Updated August 5th, 2017
Fresh salads are perfect on a hot sunny day. They are light and refreshing and you can make them so that they are a no-fuss complete meal in one bowl. All you need is a combination of some type of wholegrain, legume or bean, nuts or seeds and lots of veggies over mixed greens and you can dress up any table!
So, this week, I am featuring my favorite summer salads and sharing several new ones that I just created. They have gotten rave reviews already and I can’t wait for you to try them!
…oh how I LOVE my Mediterranean Couscous salad! It is filled with artichoke hearts, bell peppers, tomatoes, chickpeas, fresh basil, and topped with roasted sunflower seeds! It is perfect on a hot summer day, both because it is so refreshingly delicious but also because it requires no cooking at all! The couscous is raw (no cooking involved NONE, whatsoever!!) and just absorbs all the wonderful flavors of the citrus dressing so that it is perfectly fluffy and not clumpy.
I recently made a cooking class video for this Mediterranean Couscous salad…this one is bilingual with LOTS of Mediterranean gesturing!
and 10 minutes later…to show you how the raw couscous absorbed all the citrus dressing….AMAZING!!
My Apple Hazelnut Kale Salad: The combination of the sweet & sour apple cider vinaigrette, fresh grated apple and chopped hazelnuts with the finely chopped kale is absolutely superb! I use this salad as a foundation: by that, I mean that I like to “build on it” and make it more of a centerpiece all-in-one meal so I can add some grains and legumes or beans to it for protein–French lentils or quinoa or farro blend beautifully–and of course more thinly sliced or grated veggies such as carrots, fennel, radishes… anything goes!
Let me walk you through this…
My Quinoa Kale and Corn Salad with Fresh Mint is delightful. It is simple to make but it requires some assembling-still, it is so worth it and you can make it ahead of time! The combination of quinoa with a hint of turmeric, sautéed kale and grilled corn is wonderful together and the fresh mint gives it the perfect final touch!
Farro Grapefruit Salad: Farro is one of those grains that is so “forgiving” because you can never overcook it and it always comes out perfectly chewy, but never mushy! its slight nutty taste makes it just right for this salad with a fresh grapefruit vinaigrette. It’s so refreshingly delicious and it’s just beautiful!
My Barley Salad with Pear Walnut & Feta is a classic Mediterranean fare. The combination of pear and walnuts with the naturally sweet nutty flavor of barley is superb! The little sprinkle of feta gives it a nice touch, but if you would like to keep it vegan, you can leave it out and it’s still delightful!
Of course, I always love to throw together a Salade Niçoise! No need for a recipe here–It’s just a matter of gathering fresh ripe tomatoes, boiled small potatoes, hard boiled eggs, parboiled green beans, canned tuna, olives and chives on a bed of fresh lettuce (I particularly like Boston lettuce for this salad). Then all you need is your favorite vinaigrette. I like to make mine with:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp coarse salt
fresh ground pepper
There are so many other salads that I have created over the years that you can pick–some as main dishes, others as side dishes– but the choices are limitless! Here are a few: French Lentil Sweet Potato salad, Grilled Corn salad with fresh Mint, Tabbouleh Salad, Confetti Orzo Pasta salad, Black Bean, Tomato, Corn and Feta Salad, Pesto Veggie Pasta Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Veggie Tuna pasta Salad.
So get outside and enjoy those coming summer days!
Whether it’s for lunch or dinner, for a date for the two of you, or for a big family and friends gathering, wherever you can set up a little table on your patio outside, or even throw a blanket on the grass or at the beach, all you need is your favorite salad to make it happen!
So, have fun with it and…Bon appétit!