Salad doesn't by definition have to include lettuce or other greens, and some folks are perfectly happy if leafy vegetables are missing links in their food chain. For them, these thrifty salad recipes will be a welcome sight, because they put the spotlight on ingredients like fruit, seafood, and hearty pasta instead. These dishes might have you turning over a new leaf, so to speak, when preparing summer meals for the lettuce-haters in your life.
AWESOME PASTA SALAD
DILL PICKLE POTATO SALAD
Elevate potato salad -- that most-routine side dish -- to another level with an easy twist on a classic recipe. Chopped dill pickles (a generic brand works just fine) take center stage in this simple dish.
Recipe: Country Living
Leave it to author and Food Network TV host Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, to mix ease with great flavor. Inexpensive and always-available frozen peas get a flavor boost from add-ins such as red onion, cheese, sour cream, and bacon. Did we mention bacon? Yes, the 12 servings will go fast.
Recipe: The Pioneer Woman
FRENCH GRATED CARROT SALAD WITH LEMON DIJON VINAIGRETTE
Don't let the long name intimidate you -- this is a recipe where simple ingredients combine for a most elegant presentation. Author and blogger Jenn Segal says she learned it while living in France, and its decidedly European appeal will no doubt give your table the feel of an elegant bistro.
Recipe: Once Upon a Chef
The classics are classic for a reason: They are enjoyed year after year. Waldorf Salad is a quirky dish with a signature taste featuring apples, grapes, and walnuts. Tradition aside, Simply Recipes founder Elise Bauer says it's okay to replace mayo with plain yogurt for a modern spin on the time-honored salad.
Recipe: Simply Recipes
STRAWBERRY AND SPINACH SALAD
This take on spinach salad from former Food Network hosts Pat and Gina Neely will please even those who don't like greens. It puts all the attention on fresh strawberries, a great buy in season. Added zest comes from a touch of goat cheese (store brand works fine) and slivered almonds.
Recipe: Food Network
GREEK SALAD SKEWERS
This is a recipe anyone can handle. A clever spin on the Greek classic, it puts bold flavors center stage in the simplest of preparations. Think feta, olives, cherry tomatoes, cukes, and some herbs united on a stick.
CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD
Leftover chicken, grapes, fat-free yogurt, and curry powder combine for a healthy salad from diet expert and author Frances Largeman-Roth. Walnuts are optional, and the dish easily translates to a tasty sandwich.
SHAVED ZUCCHINI SALAD WITH PARMESAN PINE NUTS
Don't be fooled by the premium ingredients in this recipe from Ian Knauer, author and host of the PBS cooking show "The Farm." Inexpensive and oh-so-tasty, zucchini is the heart of this dish while pine nuts and parm provide a special accent. Buy the latter two on sale -- and don't fear waste, as you'll be asked to make this often.
CRAB PASTA SALAD
Summertime and crabmeat are a classic combo. This recipe uses imitation crabmeat, spiral pasta, and bottled dressing -- all thrifty choices -- and gets texture and crunch from fresh broccoli and cauliflower.
Everyone should know how to make the basics, and macaroni salad is a summertime basic. This version gets a bit of crunch from peppers, celery, and onions. Sub in low-fat mayo to save a few calories, as you'll likely have a second helping.
LEMON PEPPER SALMON QUINOA SALAD
The next time those foil pouches of salmon go on sale, grab a handful for this recipe that employs another now-in-every-kitchen ingredient: quinoa. Olives, cucumber, and peppers add zippy flavor to this dish that makes a delicious impression.
Recipe: Chicken of the Sea
TUNA AND VEGETABLE SALAD
It's no surprise this 20-minute recipe is from Rachael Ray, master of the quick-and-delish dish. Celery, tomato, hearty chickpeas, and canned tuna -- thrifty, easy-to-find ingredients -- combine with parsley and lemon for flavorful, light midday fare.
Recipe: Food Network
EASY AVOCADO EGG SALAD
Avocado, mayo (or yogurt), and hard-boiled eggs, plus a few spices, are whipped together in this simple-yet-pleasing spin on everyday egg salad. Spread it on toast and you'll have your guests forgetting those pricey avocado toasts served at the trendy bistros.
Recipe: Inspired Taste
For a tangy, low-fat, and refreshing salad, stick to this basic offering that complements cucumbers with red onion, low-fat sour cream, and fresh dill. Amp up the richness, if you choose, with a bit of mayo.
Recipe: Genius Kitchen
SOUTHWESTERN BLACK BEAN PASTA SALAD
Blogger Amy Johnson offers up a meatless main or side that couldn't be any easier, thanks to thrifty options that include rotini pasta, canned corn, black beans, and green chiles.
Recipe: She Wears Many Hats
GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
Warm-weather dining is all about simplicity. This recipe uses fresh green beans and gets a simple-yet-elegant finishing touch from a classic vinaigrette. Burgers from the grill will be honored to share a plate with this salad.
Recipe: Real Simple
COLD BEET SALAD
Recipes that let the main ingredient shine are often the most memorable. This one is dairy- and gluten-free -- paleo-friendly, too. Fresh boiled beets are simply adorned with lemon juice and a few basic ingredients.
Recipe: Sprouts Farmers Market
LEMONY ORZO PASTA SALAD WITH CUCUMBER AND FETA
This recipe will transport guests to the great outdoors, its flavors hinting of travel to faraway destinations -- that is, if diners don't shovel it in too quickly. It's just simple goodness; the most "difficult" part is boiling the pasta.
Recipe: Fork Knife Swoon
WATERMELON SALAD WITH MINT LEAVES
The hardest part about this recipe from Paula Deen is lugging a whole, 5-pound watermelon home from the store. From there, it's just chopping and adding onion, feta, mint, and some condiments to create a sweet-savory delight.
Recipe: Food Network
5 CUP SALAD
This creamy, no-bake dessert salad includes 1 cup each of pineapple, sour cream, coconut, oranges, and marshmallows (hence the name). It comes together in minutes but does need time in the refrigerator for the flavors to blend.