As the warm summer months approach, the thought of eating heavy meals is far from appealing.
The sweltering heat calls for light and refreshing dishes that are both satisfying and delicious.
Composed salads are the perfect solution, offering the best of both worlds – a beautiful array of colorful and nutritious ingredients that come together to create a mouth-watering masterpiece.
We have carefully crafted a list of 10 sensational composed salad ideas that are guaranteed to enhance your summer dining experience.
So, say goodbye to boring salads and hello to these vibrant, delectable, and refreshing culinary creations.
1. Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad
Begin your journey into the world of composed salads with this delightful and luxurious combination of flavors and textures.
The star of this composed salad is the grilled peaches, which provide a sweet and smoky flavor, perfectly complemented by the creamy and luscious burrata cheese. The addition of arugula lends a peppery, fresh element, while toasted almonds offer a satisfying crunch. To take this salad to the next level, drizzle a honey balsamic reduction over the top, adding depth and a touch of tanginess. The result is a true symphony of flavors that will leave your taste buds begging for more.
2. Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Transport your senses to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean with this enticing and vibrant composed salad.
- Orzo pasta serves as the base, cooked al dente and tossed in a zesty lemon-herb vinaigrette.
- Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, and marinated artichoke hearts bring a punch of bold Mediterranean flavors to the dish.
- Complete this salad with a generous sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese and a handful of fresh basil leaves for a touch of brightness.
This Mediterranean Orzo Salad is perfect for outdoor gatherings, picnics, or simply enjoying a light lunch on a warm summer day.
3. Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad
Inject a burst of summer freshness into your meals with this simple, yet unforgettable composed salad.
- Watermelon – Juicy, sweet, and refreshing, watermelon is a quintessential summer fruit and the perfect choice for this salad.
- Feta cheese – The salty and tangy notes of feta play wonderfully against the sweetness of the watermelon.
- Mint leaves – Finely chopped fresh mint adds a cooling and invigorating touch to this delightful composition.
Arrange the watermelon and feta on a platter, sprinkle with the chopped mint, and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. This salad is sure to become a summer staple in your household.
4. Nicoise Salad
A classic French composed salad, Nicoise Salad is a masterpiece of balanced flavors and textures that never fails to impress.
Begin by arranging a bed of mixed greens on a large platter. Top with beautifully arranged rows or sections of the following ingredients:
- Green beans – Blanched until tender-crisp and chilled.
- Hard-boiled eggs – Sliced or quartered.
- Small potatoes – Boiled, halved, and cooled.
- Tomatoes – Cherry or grape varieties work best.
- Olives – Kalamata or Nicoise varieties.
- Grilled or poached tuna – Fresh or high-quality canned.
Finish the salad with a drizzle of classic French vinaigrette and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Bon appétit!5. Southwestern Cobb Salad
Put a flavorful twist on the traditional Cobb salad with this Southwestern-inspired composed salad that’s bursting with fresh ingredients and zesty seasonings.
Layer the following ingredients on a large platter, creating a visually stunning array of colors and textures:
- Romaine lettuce – Chopped and tossed with lime juice and olive oil as a base.
- Grilled corn – Removed from the cob and slightly cooled.
- Black beans – Rinsed and drained.
- Cherry tomatoes – Halved for a pop of color.
- Avocado – Sliced or diced and tossed in lime juice to prevent browning.
- Grilled chicken – Seasoned with a Southwestern spice blend and cooked to perfection.
- Cotija cheese – Crumbled for a salty and tangy finish.
Tie all the elements together with a drizzle of chipotle ranch dressing and a garnish of fresh cilantro. This Southwestern Cobb Salad is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any summer gathering.
6. Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze
An Italian classic, this elegant composed salad highlights the harmonious trio of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, elevated with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
On a large platter, artfully arrange alternating slices of ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, overlapping slightly. Tuck whole basil leaves between the tomato and mozzarella slices, creating a beautiful pattern. Drizzle the salad generously with extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic glaze, then season with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. This Caprese Salad is a testament to the beauty of simplicity, allowing the quality of the ingredients to shine through.
