5 Summer Picnic Salads (No Greens Allowed)
Summertime: the season for picnic lunches, outdoors dates, and light and fresh fare. Unravel your blankets and find your baskets, because it’s time to take mealtime outside, and we just have just the recipes to welcome the fresh air. Once the warmer months finally roll in, more and more people find their appetite for hot and heavy food diminishing, and that’s why a handful of no-hassle salad recipes are the perfect formulas to have in your summer meal arsenal. But no one wants to eat greens all season, either, and that’s why these “salad” recipes are actually completely void of the healthy leaves. Who said that salads have to be all greenery? Convince yourself otherwise with these five summer salads conspicuously lacking the color green.
1. Summer Chicken Salad
First up is a chicken salad recipe from the Food Network. There’s nothing like a little chicken mixed with mayo, and this recipe takes that combo to the next level by adding some fresh corn, dill, and blueberries to the mix.
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil, for drizzling
- 4 ears fresh corn (use 2 if on the large side)
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill, plus more for serving
- 3 stalks celery (inner light green stalks and leaves), finely diced
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
Directions: For the salad, put the chicken breasts into a large plastic storage bag. Pound with a mallet or rolling pin to flatten to 1/4-inch uniform thickness. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a grill and drizzle with the olive oil. Grill the chicken on both sides until done, about 7 minutes per side. (Rotate halfway during grilling each side to ensure pretty grill marks.) Set aside to cool. Grill the corn for a few minutes, until still crunchy but colored. With a very sharp knife, shave the kernels off each corn cob. Combine with the dill, celery, and onions in a large bowl. Set aside.
For the dressing, mix together the feta, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and sour cream in a bowl. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Stir and then taste. Add more salt if necessary. Slice the chicken on the bias to create flat, randomly shaped pieces. Throw into the bowl with the celery, onions, and corn. Stir to combine. Pour half of the dressing over the ingredients and toss gently. Add more as desired, but don’t overcoat the salad. At the end, toss in the blueberries to lightly coat them in the dressing. Optional: Spoon the salad into butter lettuce cups and then sprinkle individual helpings with feta and extra dill.
2. Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Have some pescetarians on your hands? Feed them this Mediterranean Tuna Salad recipe that was developed by Whole Foods. Everyone knows how to make the traditional tuna salad (open a can of tuna and add some mayo), but the experts over at the specialty grocer take this tuna salad up a notch by adding a number of other Mediterranean flavors into the mixing bowl.
- 4 (6-ounce) cans albacore tuna, drained well
- 1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell or piquillo peppers
- 3/4 cup sliced Greek olives
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions: Put all ingredients into a large bowl and gently fold together until well combined. Serve on sliced bread as a sandwich or spoon over a green salad.
3. Salmon Salad
Next up, we’re going to highlight an all-star salmon salad recipe from Ina Garten. This recipe has us throwing red onion, dill, capers, olive oil, and raspberry vinegar into the mix. Now that summertime is here and the fish is as fresh as ever, get some salmon on your hands and serve it in a new and inventive way.
- 2 pounds cooked salmon, chilled
- 1 cup small-diced celery (3 stalks)
- 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Break the salmon into very large flakes, removing any skin and bones, and place it in a bowl. Add the celery, red onion, dill, capers, raspberry vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Season to taste. Mix well and serve cold or at room temperature.
4. Classic Egg Salad
A vegetarian salad recipe is up next, and it comes to our picnic blanket straight from Martha Stewart herself. Though you can throw many add-ins into a good old-fashioned egg salad, sometimes simplicity is best, and that’s what you’ll get with this recipe.
- 8 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons celery, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- few dashes hot pepper sauce
- salt and pepper
- lettuce or watercress
- bread or toast
Directions: In a medium bowl, coarsely chop 8 peeled hard-cooked eggs. Add 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons chopped celery, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and a few dashes of hot pepper sauce (or more if you like a spicier salad). Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir gently to combine. Serve with greens — such as lettuce or watercress — on bread or toast.
5. Summer Pasta Salad
Last but not least is this Summer Pasta Salad from Sunday Supper Movement. Everyone loves a good pasta salad, and this one is the ticket. Loaded with the carby good stuff along with a variety of peppers, salami, and cheese, this salad hits all the flavor bases.
- 1 pound rotini pasta, cooked and strained
- 1 cup diced sweet peppers (red, orange, yellow)
- 1/2 cup diced green pepper
- 1 1/2 cups seedless cucumber, diced
- 2 cups raw broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chills, drained
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can black, cannellini, or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
- 1 cup diced cheese cubes
- 1 cup diced pepperoni
- 1 cup diced hard salami
- 2 tablespoons McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning
- 1 (16.5-ounce) bottle Italian dressing
Directions: Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Stir to combine. Transfer the pasta salad to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.