July 2012

Garden Fresh: Three New Summer Salads

If the thought of turning on your oven or hanging around a blazing grill in August makes you sweat, reach into your cool refrigerator instead. The following three new summer salads are easy to make if you have a couple of sharp knives. Be sure to clean all vegetables thoroughly before slicing and dicing.
 
Easy-to-eat chopped salad
Chopped salads combine many types of foods and vegetables into tiny, bite-sized pieces. Make the dressing first and then refrigerate to allow the flavors to blend. A delicious dressing that works well with a Greek or Italian chopped salad includes the following: 
  • Minced garlic clove
  • Dijon mustard
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 
Next, chop the following salad ingredients and toss them together, and combine with the chilled dressing before serving: 
  • Romaine lettuce or other favorite
  • Drained can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Fennel bulb
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Italian Genoa salami
  • Pitted Kalamata olives
 
A different pasta salad
Pasta adds heartiness to a garden fresh summer salad. Just use the same dressing ingredients as the chopped salad for this pasta salad variation:
 
  • Cook your favorite small pasta like bow-tie or ziti. While still warm, toss it with a couple of tablespoons of the dressing and set aside.
  • Place pieces of salad greens like romaine, radicchio or other leaf lettuce on a serving plate with sliced cucumbers (or any other fresh veggies you have on hand) and walnut pieces.
  • Add more dressing and toss together. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin slices of Parmesan cheese over the top and serve immediately.
 
Potato salad with a Southwest flair
Step out of your traditional potato salad box and add Southwest flavors. If you don’t like hot peppers, simply reduce the amount to suit your personal taste.
 
Start by cooking small red potatoes and cutting them in quarters. After you've prepared the potatoes, combine them with these ingredients in a large bowl: 
  • Several ears of fresh, raw corn kernels cooked in microwave
  • Finely chopped red onion, red bell pepper and fresh cilantro
  • Drained and rinsed can of black beans
  • Jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped
 
For the dressing: Mix together canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, fresh lime juice, canola oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the potato mixture and toss gently. Cover and chill at least one hour or up to 24 hours. Serve on a bed of mixed greens or head lettuce.
Take advantage of fresh August produce to introduce your family to these three new summer salads.