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44 Cold Salads to Make When the Weather Gets Hot

When the temperature rises, reach for one of these refreshingly cold salads. They're perfect for a steaming hot summer day.

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Southwestern Pasta Salad

I created this southwestern pasta salad for a friend of mine who owns a catering business. I was told it was a hit at her events. —Valonda Seward, Coarsegold, California
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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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Turkey and Pasta Ranch Salad

This easy pasta salad is loaded with fresh veggies, and the classic ranch dressing makes it appealing to kids. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
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Bacon Avocado Salad

Everyone in my family loves this bacon avocado salad—even the younger kids! The recipe’s been shared too many times to count. —Noreen McCormick Danek, Cromwell, Connecticut
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Confetti Macaroni Salad

The bits of bright red and green in this easy macaroni salad remind me of fun confetti. The inspiration for the dish came from a recipe I found in a church cookbook when I was a young writer responsible for a newspaper’s food section. —Renee Page, Rochelle, Illinois
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Heirloom Tomato Salad

This is a simple yet elegant dish that always pleases. 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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Broccoli Almond Salad

This colorful broccoli almond salad is easy to make in advance. Add the nuts and bacon just before serving so they stay nice and crunchy. —Margaret Garbade, Tulsa, Oklahoma
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Blood Orange Avocado Salad

My refreshing side salad is such a nice addition to dinner. Use regular oranges if you can’t find blood oranges. Finely chopped walnuts work well in place of the pomegranate seeds, too. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Chicken and Spinach Pasta Salad

My family loves pasta salads, but usually they have too much mayonnaise or oily dressing. Using hummus gives this dish a great taste and texture, while also increasing its nutritional profile. Adding chicken (store-bought rotisserie chicken works well), makes this pasta salad a complete meal. —Jenny Lynch, Rock Island, Illinois
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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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Summertime Tomato Salad

My crazy good salad has cherry tomatoes, squash and blueberries together in one bowl. Then I layer on the flavor with fresh corn, red onion and mint. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey
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Mom's Super Stupendous Potato Salad

In college, my best friend and I debated whose mom made the best potato salad. Turns out they were almost identical! Even though I've since tweaked our recipe, it still takes me home again. —Ellie Martin Cliffe, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Garden Pesto Pasta Salad

My family and I live on a homestead in the Missouri Ozarks and produce much of our own food. In the summer, when the garden is bursting with fresh vegetables and it’s too hot to cook, I like to use the season's veggies for pasta salads and other cool meals. —Sarah Mathews, Ava, Missouri
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Pesto Tomato-Cucumber Salad

My sister and I created this fresh salad at one of our “recipe nights” and it’s been a hit ever since! Try red pepper flakes for a little kick if you’d like, or add Greek pepperoncini. —Jennifer Freier, Algonquin, Illinois
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Cauliflower Broccoli Salad

This broccoli cauliflower salad has been to as many family gatherings as I have! It holds well and leftovers are still tasty a day later. —Linda Kangas, Outlook, Saskatchewan
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Avocado & Artichoke Pasta Salad

A squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of cilantro and a little avocado make this a creamy and zingy pasta salad. —Carrie Farias, Oak Ridge, New Jersey
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Ham and Swiss Salad in a Jar

Home cook Stacy Huggins from Valley Center, California, sent us a great recipe for a ham and Swiss salad, and we turned it into this lunchbox-friendly version. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Spicy Cajun Potato Salad

Here in Louisiana, we love dishes that have a little kick! This one does the trick. —Amanda West, Sibley, Louisiana
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Tangy Cilantro Lime Confetti Salad

I love standout salads that burst with flavor—the kind that make you feel as if you're splurging without having to eat that piece of chocolate cake. This is one of my very favorites, and everyone I serve it to loves it as well. —Jasey McBurnett, Rock Springs, Wyoming
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Mediterranean Brown Rice Salad

My family and friends all love this salad, which they’ve referred to as “the Greek salad.” No matter what you’re looking for—something with the Greek flavors you love, or just a healthy, simple salad—it will not disappoint! If you’d like, substitute orzo for the rice. —Sarah Hawkins, Wanatah, Indiana
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Fresh Summer Pasta Salad

While preparing lunch, I made this summer pasta salad for dinner. It was fast and easy; delicious and colorful. We love to enjoy the fresh fruits and veggies in season. I served this salad with almond crackers and sharp cheddar slices. So tasty! —Cathy Orban, Chandler, Arizona
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Ravishing Radish Salad

Here is a recipe that showcases spring veggies in all of their glory. The fresh, crunchy radish salad really complements grilled entrees. —Maggie Ruddy, Altoona, Iowa
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Nicoise Salad

This garden-fresh salad is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Add some crusty bread and you have a mouthwatering meal. —Marla Fogderud, Mason, Michigan
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Strawberry Pasta Salad

