by Elizabeth Winslow
Photography by Michelle Min
Just when warmer temperatures and longer days suggest foregoing long-simmered soups and hearty casseroles in favor of cool summer salads, lettuce bolts in Central Texas fields and fresh, tender greens are off the table. No worries, though—some of the best salads have nothing to do with lettuce. Inventive combinations of crunchy, market-sourced fruits and vegetables, toothsome grains, bright herbs and healthy legumes, studded with surprise elements of intensely flavored cheeses and toasted nuts, then dressed with homemade vinaigrettes will make you forget all about leafy greens. These recipes are great for do-ahead gatherings and pack up beautifully for lunch-on-the-go or a picnic. Lovely as side dishes alongside roast chicken or grilled fish, they are all also hearty enough to make a meal—especially when paired with a loaf of crusty bread and a chilled bottle of rosé.