The summer heat has settled in and eating light, fresh and flavourful food is sounding pretty good. The best way to feel great during the warm summer months is to eat what is in season and what is grown locally. In summer time much of the local produce can be simply prepared into some fabulously fresh summer salads. Keep reading for some tasty ideas for you to try tossing in your salad bowl this summer.
What does your garden grow?
If you have a garden, salads are a great way to use your home grown goods. Herbs are one of the easiest things to grow even if you don’t have the space for a garden. You can buy small herbs that are already plants, or you can plant your own seeds and watch them grow. Kitchen window ledges, small porches and patios work great for starting an herb garden.
Some other summer plants that can be used for salads are an assortment of greens (lettuce, spinach and arugula), carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, radishes and beets. When it’s meal time simply pick the ripe veggies, berries, leafy greens and freshly cut herbs for a quick lunch or dinner salad. You can’t get more fresh than food that comes from your own back yard
Making deliciously fresh summer salads from local produce
For some, gardening is not an option (or a desired hobby) but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy locally grown ingredients in your salads. Most neighbourhoods have weekly farmer’s markets where you can buy all of the in-season produce grown by local farmers. Grocery stores also have organic produce sections that may label what items are grown locally and without pesticides.
Here are some Summer salad recipes for your inspiration
Strawberry spinach salad
Spinach, sliced strawberries, blueberries, toasted almond slices, steamed asparagus, freshly chopped basil. Serve with your favourite oil and vinegar dressing or try this balsamic vinaigrette recipe from allrecipes.com.
Roasted beet salad
Arugula, roasted beets (peeled and quartered), goat cheese, freshly chopped rosemary, fresh raspberries. Make your own raspberry vinaigrette with this recipe from Food.com.
Fresh from the garden salad
Butter lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, thinly sliced radish, avocado, cooked quinoa, fresh oregano. This salad works with just about any dressing, so here is a list of 50 salad dressings from foodnetwork.com for you to try. It would taste great with the cucumber herb salad dressing (#42).
These are just three salad ideas to get you started. Get creative with these recipes and swap out your favourite fruits and veggies. You can also add grilled chicken or shrimp to any of these salads to make them into a more hearty main dish. Hope you enjoy an endless summer of salads.
Have a favourite veggie combo, or salad dressing, share them in the comments below!