39 No-Cook Sides Perfect for Summer
Check out these chill salads and sides that'll keep you and your kitchen cool.
Chop some fresh veggies, add a gingery bottled dressing and savor this unique bok choy salad that’s big on flavor and crunch. How cool is that? —Andrew McDowell, Lake Villa, Illinois
This fluffy salad is a welcome treat on warm Texas afternoons. Because there's a blueberry orchard near our home, we often pick up berries to use in this recipe and others. When blueberries and strawberries aren't in season, you can substitute frozen berries with equally good results. —Karen Wenzel, Conroe, Texas
Fresh herbs and cayenne pepper provide the fantastic flavor in this marinated salad featuring fresh veggies and canned beans. —Carol Tucker, Wooster, Ohio
This dish won second place in a summer salad recipe feature published in our local newspaper. But it takes first place with my family, who loves to try all my new creations. —Marla Arbet, Kenosha, Wisconsin
I got this recipe from my grandmother. It's a perfect platter to serve with burgers or hot sandwiches. —Kendal Tangedal, Plentywood, Montana
I came up with this salad simply by choosing the best-looking vegetables at a local farmers market—the colors are so beautiful! Turn it into a full vegetarian meal by adding roasted garbanzo beans or cooked white beans. —Crystal Schlueter, Babbitt, Minnesota
I created this salad to replicate one I tried on a cruise several years ago. It goes over very well at family gatherings and potlucks year-round. We love the spice of the Thai chile, but if your family isn't into spice, feel free to leave it out. It will still be delicious! —Donna Gribbins, Shelbyville, Kentucky
This dessert is delicious and decadent, yet is chock-full of healthy fruit with a creamy lime dressing; the blueberries provide a lovely pop of color. —Laura Stricklin, Jackson, Mississippi
This colorful cucumber dish makes a simple, cool side when we have stir-fry for dinner. —Tari Ambler, Shorewood, Illinois
This cauliflower tabbouleh recipe is super easy and fast to make. I love that I can offer it to my guests who have special dietary restrictions. —Maiah Miller, Monterey, California
My sister and I created this fresh salad at one of our "recipe nights" and it's been a hit at every party since! Try red pepper flakes for a little kick if you'd like, or add Greek pepperoncini. —Jennifer Freier, Algonquin, Illinois
I marinate mushrooms and artichokes in fresh tarragon, thyme and seasonings so they turn out tart, tangy and irresistible. —Marcia Doyle, Pompano, Florida
Crunchy veggies and noodles are coated in a tangy dressing in this pleasant slaw. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
My niece introduced me to this colorful recipe some time ago. I make it when I have buffets or large gatherings because it can be prepared hours ahead. This is a wonderful way to use a bumper crop of tomatoes. —Myrtle Matthews, Marietta, Georgia
These cucumber slices make a cool summer side dish dressed in a light, tangy vinegar and oil mixture seasoned with herbs. The refreshing salad is always a hit when served with cold sandwiches or grilled meat.
-Mary Helen Hinson, Lamberton, North Carolina
-Mary Helen Hinson, Lamberton, North Carolina
We enjoy having this creamy and crunchy salad out on our deck on summer evenings. And it goes together in minutes flat! —Gail VanGundy, Parker, Colorado
This salad goes over really well with all ages, and it's a good way to get kids to eat summer squash. —Opal Shipman Levelland, Texas
Everyone raves when I bring this refreshing, creamy salad to potlucks. For a special finishing touch, sprinkle it with brown sugar and pecans. —Marge Elling, Jenison, Michigan
Steamed and well seasoned, these pretty vegetable ribbons will dress up your dinner plate. The strips of yellow summer squash and zucchini are easy to cut using a vegetable peeler or cheese slicer.
Tangy lime dressing is the perfect topper for this avocado salad. Toasted walnuts make for crunchy goodness, but try it with any kind of nut you like. —Ilia Kaku, North Richland Hills, Texas
Give ordinary coleslaw a "berry" tangy twist. It's sure to get raves at your next picnic or potluck. —Deborah Biggs, Omaha, Nebraska
"I created this dish when I was trying to duplicate a very lemony Caesar salad," recalls Kathy Armstrong of Post Falls, Idaho. "I think my version is not only delicious but more healthful, too!"
I came up with this colorful and tasty zucchini salad years ago for a recipe contest and was delighted when I won honorable mention! The recipe easily doubles and is the perfect dish to take to potlucks or family gatherings. —Paula Wharton, El Paso, Texas
This creamy, sweet snickers salad with crisp apple crunch is a real people-pleaser. It makes a lot, which is good, because it will go fast! —Cyndi Fynaardt, Oskaloosa, Iowa
After trying a similar version of this coleslaw while visiting the island of St. Kitts, I returned home and wanted to make it myself. I've taken it to so many events, and it's always a hit. —Noreen McCormick Danek, Cromwell, Connecticut