Summertime is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of seasonal produce and whip up some delicious salads! Not only are salads a healthy and refreshing option in the heat, but they can also be quite budget-friendly. In fact, eating healthy is cheaper than you think! In this article, we will give you some fabulous salad recipes and tips on making them extra delicious.

Seasonal Produce Makes for Fresh and Frugal Summer Salads

In-season fruits and vegetables are not only more affordable but also more flavorful. Yes, that’s right – incorporating seasonal produce into your salads will not only save you money but will also give you the most delicious and freshest flavors possible.

Seasonal produce is also extremely nutrient-packed. Fruits and vegetables like strawberries, leafy greens, zucchini, tomatoes, and more are all in-season during summer months and are ideal options for a wide variety of salads.

Take advantage of in-season fruits and vegetables to make your salads the best they can be. Not sure what’s in season right now? A simple Google search or visiting your local farmers’ market can give you a better idea of what produce is in season in your area. 

Delicious Summer Salad Recipes That Will Save You Money

Tossing together a delicious summer salad should be fun and easy. Here are some amazingly fresh and frugal recipes that will wow your taste buds and boost your health.

Simple Mediterranean Chickpea Salad: Start by mixing drained and rinsed chickpeas, diced red onions, cubed cucumbers, tomatoes, and a diced bell pepper in a large bowl. Meanwhile, mix Greek feta cheese, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a separate bowl. Pour over the chickpea mixture and stir to combine.

Easy Kale and Avocado Salad:

  1. Blend olive oil, lemon juice, agave nectar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Toss together kale, diced red onions, diced bell pepper, and diced avocado in a bowl.
  3. Add the dressing and mix to combine.
  4. Top with roasted cashew nuts and enjoy!

Summer Quinoa Salad:

  1. Cook quinoa in boiling salted water until fluffy.
  2. Mix cooked spinach, diced red peppers, feta cheese, diced cooked bacon, and cooked quinoa.
  3. Mix olive oil, white wine vinegar, oregano, garlic powder, light brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa mixture and stir to combine. 

Watermelon and feta salad: While this summer salad only has a few ingredients, it packs some big flavor. Combine chunks of juicy watermelon with crumbled feta cheese, mint leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Grilled peach and arugula salad: Summer is an awesome time for fresh and juicy peaches. For this delicious salad, grill sliced peaches and toss them with peppery arugula, crumbled goat cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette.

Greek salad: Another simple salad that brings big flavor, greek salad is a classic favorite. Combine chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, and feta cheese with a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Caprese salad: For an Italian taste, layer slices of fresh tomato, mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Taco salad: Taco salads are a fantastic way to get that southern border taste into a healthy salad. Combine seasoned ground beef or turkey with lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, and tortilla chips, then top with salsa and sour cream.

Cobb Salad: This classic salad is a favorite for good reason. Simply arrange chopped lettuce, cooked chicken, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, tomato, and blue cheese on a plate, then drizzle with your favorite dressing.

Fruit salad: This one is always a winner, and kids love it too! For an excellent fruit salad, combine sliced strawberries, kiwi, mango, and pineapple chunks. If these fruits don’t suit your fancy, choose ones that do. It’s your salad, after all! Toss it all with a honey and lime dressing.

Steak salad: Grill a steak to your liking and then cut it into strips. Serve it over mixed greens, roasted cherry tomatoes, and crumbled blue cheese, then drizzle it all with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Carrot and Coconut Salad: For a unique but fantastic summer salad, shave raw carrots into ribbons using a vegetable peeler, then toss with shredded coconut, toasted sesame seeds, and a ginger and lime dressing.

Get Creative With Dressings and Toppings

Salad dressings and toppings are a great way to add flavor, texture, and nutrition to your salads. You can get creative with them by mixing and matching different ingredients and flavors. For dressings, try making your own with ingredients like olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, and herbs. You can also experiment with different types of vinegar or citrus juices to add acidity and brightness to your dressings. 

As for toppings, you can add crunch with nuts or seeds, sweetness with fruit, and creaminess with cheese or avocado. Don’t be afraid to try new combinations and see what works best for you! Here are a few delicious recipes for fresh and frugal summer salad dressings:

Cilantro Lime Dressing: Blend 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of honey, and salt and pepper to taste.

Poppy Seed Dressing: Whisk together 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Miso Sesame Dressing: Blend together 1 tablespoon white miso paste, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 garlic clove, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, and 1/4 cup olive oil.

Lemon and Herb Vinaigrette: Whisk together 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil, and chives), and salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy Avocado Dressing: Mix 1 ripe avocado, 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 garlic cloves, and salt and pepper to taste.

Honey Mustard Dressing: Whisk together 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Orange and Ginger Dressing: Whisk together 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette: Blend 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.


You can get really creative with toppings, too. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Croutons
  • Walnuts
  • Cranberries
  • Honey roasted peanuts
  • Roasted beets
  • Grilled tofu
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Bacon bits
  • Grilled corn
  • Olives
  • Grilled zucchini
  • Grilled peppers
  • Blueberries
  • Goat cheese
  • Sliced almonds.
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Pickled red onions
  • Roasted garlic
  • Shredded coconut
  • Grilled portobello mushrooms
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Sliced apples

These simple, fresh, and cheap recipes can save you time and money while still providing delicious and nutritious meals all summer long! So take some of our recipes and ideas and customize your delicious fresh and frugal summer salads. Head to the local farmer’s market, grab your chopping boards, and create some colorful and delectable summer salads!