Main Dish Recipes | Summer Entertaining

Easy Summer Salads for a Crowd

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There are times that a salad is precisely what you need to round out dinner for your guests.  I’ve gathered some of my favorite easy summer salads for a crowd to share with you.  

Let’s take a look at simple dinner salad recipes that can be a side or take the starring role as the main dish. 

Easy Summer Salads for a Crowd – easy to put together, and good enough for dinner!

  1. Fruit & Almond Summer Salad
  2. Easy Roasted Vegetable “Salad”
  3. Simple Greek Salad
  4. Traditional Cobb Salad
  5. Easy Grilled Steak Salad
  6. Summer Orange & Beet Salad
  7. Balsamic Caprese Salad
  8. Antipasto Salad
  9. Fiesta Taco Salad
  10. Easy Summer Pasta Salad

Summer Salads for a Crowd – you don’t even need recipes.  Just ingredients! Make it how you like it!

During the summer there are many times that I will serve a salad as the main course of a meal.  It’s easy, it doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and it’s pretty refreshing.  The best part about summer salads are the ingredients that are available.  Adding fresh seasonal fruits brightens up any meal.  Take a look at this beauty.  It’s a simple salad.  In fact, it’s a super easy salad for a summer party.  

Summer Dinner Salad with Seasonal Fruit & Almonds

  • Your favorite green 
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Slivered almonds

Green salad with fresh blueberries, slivered almonds, and fresh raspberries.

Top this salad with a simple dressing like poppy seed.  Add grilled chicken, and automatically it becomes a dinner salad.  Not only is this crowd pleasing salad easy to make, it’s beautiful.

Easy Roasted Vegetable “Salad”

  • Grilled peppers
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Cherry tomatoes, grilled
  • Zuchinni, grilled
  • Eggplant, grilled

Roasted vegetables: tomatoes, yellow peppers, green peppers, red peppers on a cutting board for serving.

There isn’t a rule that states you must serve a salad in a big bowl. Also, there isn’t a rule that all salads must contain leafy greens.  There are not salad police.  The ingredients are 100% up to you and you alone.  Serving a plate of roasted vegetables to each person is a fun twist on a summer salad.  Simply coat the vegetables in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Cook for 4 minutes on one side, flip, and cook for another 4 minutes on the other.  

Variations:

Add some of these ingredients to vary your dish, or make it heartier:

  • grilled chicken
  • grilled shrimp
  • roasted nuts
  • blue cheese or feta crumbles
  • Add red pepper flakes for a little spice!

Greek Salad

Greek salad easily a favorite in our home.  The reason we love it so much is because it’s uncomplicated.  In a Greek salad you have many of the same ingredients you’d have in a gyro, which is another favorite.  Often times I’ll serve a traditional Greek salad with warmed pita, and sliced gyro meat or Greek spiced grilled chicken on top,  It makes for a fabulously easy dinner during the summer or any time! 

Ingredients:

  • Iceberg lettuce (1 whole head)
  • 1 cup of Kalamata olives
  • 1 block of feta cheese
  • Thinly sliced medium red onion
  • 1/4 cup pepperocini peppers
  • 1 large English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Yellow peppers, sliced thinly

Summer salad: Greek salad in a blue bowl.  Includes feta cheese, lettuce, black olives, red onions, yellow peppers, and cucumbers.

Making this summer salad for a crowd is simple! All you need to do is mix all of the ingredients together and top with some Greek Goddess dressing – you’ll be the hero all summer long!  Add some sliced gyro meat like I do sometimes!

Cobb Salad

There is no more delicious summer salad for a crowd than the traditional Cobb Salad!  With the fresh avocado, and crispy bacon, it’s another crowd pleasing summer salad.  This salad combines romaine lettuce with grilled chicken,  crispy bacon (we’re already winning, right?), tomatoes, avocado, and crumbled blue cheese, and thinly sliced red onion.  

