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The heat wave is still upon us. Here are 6 salad recipes for cool food

6 Recipes
Close-up of a green bean salad with yellow wax beans and croutons on a plate.
(Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times)

Keep stovetop use to a minimum with these vegetable-focused salads.

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Labor Day may be behind us but the extreme heat is not. That makes this a good time to look at what to do with the remnants of your summer produce and look to fall’s early arrivals. The heat is still unbearable, so I say stick with dishes that will require minimal — if any — cooking.

The last cherries of summer (from Canada) will disappear from shelves in the next week or two. Perhaps you still have a handful of them in your produce drawer from that last cherry binge of the season. Macerated in sherry, the flavor of the cherries really pops and is a terrific complement to a simply seasoned, pan-seared steak. Served over a bed of peppery arugula, this Warm Steak Salad With Sherried Cherries is an entree that will be ready in less than an hour and will require less than 15 minutes of stove time (including heating the pan).

BLD’s Fresh Vegetable Salad is simple, yet the ingredients blend perfectly. A fresh, lightly herbal homemade dressing sweetened with a touch of honey and with just the right amount of tang is tossed with a wonderfully bright and colorful salad of crunchy fresh corn, edamame, roasted bell peppers and green beans along with diced avocado and toasted cashews. Topped with fresh sprouts and a drizzle of nutty hemp seeds, it is perfect for late summer/early fall when all of the fresh produce components are available at farmers markets.

Unassuming and totally refreshing, Tomato And Watermelon Salad is a fond farewell to summer. Depending on how quick you are with a knife, it can be ready in 30 minutes or less. A delicate balance of sweet watermelon and tart tomatoes is complemented by floral basil and just enough tang from the balsamic vinaigrette. To further accentuate the sweetness of the melon, try topping it with a salty cheese such as feta.

Bright and briny, Tomato, Fennel, Fresh Garbanzo And Olive Bread Salad is a terrific accompaniment to grilled meats and fish -- and that rotisserie chicken that you just picked up from the grocery store. This riff on Italian Panzanella adds fresh cherry tomatoes to marinated vine-ripened tomatoes, fennel, fresh garbanzos (if you’ve never had them, you’re in for a treat) and red onion. The toasted olive bread soaks up the juices from the dressed vegetables and a smattering of feta enhances the tang.

Green beans are peaking about now and together with yellow wax beans they make a colorful splash in this salad with brioche croutons and tarragon aioli from Michelin-starred chef Josef Centeno. A bit anisey from the tarragon, other herbs such as chervil, chives, thyme and dill are also part of the burst of flavor that comes with each bite. The walnut vinaigrette, made with sherry vinegar and walnut oil, as well as the rich brioche croutons lend the humble beans an unexpected air of luxury.

This Shrimp And Avocado Salad With Mango, Chile And Lime Dressing is full of flavor and texture. Feel free to substitute leftover chunks of firm fish such as halibut, monkfish or sea bass for the shrimp — or if you’re feeling festive, swap in some lobster. The dressing is sweet, tart and spicy; snap peas add a distinct crunch and the herbs make the whole dish hum. It’s a wonderful salad for a hot day when you don’t want to turn on the oven or stove.

BLD's fresh vegetable salad

This salad of fresh corn, edamame, roasted bell peppers, green beans, diced avocado and toasted cashews is topped with fresh sprouts and nutty hemp seeds.
Time40 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Tomato and watermelon salad

This simple, refreshing summer salad contrasts the sweetness of watermelon with the acidity of tomato.
Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

Green bean salad with brioche croutons and tarragon aioli

Green beans sing in a crunchy-creamy salad from chef Josef Centeno. Tarragon gives the aioli a refreshing herbal note and a walnut vinaigrette provides the perfect hit of acid.
Time1 hour
YieldsServes 6

Tomato, fennel, fresh garbanzo and olive bread salad

Vine-ripened tomatoes and fennel marinate in a garlicky red wine vinaigrette before being piled onto toasted olive bread, which soaks up the juices from the marinated vegetables.
Time30 minutes, plus marinating time
YieldsServes 4 as a side dish

Shrimp and avocado salad with mango, chile and lime dressing

The sweet, tart and spicy dressing for this shrimp and avocado salad is a pick-me-up on a hot day, while the herbs in it are soothing.
Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 6

Warm Steak Salad with Sherried Cherries

Steak, arugula and cherries macerated in sherry vinegar make for a simple, elegant, doable on a busy weeknight and incredibly delicious meal.
Time45 minutes
YieldsServes 2