7. Sesame Seared Tuna Salad
Delight your palate with this Asian-inspired composed salad, featuring succulent sesame-crusted tuna atop a bed of crisp and flavorful vegetables.
Start by searing sesame seed-encrusted tuna steaks to your desired level of doneness, then slicing them into thin, even pieces. On a large platter, arrange a bed of mixed greens, followed by the following ingredients:
- Julienned vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers, for a satisfying crunch.
- Avocado, sliced and fanned out for a creamy contrast.
- Seared tuna slices, beautifully fanned out to showcase their seared exterior and tender interior.
Complete the dish with a drizzle of ginger-soy vinaigrette and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for added texture and flavor. This Sesame Seared Tuna Salad is the epitome of refinement and indulgence in a composed salad.
8. Greek Salad with Lemon-Oregano Dressing
This colorful and flavorful composed salad is a celebration of classic Greek ingredients, making it a perfect addition to any summer meal.
On a large serving platter, arrange the following ingredients in a visually appealing manner:
- Romaine lettuce – Chopped and tossed with a small amount of olive oil as a base.
- Cherry tomatoes – Halved for a burst of color and juiciness.
- Cucumber – Peeled, seeded, and sliced for a refreshing crunch.
- Red onion – Thinly sliced for a sharp, tangy bite.
- Kalamata olives – Pitted and halved to provide a salty and briny accent.
- Feta cheese – Crumbled generously over the salad for a rich and tangy contrast.
Tie the salad together with a vibrant lemon-oregano dressing that marries all the ingredients beautifully, and finish with a sprinkle of fresh oregano leaves for a final touch of authenticity. This Greek Salad is bound to transport you and your guests straight to the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean.
9. Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
This visually stunning composed salad showcases the earthy and sweet flavors of roasted beets, contrasted with the tangy creaminess of goat cheese.
Begin by roasting red and golden beets until fork-tender, then allow them to cool and slice them into thin wedges. Arrange a bed of mixed greens on a serving platter, and top with the beet wedges, creating an eye-catching pattern. Add dollops of soft goat cheese, which will provide a luscious and tangy contrast to the sweet beets. To add another layer of flavor and texture, sprinkle the salad with toasted walnuts and thinly sliced red onion. Complete this culinary masterpiece with a drizzle of citrus vinaigrette, which will brighten up the dish and perfectly balance the flavors. This Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad is a true work of art, both visually and gastronomically.
10. Thai Mango Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
Inspired by the vibrant flavors of Thai cuisine, this composed salad is a delightful medley of sweet, spicy, tangy, and salty elements.
Start by creating a base of mixed greens on a large platter. Add the following ingredients, either in separate sections or artfully mixed together:
- Fresh mango – Peeled, pitted, and sliced into thin strips for a burst of tropical sweetness.
- Red bell pepper – Thinly sliced for a pop of color and a crunchy texture.
- Cilantro leaves – Roughly chopped for a fresh, herbal note.
- Scallions – Thinly sliced on the diagonal for a mild onion flavor.
- Julienned carrots – For an additional layer of crunch and sweetness.
Bring this Thai Mango Salad to life with a drizzle of spicy peanut dressing, which packs a punch of flavor and ties together all the elements harmoniously. Garnish with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts and lime wedges for added zing. This salad is sure to become a favorite at your summer gatherings, offering a unique and exotic twist on the traditional composed salad.
In conclusion, composed salads are an incredible way to showcase the freshest and most vibrant ingredients of the summer season, providing a refreshing and satisfying dining experience. By exploring the diverse flavors and textures of these 10 composed salad ideas, you can elevate your summer meals and impress your guests with culinary creativity. So, don’t settle for bland and boring salads – embrace the world of composed salads and discover the endless possibilities they have to offer.