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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Salad Fun

Summer salads are a staple over here, especially with all the lettuce and great veggies I have been getting through my CSA.  I thought I would share what I have been throwing in mine the last week. I have been selecting a few of these each day, mixing and matching whatever I have in the refrigerator and whatever catches my current mood.  I find that I do much better with eating salads when I have some options to mix and match throughout the week.  Nothing is worse than making yourself eat boring salads!  I also like to switch up from plain green salads to grain salads and bean salads too.  I just don't do well eating the same thing every day! So here is this week's salad bar in my frig:

Basil pesto (recipe below)
Roasted red peppers
Green onions
Cucumbers
Goat cheese
Whole wheat couscous
Dried cranberries
Tomatoes
Cooked split peas
Canned chick peas
Lettuce

Monday: pesto, split peas, chick peas, chopped up lettuce, roasted red pepper, dried cranberries. I threw some goat cheese in, but I would have rather had some Parmesan on hand and some extra pine nuts.  Oh well. Next time!  This was more of a bean salad, not a green salad.

Yesterday:  cooked couscous, pesto, roasted red peppers, couple globs of goat cheese and some dried cranberries. It was a nice grain salad for my lunch.

Today:  I had more of a green salad with a big bed of lettuce and tossed pesto, roasted red peppers, green onions cranberries, goat cheese and tomatoes.

Basil Pesto Recipe:

I made a big batch of this on Monday and then continued to toss in my salad for the week.  I found that with this and the goat cheese, I had no need for dressing!

1/3 cup pine nuts (you could switch with pepitas or chopped walnuts too)
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small jalapeno, seeded and deveined
2/3 cup olive oil

  1. Toast the pine nuts in a toaster oven. Or you could put in a frying pan and toss until toasted.
  2. Blend basil, garlic, lemon juice, and pepper in a food processor (with a splash of the olive oil).
  3. Once blended, slowly add the olive oil while the processor is blending until comes together to a nice sauce.
  4. Place in airtight container and use on your great salads for the week.

Some Tips

  • Cook up a batch of a grain early in the week, put in a container and keep in the refrigerator.  Add to salads as a topper throughout the week, or make up a grain salad whenever the mood strikes.  Farro, barley, quinoa, couscous, and even rice works well.
  • Make a batch of homemade salad dressing and keep in a container for the same purpose.  I like the 3-2-1 balsamic recipe from the Engine 2 diet book (3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons dijon or brown mustard, 1 tablespoon maple syrup).  This week I did the pesto instead.
  • Grab some fun add-ins that "coordinate"...like beets and goat cheese with walnuts, or tomatoes, cucumber, and mozzarella.  You want to make sure that things will taste well together or the mix/match idea doesn't work as well.
In health and summer salads,
Nicole Harter

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