Giada de Laurentiis' 5 best salads to enjoy this spring or summer

Giada De Laurentiis Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
Giada De Laurentiis Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
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As we ring in May and the weather warms, why not enjoy some light, but substantial, salads courtesy of everyone's favorite "Everyday Italian" herself?

Giada de Laurentiis — who recently made headlines when she said that she left Food Network because she "got burnt out" — has a deep catalogue of sensational recipes, but some of her best are her rich, satisfying salads, which combine bright, refreshing ingredients with flavorful additions, sharp mix-ins and crunchy garnishes.

Note that these are by no means all vegan or vegetarian, but of course, with some swaps here and there, they certainly can be made with only plant-based ingredients.

Each salad includes varying colors, textures and flavors, which all the best salads always do. If you're a salad purist, though, this list may not be for you — there's a lot more going on here than just dressed salad greens, that's for sure.

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All of these salads come together in no time and make a great lunch or a dinner side. Without further ado, here are five of Giada's absolute best salads.

Whip one up this weekend!

01 Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Mozzarella

Grain salads are one of my favorites and this one is top tier. Packed with fennel, orzo, diced chunks of fresh mozzarella and a dijon and apple cider vinegar vinaigrette, you'll be amazed by how flavorful this is. There's always some arugula in the mix to add that familiar bright, peppery note. It's a winner.

02 Grilled Endive Salad with Citrus and Pancetta

If you haven't tried grilled endive before, you're in for a treat.

By lightly charring endive, the bitterness is mellowed and the vegetable's inherent flavor nuances becomes richer and fuller. Pairing the grilled endive with treviso (similar to radicchio), cara cara or blood oranges, clementines and pomegranate before tossing it with a whole grain mustard-and-champagne vinegar dressing with pancetta and shallot? Yeah, this salad is sure to impress anyone.

03 Fava Bean Salad

Enter your Hannibal Lecter era with this incredibly simple fava bean salad. Comprised of nothing more than fresh favas, shaved pecorino or toscano cheese and a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, it's an exercise in simplicity.

Make sure you're using the highest quality of each ingredient and don't cut corners; the dish is so straight-forward that using a lower-quality cheese or oil will be immediately noticeable.

04 Pickled Radish Salad

This dish is a perfect distillation of the importance of texture and consistency in a well-made salad.

With both regular and watermelon radishes, plus red onion, arugula, burrata and the addition of pink peppercorn, the entire salad is rooted in the flavor of perfectly pickled radishes, their sharp edges softened by vinegar, sugar, salt and water. The pickled radishes are a perfect complement to the smooth, lush burrata and the peppery arugula helps to add yet another dimension of deep flavor.

05 Citrus Caprese

Instead of the traditional mozzarella-tomato-basil combination in a standard caprese, Giada trades the tomato for citrus in the form of orange and grapefruit, swaps the basil for bright, fresh mint, and adds in some raw fennel for crunch and flavor.

The vinaigrette has a bit of punch with Calabrian chili paste, orange-infused olive oil, and white or rosé vinegar. Not many ingredients — but a ton of flavor and color.