Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer Rainbow Salad

colorful bowl of salad

There is no better time to make flavorful salads than during the summer when the produce is ripe, juicy, and plentiful. I like to use tomatoes in the summer as the base of my salads instead of lettuce. 

Farm Fresh CSA vegetables 
I had company last night, and I made this flavorful summer salad! 
I belong to a CSA farm where I get a weekly supply of freshly picked farm vegetables. 

I used most of the veggies that I received from my CSA this week in my salad:  tomatoes, cucumbers, fennel, cabbage, celery, red onion, fresh basil, fresh mint, plus I added some sliced black olives and  slices of avocado sprinkled with cumin. The salad was pretty to look at and absolutely delicious to eat. If you want to make a meal out of it, you can add in a some chickpeas!

table and chairs on a gray deck
Too hot to even eat outdoors

I made this salad in the morning, covered it well and didn't dress it until we came to the dinner table. It was 97 very hot and humid degrees today and remained about 88 and humid well into the evening! Way too hot to heat up the house; way too hot to eat on the deck. This cold salad with my powerful tangy citrus dressing ( I'll be sharing this coming week)  is the perfect hot weather solution.

cherry tomato plant
Growing my own cherry tomato plants of my deck

Farmers Market Fresh 
Although we eat salads every night of the year, my summer salads taste really special because I am able to use locally grown vine ripe organic vegetables for them. Some of the veggies, I even pick myself at my CSA.  

summer salad in a bowl

I enjoy going out into the fields to pick my own produce. It is a grounding experience and makes me appreciate the effort it takes to grow and harvest these crops. (I certainly don't waste leftovers that I spent hours picking in the fields).

When it's hot and sunny a crop such as green beans can take time to bend down and collect. It's not the same as picking up a bag a the market. Picking your own gives you a whole new perspective and gratitude about food!

Summer Produce Offers Variety
There is no reason to limit your salads to lettuce, tomato, and cucumber salad during the summer (unless that's all you like) when there is such a vast amount of produce to choose from.

Since we get the greatest amount and variety of nutrients by eating a rainbow of colors, look for as many colors as possible for your salads. If you are following Weight Watchers or just concerned about your weight in general, salads provide fiber and nutrients with relatively low points or calories. 

Without the olives and avocado, this salad is zero points plus- in addition if you sprinkle with fresh lemon juice it brings out the flavors even more with extra taste, but no extra calories.

Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-12 minutes
Cook Time: none
Serves : 6

8 medium ripe summer tomatoes, chopped large
6 kirby cucumbers, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped basil
3/4 cup of chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fennel
3/4 cup of sliced black olives
1 medium Haas type avocado, sliced
optional: 1 teaspoon cumin
optional: 1 cup of chickpeas

In a large serving bowl, assemble all of the ingredients except the avocado and cumin. 
Immediately before serving, add the slices of avocado to the top and sprinkle with the cumin. 
Drizzle with dressing before serving. I used my citrus dressing.
lemon mint dressing or my Bold Lemon Dressing

Easy Summer Salad Fixings and Salads

Fennel is always fun to add to perk up a salad. It has a mild licorice taste and the consistency of celery.

Red or green cabbage keeps in the refrigerator much longer than lettuce and the red adds beautiful color as well as taste. The cabbages usually impart a sweet flavor to the salads-you like coleslaw right? why not try some chopped cabbage in your salads? You could also make a red , orange, and green beautiful coleslaw salad.

Red onion is one of our favorites. I also chop it small and we love the flavor with ripe tomatoes. One of my favorite ways to add red onion to salads is to soak my red onion slices in white vinegar for a few hours and it turns to a pickle taste. It is not only a great toppings for BBQ salads, but a great topping for sandwiches. Click o see how to make pickled red onions

Basil- You can get fresh basil in most supermarkets or farmer's markets, but you can also grow your own in a pot on your windowsill in winter and on the deck or patio in summer. Tip: If you grow basil indoors, it grows best if you place the pot itself in a small bowl and put the water in the bowl. I used to buy basil plants for the house, water the soil, and they would die in 2 weeks. With the bowl watering method, I had months of blossoming basil all winter on my window sill. Grow Your Own Herbs on the window sill or deck.

Mint- You can buy fresh mint in the supermarket or start growing your own. It grows like a weed, comes back every year, and is lush and plentiful. Once you plant some mint, you will have it forever.
How to grow mint.

Jicama- a sweet crunchy low calorie vegetable that is a wonderful addition for any salad.  It's Available in most supermarkets. The first time I had jicama ( pronounce hic-a-ma) was in Mexico where they cut it into spears and chomp away. It is delicious. If you are unfamiliar with jicama read my previous post all about jicama or make my Jicama Rainbow Salad 

Raw Corn right off the cob -You can cut the corn right off the cob without cooking it and add these delicious morsels to any salad. They bring sweetness, crunch, and flavor. Kids especially love this. I sometimes make a Fresh Corn and Tomato salad which is so easy and especially delicious mid summer

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  1. Your salad looks delicious--I especially love the cumin sprinkled avocado on top and the chopped fennel. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

    1. The cumin and the avocado are my favorites too. I'm not a great fan of fennel, but I think it adds an interesting flavor to the salad! Thanks for posting it on Souper Sundays!

  2. Perfect for summer! Love it!
    Thanks! Michelle

    1. There is nothing like summer vegetables for a great salad!

  3. This is such a gorgeous salad -- love it! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday!

    1. It is an eye appealing salad with so many colorful summer vegetables- I enjoy sharing on Merry Monday

    2. It is an eye appealing salad with so many colorful summer vegetables- I enjoy sharing on Merry Monday

  4. This looks so nutritious and have most of this in my garden. Will be making it after I pin it. Thanks for sharing at Let's GEt Real Friday.

  5. What a gorgeous summer salad, Judee! I'm always looking to include chickpeas for the protein they offer and this is such a delicious way to do it! Featuring your post at this week's Hearth and Soul Hop. It's open now :-)

  6. With all of my favorite ingredients in one bowl, who can resist this tasty delight? We're so glad you shared this healthy and delicious Summer salad recipe on the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I'm Pinning and sharing!

  7. Oh wow - I love all of the fresh produce! And picking your own really does give some good perspective. I volunteered with a CSA for a bit and we would harvest the veggies. Most of the time it was fun, but there were some hot days that were tough ;p
    I really like how you incorporated the fresh herbs too, that would really lend a nice flavour to this gorgeously green salad.
    Thank you so much for sharing at Healthy Vegan Fridays! I'm pinning & sharing =)


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