Scrumptious Summer Salads


As the world opens up in the summer of 2021, you’ve probably been invited to a summer BBQ or two. If your crew is passing sides, the hunt is then on for the perfect side dish–typically a classic midwestern potluck salad. But, everyone has had Aunt Mary’s coleslaw and you want to bring something sexier. Here are some of my family’s faves! 

Women making a salad

  • Mexican Corn Salad is such a yummy, but easy, veggie side dish for any gathering. This could be used where the main is grilled food or even a taco night! If you really want to be invited back, offer to bring the margaritas too!
  • My Mom has been bringing Linguini Salad to church and family functions since I was a tiny kid. Her version does not include the olives or red pepper like this recipe does, but both would be equally good! Don’t skimp on the Suddenly Salad seasoning, either! It’s the secret weapon. This is especially good with grilled chicken (and the leftovers are great for days!). Make this up the day before if you’d like and then toss before serving!

Family on a picnic blanket

  • One of my kid’s favorite people is “Mrs. Melody from church” and Mrs. Melody makes a KILLER Cauliflower Salad that everyone secretly hopes she’ll bring to all.the.things. This salad is great alongside ribs, burgers, fish, pretty much anything! Chop everything up the night before and layer it, then toss the ingredients once you are ready to eat. This salad makes a ton, but is best enjoyed the same day, so this is perfect for large gatherings! 
  • When you think summer, you think strawberries, right? If that is true for you, you may love this next green leafy salad! Crunchy nuts, sliced red onions and a creamy dressing compliments the sweet fruit. This one can stand up in the sun for a touch, so it’s perfect for an outdoor gathering while still being wonderfully refreshing!

strawberry spinach salad

  • After the drama of #picklegate2021 earlier this summer, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention this unique option! If you have pickle lovers in your family (or if you want to chuckle at the silliness of social media spats) this is a great conversation piece to dig your teeth into! 
  • If you have a basketful of cherry tomatoes from your backyard garden, then this is the salad for you! Perfectly paired with any seared meat, but also satisfying for a late night snack alongside a glass of Pinot after the kiddos are in bed. You can also use the leftovers the next day tossed with some strips of grilled chicken and al dente penne pasta! 

Caprese Salad

  • Who doesn’t love a fancy green salad? And who doesn’t love Avocados? This Simple Green Salad screams summer and is so light, but also so tasty. You may even find the kids being willing to dig in! This salad will put you on the map and guarantee return invites to pool side parties!
  • Everyone loves a good Broccoli Salad, but our Midwest versions tend to be pretty rich. If that fits with the menu, then you’ll find an amazing recipe here. If you are looking for something a bit lighter and packed with flavor, you will love this one! 
  • No one can beat Giada when it comes to pasta, of course, so why wouldn’t we love her take on a summer Caesar Pasta Salad? This one is amazing, but if you need a faster version, buy a boxed Caesar pasta salad and prepare as directed. Toss with a classic Caesar Salad kit and add in some halved cherry tomatoes and olive slices. Both options will be amazing! (Just make sure you don’t toss with the lettuce until the pasta is chilled!) 

What has been cooking in your kitchen so far this summer? Whatever it is, we’re sure it’s cookout worthy! Post your favorite BBQ side dish recipes in the comments! 

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Becky Clark is a local Rock Island mama to 2 kids--ages 10 and 6. Becky has been married to her high school best friend, Derek, since 2005. Becky and Derek have been Quad Citians for 10 years, although they originally hail from the northern Chicago suburbs. Becky is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and provides therapy services part time at South Park Psychology in Moline as a contracted private practice clinician. She also teaches Social Worker courses online for Ashford University. Becky is very active as a volunteer at the kid's school as well as at their home church, Bethany Baptist in Moline. Becky loves spending time with her family, friends and her church family. She also enjoys being a tourist in her own town, reading, crafting and volunteering for ALL the things--much to her husband's dismay. The Clarks hope to add a furry {baby} family member to their brood this summer, ensuring that no one will ever sleep again. To follow Becky's clinical therapy business on Instagram, visit her at: To schedule a psychotherapy session with Becky for you or your family member, call South Park Psychology in Moline at 309-797-2900 and ask to be scheduled with Rebekah Clark


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