When it comes to yummy summer salads, I like to keep it simple, fresh, and with as little time slaving over a hot stove as possible!   Who needs that extra heat in the summer?  We menopausal women generate enough of our own!  Enjoy these fabulous salads– they are so great, you will want to make them over and over again!

Summer Corn and Black Bean SaladSummer Corn and Black Bean Salad

Serves 8 as a side dish

In a large bowl, mix together

5 ears fresh corn (boiled till just cooked, but you could also grill) let cool then trim  the kernels off the cob into a bowl with a sharp knife

1/2 bag defrosted shelled edamame (easiest to defrost by putting them in the colander and draining hot corn water right over them)

1 can drained and rinsed black beans

1 pint cherry tomatoes halved

1/2 bunch cilantro chopped

1/2 bunch scallions sliced

Lime Vinaigrette (I use a mason jar so I can just shake and pour)

1/2 tsp lime zest (do this before you juice them)

Juice of 2 limes

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Scant 1/4 cup olive oil (I like mine with more lime flavor)

Pour vinaigrette over the top and mix, let flavors come together for an hour or so before serving, great served at room temperature

Summer salads mediterranean saladMediterranean Salad 

(serves 12 as a side dish)

In a large bowl mix together:

4 pounds Tasty Tom tomatoes quartered (or any beautiful red ripe summer tomato, or cherry tomato…..if they a large tomatoes you might need to cut smaller than quarters)

2-3 English cucumbers quartered then cut in to 1/2 inch dice

1 can drained and rinsed garbanzo beans

I.5 pounds feta cheese (I prefer French, but any good feta will do),diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Pour over the salad:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar (brings out the sweetness of the tomato) 1.5 teaspoons salt (enhances the tomato flavor), 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper and a scant 1/4 cup good olive oil. Gently toss (so as not to crush the feta cubes) the salad, and enjoy at room temperature….I prefer not to refrigerate my salad, the tomatoes will lose their fresh summer deliciousness!

summer salad recipesQuinoa with Roasted Vegetable Salad (ok, so this one requires a hot oven, but it’s quick)

(Serves 8 as a side dish)

1 cup quinoa

Bring 2 cups water and 1 tsp salt to boil, toss in quinoa and stir. When the water and quinoa return to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover and let cook till water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes……remove from heat, stir, re-cover with lid. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then, with a fork gently scrape the quinoa into a large bowl, and let cool.

Meanwhile cut and roast vegetables of your choice,  my favorite for this dish are

1 zucchini quartered and cut in to 1/2 inch dice

1 summer squash quartered and cut in to 1/2 inch dice

1/2 pound portobello mushrooms sliced and cut in to 1/2 inch dice

1 each red and yellow peeper sliced and cut in to 1/2 inch dice

Toss cut veggies in a large bowl with olive oil till coated, place on a baking sheet in a single layer ( you might need 2 sheets) and salt, roast at 400 until tender.

When the veggies are cooked, toss them in to the quinoa, scraping all the delicious pan juices in there too, add 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil and gently toss (almost like folding) with a rubber spatula.

Now here’s where you can make this your own signature dish…I don’t add any dressing here, the juice from the veggies is enough for me, but I do like to add a bit of Parmesan to taste, the saltiness of the cheese brings out the natural flavor of the veggies, and I love Parmesan on everything, but if you don’t want to add cheese, you will need to adjust seasonings with some added salt and pepper- or if you prefer, you can add a lemon or southwest or simple vinaigrette dressing to the salad for more punch, but it’s all a matter of personal preference, which is what makes this salad so versatile!

With 17 years experience in the food business, Joanne is happy to help make life easier for you in your kitchen. Whether you are looking for menu creation, meal preparation or kitchen organization, if you are in the Boston area, she can help you out. Contact her at Kitchenconcierge123@gmail.com

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