5 Make-Ahead Salads to Kick Off Summer

It may be spring, but summer — and all its abundance — is on the horizon, ready to encourage breezy communal dining under the glow of the sun and the grill. No gathering of the season is complete without bounteous produce, which can be quickly and easily turned into crowd-pleasing sides.

These summer dishes, all ready in less than an hour, pair wonderfully with beloved classic cookout foods, whether burgers or hot dogs, grilled chicken or seafood. Best of all, they get better as they sit and their flavors seep into one another and meld together — so you can take them to the potluck (or party or picnic) and they’ll only taste better as the hours pass.

Do all of the chopping and cooking earlier in the day, or even the night before, then toss again or assemble right before serving. So start tucking these recipes away: Summer awaits.

A fragrant mixed-herb pesto made from fresh chives and parsley (not basil!) coats mild, creamy baby potatoes and summer green beans or asparagus in this vibrant salad.

A simple yet stunning salad, this one celebrates the singular flavor of sweet summer tomatoes, highlighted by a rich, tangy sesame vinaigrette that’s also delicious drizzled over rice, roasted chicken and greens.

This pasta salad combines caramelized roasted zucchini, crunchy sunflower seeds and pops of sweet golden raisins in a tangy tahini sauce for a lively dish with varied textures in every bite.

Quickly boiling corn takes away the starchy texture and flavor of fresh kernels, bringing out its natural sweetness in this salad that’s finished with a light creamy dressing.

Anise-scented fennel gives this colorful fruit salad a savory twist, making it a vibrant side dish or a refreshing light dessert (or both!).

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