Salads can be simple or complex but freshness and flavor should never lack. They can be a side dish or the main attraction. When done well, you feel satisfied. Your body loves you for fueling it with loads of goodness. Here is my version of a salad I really enjoyed over the summer. A green dream that will go on repeat with different variations depending on the season. There is no stopping you from adding a piece of grilled salmon or a sliced steak to this salad. Endless options!
Washed mixed greens of your choice
1 cup of cooked quinoa (you will probably use 1/2 depending on how many people you are feeding so extra goes in frig for future salads and just saves time!)
One yellow squash and one zucchini diced up then saute in a bit of olive oil and salt & pepper
A few roasted peppers diced up
Roast a handful of pistachios then chop into small pieces ( I used a spice grinder)
One whole avocado sliced (1/2 an avocado per person is good)
Handful of sunflower seeds
Feta cheese for the sprinkling
Fresh pesto to dollop along the plate (buy it or make it)
A French dressing or any other simple dressing (I will be testing out some new dressings and will post them if I like them)
To prepare: It’s so easy!
Toss your greens with a light amount of dressing then place them on individual plate or bowls
Layer on quinoa, warm squash, roasted peppers, crumbled bits of feta, sprinkle on sunflower seeds, small dollops of pesto around the edges of the salad, place your sliced avocado on top, and then finish it off with a sprinkling of pistachios. Easy peasy! Done!
Inspiration for your next picnic. A big beautiful salad that requires little prep and a couple of mason jars. Hit your local farm stand for some summer freshness and you are half way there.
Mason jar #1: layer with fresh summer corn (cook it then cut it off the cob), black beans, diced cucumbers, farm fresh heirloom tomatoes, and diced avocado (swap in or out what you like)
Mason jar #2: shredded roasted chicken (grilled shrimp also works well)
Additional mason jars: fill with fresh slices of pineapples, local strawberries, or other summertime favorites. Yes, the jars add some weight to the cooler but you can reuse the jars (save a tree and use less plastic).
Pack a small container of your favorite dressing along with small container of feta. The avocado and feta combo really makes this salad creamy and super tasty. Don’t forget a large bowl and wooden serving utensils to prepare your salad. Serve salad in large cups like a solo cup with forks. So much easier to eat!
Tips to save time:
Buy a roasted chicken then shred it yourself. Pre-washed greens of any kind makes this a fast and easy salad. Honestly you don’t even need greens if you want to pass totally up on them. Perhaps toss in some fresh herbs instead.
Citrus comes in many shades with flavors ranging from tart to sweet. A bit like candy but not. Part of my winter survival will be finding tasty ways to get my daily dose of vitamin C. Here is a lovely winter citrus salad paired with toasted hazelnuts and fennel from Smitten Kitchen (no surprise). My orange cutting skills could use some improvement but other than that, this dish is pure sunshine. Don’t be afraid to mix up the citrus. I used two blood oranges, a sumo orange, and a grapefruit. Fennel and blood orange salad recipe and images from Smitten Kitchen. So good, so clean, so refreshing!
1/4 cup hazelnuts or walnuts 1 medium-large fennel bulb, leaves and stems trimmed off Salt and freshly ground black pepper Juice of 1 lemon 2 large blood oranges 1 small shallot, peeled and cut into paper-thin slices 10 mint leaves 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon lime zest
Place nuts in dry skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, to toast. Let cool. If using hazelnuts, roll them around in a dishcloth (or, if cool enough, in your hands), discarding any loose skins. Coarsely chop nuts; set aside.
Slice about 1/2 inch from bottom of fennel and discard. Slice fennel very thinly on a mandolin, benriner or with a knife, starting with flat bottom side. Toss in serving bowl with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Trim all peel and pith from oranges. Holding peeled fruit over bowl containing fennel, use sharp knife to cut sections from membrane and let them drop into bowl. Squeeze remaining membrane over bowl to sprinkle salad with remaining juice, and discard membrane.Add shallots, mint leaves, olive oil and reserved nuts and toss gently. Sprinkle with lime zest.
Do ahead: While the mint leaves will look and taste best on the first day, I really enjoyed the leftovers from this salad for lunch the next day.
The season for fresh juicy peaches and vibrant berries is here. Last weekend, the peaches and berries were on full display at the farmers market. I am already regretting not buying more of them. The season is short and you must take advantage of your local farmer’s bounty. Pick them yourself if you have the time. Such a wonderful summer activity. I have found two different ways to enjoy these summer delights from epicurious that if times allows, I will give a go. Otherwise, I will add them to my greek yogurt or enjoy them one bite at a time while lounging on deck.
Peach Salad, Blueberry and Corn Crisp from epicurious. And if you are really up for enjoying some peaches long after the season then this jam looks damn tasty (maybe it is the bourbon that caught my attention).