Bikinis and recipes share one thing in common: Before you try them yourself, you have no idea what they're actually like. And much like the search for a perfectly fitting swimsuit, finding an easy, great-tasting recipe that will one day make it into your cooking repertoire can be a frustrating pursuit.
To cut out the trial-and-error process, we tapped the thriving community of over 1.2 million home cooks at Food52. We asked their team to share the best summer salads that have been tested by their readers—and emerged with hundreds of likes and countless glowing reviews. Don't worry; there are no duds in this list. Add these to your repertoire—these summer salad recipes actually taste as good as they look.
Watermelon, Arugula, and Pickled Onion Summer Salad
The Recipe: It doesn't get more summery than this watermelon, arugula, and pickled onion summer salad. It's light, refreshing, and healthy.
The Hero Ingredient: Watermelon steals the show. The juicy summer fruit is sliced into cubes and used to top fresh arugula and creamy feta cheese.
The Reviews: This recipe has received 106 likes by Food52 users. "I love that you can prep the components ahead and throw them together just before serving for a quintessential [summer] weeknight," one user wrote. "I added a teaspoon of coriander seeds; for a bit of heat I could see adding a whole, dried chile. I will absolutely be making this again and again and again."
Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad
The Recipe: This sriracha-lime corn salad might well be the warm-weather answer to chili. Corn, bell peppers, parsley, and crumbled cotija cheese combine to make a tasty side salad.
The Hero Ingredient: Sriracha fans, this one's for you. The hot sauce gives this salad just enough kick.
The Reviews: This unique recipe received 313 likes. "Unbelievably delicious! Made it as directed but added a corn tortilla that I toasted and crumbled, and diced avocado same size as corn. Terrific recipe," reads one review. If you can't locate cotija cheese, many users say they swapped it for Danish feta.
Grilled Avocado Halves With Cumin-Spiced Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
The Recipe: Avocado fans, eat your heart out. These grilled avocado halves with cumin-spiced quinoa and black bean salad is exactly what you've been looking for.
The Hero Ingredient: Dijon mustard and maple syrup give this recipe an unexpected twist.
The Reviews: "Made this tonight for dinner along side ancho rubbed flank steak-fantastic!" wrote one Food52 user. "I grilled the avocados on a grill pan over medium-high heat. They were perfect! My family declared the meal a 'keeper.'"
Sesame Noodle Salad With Seared Mushroom "Scallops"
The Recipe: Not all salads are packed with greens—this sesame noodle salad with seared mushroom "scallops," proves that salads can be filling, too.
The Hero Ingredient: Freshly grated ginger root gives this noodle dish a sharp kick, mixed with chili flakes and honey.
The Reviews: "The beauty in this salad is its adaptability," writes Food52 editors. Use the noodles and dressing as a foundation, then feel free to sub in the leftover broccoli in your crisper for celery, or top the noodles with some sort of meat or vegetable you don't have mushrooms on hand." One user echoes, "I made this for dinner tonight, and it was a resounding hit!"
Forbidden Rice Salad With Thai Coconut-Lime Dressing
The Recipe: Suffering from bland salad fatigue? This forbidden rice salad with Thai coconut-lime dressing will put an end to that.
The Hero Ingredient: Fresh lemongrass gives this dish depth, combined with fresh cilantro and mint.
The Reviews: Nearly 300 Food52 home cooks say this recipe is a must-try. "This salad is amazing! Composed it exactly as advised … did add a slight sprinkle of chopped peanuts. This is one that I will crave over and over!" writes one user.
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