Traditional Cobb Salad including lettuce, grilled chicken, tomatoes, onions, blue cheese ,avocados and bacon.

What you need for a Cobb Salad:

  • 2 grilled chicken breasts
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes or 3 large plum tomatoes
  • Romaine lettuce head
  • 1/2 pound bacon cooked crispy and chopped 
  • 1 whole avocado, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 small tub of blue cheese crumbles

Easy Grilled Steak Salad

The first time I tried a steak salad it was visiting friends in South Carolina at a golf club.  The salad named after the club, and it was quickly my favorite salad of all time.  Since then I’ve made my version of this salad on a regular basis and often, for company.  This easy salad combines grilled flank steak, vine ripened cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced radishes shaved parmesan, arugula and balsamic.  It’s oh so simple, and oh so satisfying.  

Easy summer Salad made with arugula, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan and radishes.

Summer Orange & Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

IS there honestly anything more refreshing on a summer day than oranges? All you need to do for this crowd pleasing salad (which I make on individual plates) are thinly sliced oranges, and thinly sliced roasted beats.  Plate them with some sprigs of mint and some farmers cheese crumbles.  

beautiful, easy summer salad make with bright orange oranges, roasted, sliced beets, mint, and crumbled farmer's cheese

What to pair with this salad:

  • Grilled lemon chicken
  • Shrimp skewers
  • Grilled salmon

Any protein can make this particular salad more hearty.  Even adding a bit of burrata to the middle makes this salad a dinner salad as opposed to a side.  

Balsamic Caprese Salad

Easy Summer Salad - fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomato with balsamic reduction on a cutting board for serving.

This salad can absolutely be a stand alone for a summer dinner salad.  It’s best when you can pick up perfectly ripe tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella.  Usually I just grab some basil from the back and throw it together.  I drizzle some balsamic glaze over the top (a pantry staple for me), and call it a night!  This dinner salad is especially nice to add as a little more of a substantial choice if you plan an evening of tapas and drinks which makes for very easy summer entertaining.

Antipasto Salad

This is one of the salads that is more of a go-to for me rather than a special event or party salad, but it impresses every time.  It contains vegetables and protein, and all you nee to add to round it out for a full dinner is some crusty bread or garlic knots.  Here are the ingredients for my famous antipasto salad:

  • 1/4 pound Genoa Salami
  • 1/4 pound Deli Pepperoni
  • Provolone Cheese 1/4 pound
  • 1/4 pound deli ham
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 6-8 Pepperocini peppers
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 salad cucumbers, sliced

Delicious antipasto salad in a white bowl with salami, tomatoes, provolone cheese, hot pepper, artichokes, and lettuce.Party salad to feed a crowd.

It’s such a pretty salad – and a crowd pleaser every time!

Fiesta Taco Salad

A taco salad is one of the easiest and most crowd pleasing summer salads you’ll ever make.  It’s colorful, it’s fun, and it’s filling! Taco salad combines simple ingredients: chopped iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, diced onions, cheddar cheese, and taco meat! All you do is layer those delicious ingredients into a bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of salsa!  Add some jalapenos to the side for those who want a little extra heat.  Serve with a margarita and some chips and salsa – you’re good to go!!

Easy Summer Salads for a crowd.  Taco shell with taco meat, cheese, lettuce, black olives, tomatoes.

Easy Summer Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is something that can be made in batches and ahead of time! It’s party perfect food for summer, and takes the place of a long prep time dish for any party!  

Easy Summer Salad - Tortellini pasta salad with black olives, tomatoes, mozarella cheese balls and fresh basil.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cooked cheese tortellini
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Small can black olives
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • Balsamic glaze to taste

Add grilled chicken or grilled shrimp to the salad for a perfectly balanced meal.

Easy summer salads for a crowd – the best way to keep your cool and get dinner on the table!

xoxo,

JJ

Easy Summer Salad - Pasta salad with spinach, tomato, and pasta

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