8 of the Best Lettuce-free Summer Salads

Summer salads that aren't lettuce

Need some healthy lunch inspo? Shake up your salad with our round-up of eight of the best lettuce-free recipes

Words Joy Montgomery

Quinoa and Kale Protein Power Salad


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups chopped kale (ribs removed)
  • 115 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 5-6 clementine oranges, peeled and sliced
  • ⅓ cup chopped pistachios
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons sumac, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint


  1. In a salad bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, chopped kale, garbanzo beans, orange slices, pistachios and pomegranate seeds.
  2. In a small bowl or jar, combine the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, garlic, 1 teaspoon of sumac, dried mint and kosher salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and toss so everything is evenly coated. Dust with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sumac and freshly chopped mint. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Salad can be served immediately or saved for up to 2 days.

Recipe from foodiecrush.com

Halloumi with Grilled Vegetables

summer salads


  • 100g frozen broad beans
  • 225g halloumi cheese
  • 1 small bunch of asparagus
  • 2 courgettes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots
  • 200g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • ½ a bunch of fresh sweet marjoram or oregano
  • ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Put all the dressing ingredients in a clean jam jar and shake to combine. Set aside.
  2. Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool in cold water, then remove and discard the thick, white outer skins.
  3. Cut the halloumi into slices, trim and slice the asparagus, then finely slice the courgettes lengthways. Toss in the olive oil, then season.
  4. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat, then add the asparagus, courgettes and halloumi. Cook until nicely charred, remove and set aside.
  5. Finely slice the shallots into rings, halve the tomatoes, then layer up on a platter with the asparagus, courgettes, halloumi, broad beans and capers.
  6. Chop and scatter over the fresh herbs and finish with a drizzling of the dressing.

Recipe from jamieoliver.com

Grilled Halloumi and Peach Salad with Homemade Lemon Pesto

summer salads


  • 225g (8oz) halloumi, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 15-20 spears of fine asparagus
  • 1 courgette
  • 100g (3-4 cups) mixed salad leaves
  • 1 peach, de-stoned and sliced
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • Zest of one lemon

For the lemon pesto:

  • 1 packed cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper.


  1. First make the lemon pesto. Place the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil, parmesan and lemon juice and blend until finely chopped. Season to taste.
  2. Oil a griddle plate/pan and heat on a high heat. Place the slices of halloumi on the griddle and cook for 2-3 minutes each side until griddle lines appear. Remove from the griddle.
  3. Mix the oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush the asparagus with the oil and place on the griddle. Cook for 2-3 minutes, turning a couple of times until griddle marks appear. Remove from the griddle.
  4. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the courgette into long strips. Place the strips in the bowl with the seasoned oil. Gently stir to coat, then place the strips in a single layer on the griddle. Cook for 30-60 seconds until griddle lines appear. If the courgette is peeled very thinly, there is no need to turn it over. If it’s peeled a little thicker, turn it over and cook for a further 30 seconds on the other side. Remove from the griddle.
  5. Distribute the salad leaves between four plates and top with the halloumi, asparagus, courgette slices, peach slices, pine nuts and lemon zest. Serve with the lemon pesto.

Recipe from kitchensanctuary.com

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Crispy Chickpeas & Feta

summer salads


For the crispy chickpeas:

  • 1 15 ounce can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste

For the cucumber-tomato salad:

  • 3 small-medium Persian cucumbers, washed, trimmed, and roughly chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
  • 1 1/2 medium heirloom or roma tomatoes, washed, trimmed, deseeded, and roughly chopped tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • flaky sea salt, to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper, to taste


  1. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil, coriander, and cumin over medium flame. Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt and cook until no liquid remains, stirring occasionally until chickpeas begin to brown. Add red wine vinegar and stir to coat. Add a few cracks of fresh ground pepper and continue to pan-fry until the chickpeas become as roasty as you’d like.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, and mint. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and toss to combine. Add crumbled feta and gently stir. Finish with flaky sea salt and pepper to taste. Top with crispy chickpeas.

Recipe from sonima.com

Chargrilled Cauliflower Salad with Lentils and Pomegranate

summer salads


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 a head of broccoli
  • 1 avocado, 4-5 radishes
  • Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
  • Small handful of mustard cress for decoration
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water with a pinch of salt to the boil. Cook the lentils for 25-30 minutes.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, chop the cauliflower into florets and then each floret in half length ways so that each one has a flat side. Lightly brush a griddle pan with olive oil and grill the cauliflower on a high heat until lightly charred.
  3. Chop the broccoli into small florets and slice the radishes finely.
  4. Drain the lentils once cooked and toss with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Top the lentils with the cauliflower, broccoli and radishes, then roughly chop the avocado and sprinkle this on top with the pomegranate seeds and cress.

Recipe from laurencariscooks.com

Carrot, Beetroot and Fennel Salad

summer salads


  • 4 carrots, pared (with a vegetable peeler) into ribbons
  • 4 raw beetroot, thinly sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 3 large oranges, peeled and sliced into rings, juice reserved
  • Large bunch each fresh basil and coriander, roughly chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 3 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Handful fresh chives, snipped
  • 1½ tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 80ml extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Put the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a medium jug, whisk the mustard, orange juice, chives, vinegar and sugar. Slowly whisk in the oil so the dressing thickens. Just before serving, stir the dressing into the salad and season.

Recipe from deliciousmagazine.co.uk

Asian Zucchini Noodle Salad with Vegan Miso Dressing

summer salads


  • 2 medium zucchinis / courgettes
  • a wedge of red cabbage, shredded thinly
  • a handful of lettuce leaves
  • 1 ripe nectarine, sliced thinly
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1 large spring onion, green part only, sliced
  • fresh coriander and / or mint leaves
  • 2 handfuls of pan roasted peanuts (or cashews), crushed
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds, for decoration (optional)

For the miso dressing:

  • 3 tbsp white miso paste/shiro miso paste
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Sriracha or other chilli sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp untoasted sesame oil or other mild tasting oil


  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Add a splash of water (about a tablespoon) to achieve a pourable consistency.
  2. Turn zucchini flesh (skip the seedy / watery centre) into zoodles using a julienne peeler, a spiralizer or a regular speed peeler and then cut them into thin strips with a knife.
  3. Grab a large plate or bowl. Place lettuce leaves on first, scatter zoodles and shredded cabbage on top. Place cucumber and nectarine slices on top. Scatter spring onion greens on last.
  4. Dot the salad with the dressing you prepared in step 1. Finally scatter fresh herbs, crushed nuts and black sesame seeds on top. Consume straight away.

Recipe from lazycatkitchen.com

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