Bow tie pasta with strawberries makes a refreshing salad, especially with a little chopped mint. I multiply it for leftovers. —Barbara Lento, Houston, Pennsylvania
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Potato-Bean Salad with Herb Dressing

My veggie garden inspired this creamy combo of beans, potatoes and fresh herbs. I toss them with a ranch-style dressing sparked up with Creole mustard. —Chris Cummer, Bayonne, New Jersey
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Almond-Apricot Chicken Salad

Here's a one-of-a-kind pasta salad that combines tender chicken, sweet apricots and crunchy vegetables. Plus, the lemony dressing can't be beat. —Susan Voigt, Plymouth, Minnesota
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Summer Orzo

Summer Orzo

I’m always looking for fun ways to use the fresh veggies that come in my Community Supported Agriculture box, and this salad is one of my favorite creations. I like to improvise with whatever I have on hand, feel free to do the same here! —Shayna Marmar, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Cranberry and Roasted Beet Salad

I created this as a healthy, tasty side dish to complement Christmas dinner. This enticing substitute for cranberry relish is excellent with turkey. Even the children loved it! Serve the beet blend alone or on a bed of salad greens. —Brianna St. Clair, Worland, Wyoming
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Grilled Asian Chicken Pasta Salad

This cool noodle salad makes a great casual one-bowl dinner. —Sharon Tipton, Casselberry, Florida
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Tortellini Caesar Salad

This salad was served at a dear friend's baby shower by a health-conscious friend, who suggested the dressing be prepared with low-fat or fat-free ingredients. Either way, the creamy dressing has plenty of garlic flavor and coats the pasta, romaine and croutons nicely. —Tammy Steenbock, Sembach Air Base, Germany
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Whole Wheat Orzo Salad

In less than 30 minutes, I can put together this hearty salad of pasta, white beans and veggies. —Mya Zeronis, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Make-Ahead Hearty Six-Layer Salad

This salad is an all-time favorite. I reach for the recipe whenever I need a dish to pass. It’s easy to make, can be assembled ahead of time and looks great. —Noreen Meyer, Madison, Wisconsin
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Grilled Firecracker Potato Salad

I can eat potato salad like crazy. A little spice is nice, so I use cayenne and paprika in this grilled salad that comes with its own fireworks. —Ashley Armstrong, Kingsland, Georgia
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Peas & Pepper Pasta Salad

I serve this pasta salad often. Any leftover pasta salad is great stuffed in halved and cored plum tomatoes. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts
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White Ale Potato Salad

Take this one outside! My grown-up recipe uses beer instead of mayo, so you don't need to worry about keeping it cool. It's a really popular recipe on my blog, girllikestoeat.com. —Jenny MacBeth, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Shrimp Avocado Salad

This salad can be served as a cool and satisfying dinner or lunch. The delicious taste and smooth texture of avocados mixed with the crisp shrimp salad is heavenly. —Teri Rasey, Cadillac, Michigan
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Summer Macaroni Salad

When we grill, my mother asks me to make this summer pasta salad. To make it extra creamy, I like to keep a small amount of dressing separate and stir it in just before serving. —Carly Curtin, Ellicott City, Maryland
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Garden Cucumber Salad

If you like cucumber salad like I do, this one’s a cool pick. It’s a mix of fresh veggies, feta and Greek seasoning and so refreshing when the sun’s beating down. —Katie Stanczak, Hoover, Alabama
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Chopped Greek Salad in a Jar

We translated this Mediterranean-inspired favorite from Jenn Tidwell of Fair Oaks, California, into a layered lunch beauty. You’ll get some crunch, a bit of tang and a lot of amazing. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Colorful Spiral Pasta Salad

Tackle gatherings with a bright pasta salad. This tricolor toss-up with broccoli, tomatoes, olives and a hardworking dressing is one of the easiest cold pasta salad recipes you could take. —Amanda Cable, Boxford, Massachusetts
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Corn and Green Bean Salad

I love the crunch of veggies, so I combined them with a buttermilk Caesar dressing in this corn and green bean salad. It's good served immediately, but it's even better after chilling for a few hours. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
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Tropical Sweet Potato Salad

I had an abundance of sweet potatoes, so I put them to work and came up with this sweet and spicy salad. —Crystal Jo Bruns, Iliff, Colorado
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Vermicelli Pasta Salad

I started making this salad because it’s loaded with peppers, my husband’s favorite. Don’t be surprised when there are no leftovers. —Janie Colle, Hutchinson, Kansas
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Chilled Shrimp Pasta Salad

This chilled salad, along with a nice cool drink, is all you need on a hot summer day. It also makes a nice side dish for sharing anytime. —Mary Price, Youngstown, Ohio

Christina Herbst
Christina is an Assistant Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in content creation and SEO optimization. She enjoys trying out local foodie restaurants and coffeehouses and adding copious amounts of garlic and cheese to any recipe she can get her hands on.

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