Our 21 Best Recipes for When You Need a Salad—Stat

Bright, refreshing salads for the win.

May 12, 2020
Photo by Ty Mecham

When I'm in the mood for something bright and fresh, nothing but a salad will do—whether that means tossing all the random bits of veg and beans lying around my fridge into a big bowl or taking a bit of extra time to roast up some squash and toss it with tahini and chickpeas.

I don't know about you, but with a whole lot of comfort food on the menu these past couple of months, I've newly been in a "bright, fresh" kind of mood a lot lately—so I rounded up a bunch of Food52's finest and freshest. Here are 21 of our all-time best salad recipes, from a cooling watermelon–tomato salad to the most epic Cobb salad ever.

Our 21 Best Salad Recipes

1. Citrus Ginger Tofu Salad with Buckwheat Soba Noodles

This bright citrusy salad with marinated tofu, soba noodles, and so many veggies is the type of dish you could eat seven days in a row and never get bored of.

2. Zuni-Inspired Grilled Chicken Salad

Inspired by Zuni Café's family meal, this unfussy grilled chicken salad shines thanks to its garlicky aioli dressing and a pop of lemon juice and zest.

3. Nancy's Chopped Salad

This powerhouse chopped salad from Chef Nancy Silverton is one we keep coming back to over and over and over again. Make it at home to find out why.

4. Mustardy Escarole Salad With Grilled Cheese Croutons

Grilled cheese croutons? Say no more.

5. Fresh Corn Salad With Brown Butter, Chives & Chiles

Ripe summer ingredients, like crunchy-sweet corn, don't need much fanfare—just a few spoonfuls of nutty brown butter.

6. Marinated Lentil Salad with Zucchini & Tomatoes

This marinated lentil salad gladly invites your favorite swaps and riffs—mix up the cheeses, herbs, nuts, it's totally up to you.

7. Roasted Seaweed Caesar Salad With Anchovy Croutons

"For even more savory depth and a little lip-smacking nuttiness," our Table for One columnist Eric Kim writes, "I've added one of my favorite Korean pantry items of all time: roasted seaweed snack, or gim."

8. Early Summer Panzanella

We'd be remiss not to include the recipe contest winner for "Your Greatest Salad of All Time," a zingy vegetable panzanella.

9. Haven's Kitchen Kale Salad

The trick to this salad's creamy-lush dressing (no whisking required): breaking up the yolks in the over-easy eggs as you toss the salad.

10. Sesame Noodle Salad with Seared Mushroom "Scallops"

Hot summer days call for this chilled noodle salad topped with pan-seared mushrooms and a zippy sesame dressing.

11. Roasted Chickpea Salad with Za'atar

Canned chickpeas transform into tiny orbs of toasty goodness with a little help from the oven, za'atar, and a splash of lemon juice in this flavor-filled salad.

12. Roasted Butternut & Red Quinoa Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

Another roasted wonder, this time with fall-ready squash, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a spicy lime vinaigrette that takes the whole thing up a few notches.

13. Grilled Peach & Apricot Salad

Consider this the ultimate peak-summer salad.

14. Cobb Salad for One

This epic Cobb salad for one can easily become an epic Cobb salad for two, or three, or—you get the idea—by batching up the ingredients.

15. Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

"This was a big hit at our table last night" is just one of many glowing reviews of this Vietnamese rice noodle salad. We're guessing the punchy fish sauce vinaigrette and crunchy mix-ins are jut a few of the reasons this dish is oh-so popular.

16. White Bean & Tuna Salad with Hard Boiled Eggs and Dukkah

This white bean and tuna salad is both elegant and rustic all at once, not to mention, incredibly tasty.

17. Warm, Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Salad

Cheese and Brussels sprouts make an unbeatable duo in this "really good" warm salad that'd be perfect as a side dish.

18. Watermelon & Goat Cheese Salad with a Verbena-Infused Vinaigrette

Few salads say "summer" better than this bright-red watermelon and goat cheese number.

19. Strawberry & Quinoa Salad with Tarragon, Soft Goat’s Cheese & Poached Egg

Meet the strawberry and quinoa salad that converted a notorious "salad hater."

20. Lentil & Basmati Salad with Tamarind, Coconut & Cilantro

This Indian-inspired salad is refreshing, easy to make, and just as delicious the next day, making it an excellent candidate for spring and summer meal prep.

21. Potato Salad With Arugula & Dijon Vinaigrette

If you've never made potato salad with vinaigrette (instead of mayo), let this recipe inspire you to give it a try—it's a revelation.

22. Green Kitchen Stories' Winter Millet Salad

"Delicious" is a word that pops up frequently in the comments section of this riffable, winter-ready salad.

What's your all-time favorite salad recipe? Tell us in the comments below!

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Erin Alexander is the Brand Partnerships Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.