    With a refreshing crunch and savory sesame flavor, this salad uses leftover or rotisserie chicken so it's ready in less than a half hour. Dress cucumbers, radishes, romaine, and scallions in a ginger-tahini-based dressing then top with sesame seeds. Dinner is done.