39 No-Cook Sides Perfect for Summer

Check out these chill salads and sides that'll keep you and your kitchen cool.

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Bok Choy Toss

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
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Juicy Watermelon Salad

This fruit salad has such a surprising yet fabulous mix of flavors that friends often ask for the recipe. Combine seedless watermelon varieties in yellow, red and pink for a colorful twist. —Heidi Haight, Macomb, Michigan
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Two-Berry Fluff Salad

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
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Marinated Three Bean Salad

Fresh herbs and cayenne pepper provide the fantastic flavor in this marinated salad featuring fresh veggies and canned beans. —Carol Tucker, Wooster, Ohio
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Strawberry Arugula Salad with Feta

The combination of peppery arugula, sweet strawberries and robust feta cheese may sound unusual, but one bite wins over taste buds.—Carala Horne, Meridian, Mississippi
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Honey-Pecan Kiwi Salad

This dish won second place in a summer salad recipe feature published in our local newspaper. But it takes first place with my family, always happy to try my new creations. —Marla Arbet, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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Sliced Tomato Salad

I got this recipe from my grandmother. It's a perfect platter to serve with burgers or hot sandwiches. —Kendal Tangedal, Plentywood, Montana
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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

The first time my friends tasted my new side dish, they said it was phenomenal. The longer you let it chill in the fridge, the more tender the sprouts will be. —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado
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Flamboyant Flamenco Summer Salad

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 as protein. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Thai Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

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
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Lemony Zucchini Ribbons

Fresh zucchini gets a shave and a drizzle of lemony goodness in this fab salad. Sprinkle the goat cheese or feta on top and dive in. —Ellie Martin Cliffe, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Pear-Blueberry Ambrosia with Creamy Lime Dressing

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
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Asian Cucumber Salad

This colorful Asian cucumber salad makes a simple, cool side dish when we have stir-fry for dinner. —Tari Ambler, Shorewood, Illinois
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Simple Waldorf Salad

This is my go-to salad when I need a quick little meal. When I want a sweeter taste, I use whipped cream instead of yogurt. —Wendy Masters, East Garafraxa, Ontario
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Tabouleh

Tabouleh, also known as tabbouleh, is a classic Middle Eastern salad. The fresh veggies and mint leaves make it light and refreshing on a hot day. —Michael & Mathil Chebat, Lake Ridge, Virginia
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Marinated Mushrooms & Artichokes

I marinate mushrooms and artichokes in fresh tarragon, thyme and seasonings so they turn out tart, tangy and irresistible. —Marcia Doyle, Pompano, Florida
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Sesame Almond Slaw

Crunchy veggies and noodles are coated in a tangy dressing in this pleasant slaw. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pina Colada Molded Salad

My gelatin ring gets a tropical twist from coconut, pineapple and macadamia nuts. It's a wonderful anytime treat. Now that I'm retired from teaching, I have more time for kitchen experiments. —Carol Gillespie, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
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Tasty Marinated Tomatoes

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
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Marinated Cucumbers

These marinated cucumbers 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
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Easy Orange and Red Onion Salad

Here's an unusual salad that’s easy to prepare when holiday obligations have you short on time. The combination of red onions and oranges may seem unusual, but it's surprisingly delightful. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
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Crab-Stuffed Avocados

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
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Sweet & Sour Squash Salad

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
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Citrus Avocado Salad

This recipe nicely showcases grapefruit and oranges, which are at their peak around the holidays. Citrus fruits pair well with a sweet dressing. —Sonia Candler, Edmonton, Alberta
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Creamy Grape Salad

Everyone raves when I bring this refreshing, creamy grape salad to potlucks. For a special finishing touch, sprinkle it with brown sugar and pecans. —Marge Elling, Jenison, Michigan
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Squash Ribbons

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.
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Marinated Broccoli

This festive side dish couldn't be easier to throw together. But because it's so pretty, it's perfect for special occasions. —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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My Favorite Avocado Salad

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
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Ruby Raspberry Slaw

Give ordinary coleslaw a "berry" tangy twist. It's sure to get raves at your next picnic or potluck. —Deborah Biggs, Omaha, Nebraska
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Fennel Salad with Citrus Dressing

My family really enjoys crunchy fennel, which pairs well with citrus vinaigrette. The salad makes a nice addition to any meal.—Denise Elder, Hanover, Ontario
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Lemon Artichoke Romaine Salad

"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!"
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Summer Squash and Zucchini Salad

I came up with this colorful, 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
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Heirloom Tomato Salad

This is a simple yet elegant dish that always pleases my guests. Not only is it tasty, but it is healthy, too. The more varied the colors of the tomatoes you choose, the prettier the salad will be. —Jess Apfe, Berkeley, California
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Candy Bar Apple Salad

This creamy, sweet 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
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Caribbean Island Coleslaw

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
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Pina Colada Fruit Salad

Give friends a taste of the tropics on warm summer days with this refreshing fruit blend. For a little extra punch, you might add a splash of coconut rum. —Carol Farnsworth, Greenwood, Indiana
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Cucumbers with Dressing

It wouldn't be summer if Mom didn't make lots of these creamy cucumbers. Just a few simple ingredients—mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and salt—are all you need to dress them up. —Michelle Beran, Claflin, Kansas

Annamarie Higley
Annamarie is Taste of Home’s Shopping Editor and previously worked on the brand’s magazine and special issues. It was during this time she tapped into her love language, gifts, and spearheaded the print holiday gift guides in 2021 and 2022. She’s thrilled to continue creating gift guides full time for the shopping team, in addition to testing and reviewing products, spotlighting viral gadgets and editing freelanced content. A midwestern transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, crafting and—you guessed it!—shopping and cooking.