Summer makes us all feel like kids again—at least in spirit. When the trees are bright green and the sky is a perfect blue, we all want to spend more time outside. It’s just too bad that instead of a three-month vacation, most of us are usually stuck behind a desk.
If the weather is beckoning you to eat lunch on a park bench instead of in your cubicle, use these seven easy salad recipes as a reason to follow that urge. Featuring fresh strawberries, stone fruit, and watermelon, not only do these simple meal options put some of summer’s best flavors forward, but they also come together in minutes. And when this season’s beauty calls, there’s no time to waste.
Before you reach for lettuce or kale as a predictable base for your quick salad, why not opt for fennel instead? Use this recipe from The Modern Proper as your guide, which pairs the underrated green with lemon, mint, parmesan, and olive oil. Toss it all together in two steps, and you’re all set.
Watermelon Feta Salad
When you have to spend a beautiful summer day indoors, watermelon for lunch can make it better. Use the classic summertime fruit in this recipe from Half Baked Harvest alongside cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta and toss all the ingredients in honey, basil, chives, and lemon.
Strawberry Chicken Salad
This recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats takes all the warm flavors of summer and combines them into a healthy salad that’ll make you feel energized all day. Chicken breasts, strawberries, baby spinach, oranges, pecans, broccoli, and blueberries are tossed in a honey dijon dressing that only takes 15 minutes to prep.
The expression “cool as a cucumber” will apply to you once you pack up this easy lunch recipe from The Modern Proper, which takes this namesake veggie and combines it with green onions and crushed peanuts. A dressing of rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, sugar, and salt brings in rich Asian flavors for a surprising amount of depth.
The satisfying crunch of broccoli makes a worthwhile star for an easy salad, and The Modern Proper offers up a recipe that gives it some much-deserved attention. Bacon, red onions, sunflower seeds, and raisins are mixed in, and a dressing featuring mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice combines everything together.
Stone Fruit Panzanella Salad
If you have time in the evening to toast the ciabatta bread for this Half Baked Harvest recipe, your lunch the following day will come together in a flash. Slice peaches, nectarines, or red plums to go with the bread and toss in fresh herbs, pine nuts, and burrata. It’s summertime in a bowl.
Smashed Cucumber Salad
If you’re looking for a way to try cucumber in a simple salad, turn to this recipe from How Sweet Eats and “smash” it in a bowl alongside rice vinegar, salt, sesame oil, garlic, and honey. Add in chopped chives and avocado to make everyone in your office green with envy.