Summer is nearly here, and are you ready? The family wants to eat lighter foods. If you have kids, they are on vacation and hungry all the time. You want to be spending free time outside and not in the kitchen. And the hot weather makes any dish with a long cooking time unappealing.
So what’s the solution? Salads, of course. A wide range of salads can make a meal, suitable to be whipped up as soon as you get home, or to pack in a cooler for a spontaneous picnic.
If you’re a traditionalist like me, you’ll want three elements in your meal: A variety of vegetables, at least one protein, and carbohydrate. There’s an endless amount of variety
Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Cooked or canned chickpeas, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, dried peas, lentils,
- Canned tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel
- Leftover fish, beef, chicken
- Feta or farmer’s cheese, or other low-fat cheese
- Nuts and seeds
- Frozen peas
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Raw greens including spinach, lettuce, kale, beet or turnip greens.
- Fresh or frozen broccoli or cauliflower florets
- Onions of various colors
- Carrots, grated or chopped
- Tomatoes (always add at the end)
- Herbs, including mint, sage, chives, basil, thyme, dill, and more.
- Celeriac or parsnip
- Cooked vegetables like beets, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots
- Defrosted frozen vegetables including edemame, corn, mixed vegetables
- Fresh or canned corn (I avoid this as most people get too much corn in other foods)
- Fruits including pineapple, apples, olives, avocado, pears, grapes, peaches, dried fruits (in small amounts)
- Healthy Dressings
- Tehina (sesame paste with garlic, lemon juice, cumin and enough water to achieve desired consistency),
- Olive oil and lemon juice
- Pesto or other herb dressing
- Yogurt dressing
Here are a few more tips for summer salads:
- Instead of adding a carbohydrate to the salad, serve the salad with a hearty loaf of home-made or prepared whole-grain bread.
- Make a “salad bar” so everyone can choose whatever elements they like.
- Now is the time to get your kids involved. Invest in an extra cutting board and knife and teach them safe knife skills.
- Cook beans or grains in large quantities, then store in smaller quantities in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Wash and prepare ingredients in advance so you can pull everything together quickly.
- Layer the salad instead of tossing it, for more visual appeal.
- Watch out for excess sugar and fat. Not all salads are equally healthy.
- Keep your family safe and refrigerate leftovers right away.
Summer Salad Recipes:Quinoa TabboulehCool No-Cook Summer Salad: TabboulehBeet Salad with YogurtChicken Salad with Green Onions, Ginger, GarlicGreek Salad with Feta Cheese and Olives