Summer Salads

I had planned to write a post on “What I made with my CSA box” like I did last year.  But then I got to the end of the week and realized that other than a beet green and zucchini quiche and a Korean dish (another post for another day) I had basically just made salads all week.  Green salad, pasta salad, bean salad, potato salad… What can I say? It was hot outside and I had a lot of vegetables to eat.  I made a big batch of each over the course of several days, so that I always had a couple salads in the fridge to munch on.  I also pair salads with a simple sandwich for a fast dinner and  bring big salads to potlucks.

This is what was in my CSA box last week:
Lettuce
Beets with their greens
Potatoes
Carrots
Zucchini
Cucumber
Tomatoes
Green Onions
Green Beans
Strawberries
Cilantro (which I don’t like and gave to a co-worker)

I also have arugula, beets green, mesclun mix and fresh herbs in my garden.

Here’s what I made:

(My apologies, I don’t tend to measure.  Amounts are flexible.)

Green Bean Salad: I used about 3-4 cups of beans. Remove tops.  Cut or leave whole.  Blanche the beans.  (2-3 minutes in boiling water and then rinse under cold water.)  Set aside.  For the dressing, mix 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp white vinegar, and a generous amount of olive oil (1/4 – 1/3 a cup).  Add whichever herbs you like.  Fresh is best, but dry will be just fine.  I like chives, parsley, tarragon, and basil.  Give the dressing a good stir and pour over the beans.  Salt & pepper to taste. Serve room temperature or cold.

Potato Salad: Chop 4-5 medium sized potatoes into small cubes.  (I don’t bother to peel them.)  Boil until soft.  Hard boil 2 eggs and peel.  Mix potatoes and chopped eggs, with about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mayo (start with the smaller amount and add mayo to taste).  If you happen to have some pesto, you can substitute half of the mayo for pesto.  Add other herbs to taste.  If I’m not using pesto, then I like to add dill, chives and/or green onion. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta Salad: Boil up 3-4 servings of your favourite shape of pasta.  I used shells this week.  Add your favourite vegetables.  Carrots, cucumbers, sauteed zucchini, green onion.  I also had sundried tomatoes and sunflower seeds in the house, so I through them in too.  I also had cooked up some black-eyed peas the day before, so in they went (you could use any number of other beans, e.g. chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans).  For a dressing I used a mayo-pesto combination.  An alternative would be to  drizzle with olive oil and add fresh dill and feta.

Green Salad: Anything goes! Start with your greens.  Lettuce, arugula, baby kale, baby beet greens.  Use whatever you have.  Then add your other vegetables.  Carrots, berries, cucumber, tomatoes – whatever you have.  For a more substantial salad, add nuts, seeds, cheese, beans, hard boiled eggs, or leftover chicken.  Then make your dressing.  A basic vinaigrette is generally 2 parts oil (e.g. olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, etc.) to 1 part acid (e.g. lemon juice, lime juice, any vinegar), with other herbs, mustards, fruit or sweeteners added in.

My favourite dressing at the moment is maple-mustard dressing.  Mix 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup of apple cider or balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp of dijon mustard and 1 tsp maple syrup. Adjust to taste.

Another dressing I experimented with this week was a lime-mint dressing.  Mix 1/2 cup olive oil (or an olive oil/sesame oil combo), with 1/4 cup lime juice, and 5-10 chopped mint leaves.

Yours in salad,

Marla

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