Easy Summer Salads and Slaws

8 Fresh Summer Salads Perfect for Picnics, Potlucks, and Barbecues

"Oh, just bring a salad" or "bring something to share" are never what picnics, potlucks, and backyard barbecues guests want to hear. Whether you've been asked to bring something or you're trying to cook enough so your guests don't have to bring anything but their smiling faces, these easy salads and slaws use fresh, seasonal ingredients and are perfect for any summertime picnic, potluck, or barbecue.

  • 01 of 08
    Picture of Corn Avocado Salad
    Corn Avocado Salad. Photo © Molly Watson

    This mix of fresh sweet corn and rich avocado works as a salad or a salsa. The red wine vinegar and lime juice in the dressing help keep the avocado green, even during transport.

  • 02 of 08
    Caprese Salad (Tomato Salad). Photo © Molly Watson

    Sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, shredded basil, and a sprinkle of salt is all it takes to make this classic Caprese salad. You might also want to check out these other Summer Tomato Salads for more tomato-based potluck fun.

  • 03 of 08
    Cole Slaw
    Cole Slaw. Photo © Molly Watson

    Think cole slaw needs mayonnaise? Nope. This classic slaw uses a bit of cream and malt vinegar (the acidic nature of the vinegar naturally thickens the cream to dressing-like consistency) to dress shredded cabbage. This recipe is quick, easy, and results in the perfect creamy slaw.

  • 04 of 08
    Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad. Photo © Molly Watson

    Use only the freshest, sweetest corn for this lovely. The kind that’s so tender and sweet you can eat it raw! This salad is excellent with pretty much any grilled meal, or as part of a no-cook summer dinner. I've even been known to serve it as a salsa with chips (and a minced chile thrown in for good measure).

    You might want to check these other Cooling Cucumber Salads for more simple options.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Image of Classic Creamy Potato Salad
    Classic Creamy Potato Salad. Photo © Molly Watson

    This classic American potato salad is best when dressed while the potatoes are still warm. If you can manage to serve it shortly after that, soon enough so it doesn't need to spend any time in the fridge, you won't believe the difference freshness makes for this work-a-day salad. Not to worry, though, it keeps quite nicely, covered and chilled, overnight.

  • 06 of 08
    Image of Fennel Mint Salad
    Fennel Mint Salad. Photo © Molly Watson

    Like most slaws, this fennel slaw stands up extremely well to time. Feel free to play around the with mint and switch it out for another herb depending on what you have on hand.

  • 07 of 08
    Mint Jalapeno Green Beans. Photo © Molly Watson

    Give fresh steamed green beans a bright, hot kick in the pants with this minted jalapeno marinade. This fun twist on marinated green bean salad only gets more delicious as it sits, making it perfect for bringing to parties. 

  • 08 of 08
    Zucchini Mint Salad. Photo © Molly Watson

     A platter of this simple salad just gets more flavorful and the zucchini more tender if it sits for a bit before getting gobbled up. The ribbons of fresh mint kick this salad up beyond the classic shaved zucchini version—and without the traditional cheese.