Summer Vegetable Salad

This summer vegetable salad features the best of the season’s veggies: green beans, tomatoes, corn, and a toasted sesame ranch dressing.

Summer Vegetable Salad

The other day, a restaurant near our house hosted a special “summer vegetable” dinner menu, of the 4-course + wine pairings variety. We jumped at the chance because it’s one of the best restaurants in town, and we’re all about celebrating veggies, which aren’t often in the spotlight here in meat-loving Indiana. It was fabulous. We’re still talking about the ramen with smoked onion dashi (so flavorful). The other highlight was unexpected: a simple summer vegetables salad and this intensely flavorful sesame buttermilk dressing. Here’s our attempt at trying to recreate that summer vegetable salad.

Summer vegetable salad

What’s in this summer vegetable salad?

We love trying to recreate our favorite restaurant dishes at home (for example, these Greek and Italian dishes inspired by our recent trip). It’s never quite like the real thing, but usually does the trick. This summer vegetable salad is pretty close to what we remember of the original. The sesame ranch dressing is out of this world. The way the savory sesame plays off the juicy tomatoes and sweet corn kernels is fantastic. It’s a perfect way to use the summer produce that’s abounding at our farmer’s markets this time of year.

Here’s what’s in this summer vegetable salad:

  • Baby greens: we like to use a mix for color and texture contrasts
  • Cherry tomatoes: use multi-colored for the most vibrant look
  • Green beans: here we used both yellow wax beans and standard green beans
  • Corn: fresh sweet corn adds a bright pop
  • Sesame ranch dressing: our Healthy Ranch Dressing is given a makeover by stirring in a little toasted sesame oil: it’s divine!
Summer vegetable salad with buttermilk dressing

How to blanch green beans

To make the summer vegetable salad, you’ll blanch the green beans and wax beans. If you’ve never blanched beans before, it’s very easy! Here are the basic steps:

  • Trim the green beans (here’s a trick on How to Trim Beans, Fast.)
  • Place the beans in a large pot of boiling water for a few minutes until they are tender and bright green. It should take about 3 minutes!
  • Move them to an ice bath, a big bowl with ice water. Placing them in the ice bath preserves the bright green color! We also use this method in a main dish summer salad, Nicoise Salad.

Making sesame ranch dressing

Outside of blanching the green beans, there’s no other cooking to this summer vegetable salad! Wash and cut the remaining vegetables, then whisk up the ranch dressing. The hint of sesame in the creamy dressing is oh so good!

One tip: Make sure to buy toasted sesame oil, not plain sesame oil. Toasted sesame oil has a strong sesame flavor and is used for bringing in a sesame flavor to dishes, whereas sesame oil has a neutral flavor and is used for cooking.

Summer vegetable salad

This summer vegetable salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, use our Vegan Ranch Dressing.

Print

Summer Vegetable Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This vegetable salad features the best of summer veggies: green beans, tomatoes, corn, and a toasted sesame ranch dressing.


Scale

Ingredients

For the summer vegetable salad

  • 1/2 pound green beans
  • 1/2 pound wax beans
  • 2 ears corn
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 8 cups salad greens
  • 1/4 cup roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

For the toasted sesame ranch dressing


Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim the ends of the beans, then add them to the pot and boil until bright green, about 3 minutes. Fill a bowl with ice water. Once the beans are bright green, immediately remove them from the pot and place them in the ice water bath until cooled.
  2. Cut the corn from the cobs. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
  3. Make the Healthy Ranch Dressing, then stir in the toasted sesame oil. 
  4. To serve, place washed and dried salad greens on a plate or in a bowl. Top with beans, tomatoes, corn, and pepitas, and drizzle with the desired quantity of sesame buttermilk dressing. (Extra dressing will be left over for future salads. Note that this dressing has a thin consistency, not creamy.)

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegetable Salad, Summer Salad, Summer Vegetable Salad, Sesame Ranch Dressing

Looking for salad recipes?

Outside of this summer vegetable salad, here are a few favorite salad recipes:

Last updated: January 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

13 Comments

  • Reply
    Rachel
    August 27, 2014 at 6:13 am

    This looks delicious, but it was the sound of the dressing that really made me click through to check this recipe out. I’ve recently been making little jars of the Sesame Vinaigrette from The Lemonade Cookbook for my fridge door, it is so good on so many things. However, Buttermilk Ranch is one of my all time favourite dressings as I love what the buttermilk does to salad, so I can’t wait to try this.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    August 27, 2014 at 7:41 am

    That dressing sounds dreamy! Love the looks of this salad!

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A Little
    August 27, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Love the buttermilk, slightly tangy dressing!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    August 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    What a great idea to add toasted sesame oil to a buttermilk dressing – this is the perfect summer salad!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    August 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Such a pretty summer salad! I haven’t tried making buttermilk dressing before but definitely need to. Glad you had such a memorable dinner! :)

  • Reply
    Eileen
    August 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I love how this salad is just full of all the best fruits of the sumer harvest! Corn, beans and tomato — such a great combination, especially with tangy, creamy dressing.

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    August 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    What a great idea to pair buttermilk with toasted sesame seeds. This salad looks creamy and dreamy!

  • Reply
    jenna @ just j.faye
    August 27, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    I love everything about this salad!

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    August 28, 2014 at 10:22 am

    ooooh ya, this looks top notch! i hate buying buttermilk for cakes because i always have so much leftover… but i’ll have to bookmark this salad so i can use the leftovers for salad dressing :) (also salad + cake = breaking even, health-wise, right?)

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    August 29, 2014 at 4:29 am

    I’m really digging the simplicity of this salad, especially when paired with that killer dressing.

  • Reply
    Steve
    August 30, 2014 at 3:06 am

    Salads aren’t really my thing, being a meat and potatoes kinda guy, but the buttermilk dressing and summer freshness of the salad makes it intriguing even to me (though I would prefer to have it served with a medium-rare steak).

  • Reply
    Riley Wofford
    September 1, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Those tomatoes and beans are beautiful! I love all of the colors!

  • Reply
    Courtney @ The Fig Tree
    September 3, 2014 at 12:02 am

    This is a beautiful salad. Such gorgeous summer produce! Sesame buttermilk dressing sounds perfect for this. Cannot wait to try this :)

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