Cool summer salads for hot summer nights

Our local farmers’ markets still offer great vegetables and a wonderful selection of fresh fruits to choose from.

Our local farmers’ markets still offer great vegetables and a wonderful selection of fresh fruits to choose from.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Summer is here in full blast — high heat, humidity and dust. But, on the positive side, it is a time when great, cooling salads are entirely welcome with our meals. Our local farmers’ markets still offer great vegetables and a wonderful selection of fresh fruits to choose from.

With the addition of a little protein, you can put together some exciting meals that are healthy for both the mind and body.

 

Lavender-Scented Summer Fruit Salad 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried lavender
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 peach, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 nectarine, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 large plum, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon small mint leaves

Preparation:

Combine honey, water, lavender, pepper and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until honey has dissolved. Remove from heat, cover and let steep 10 to 15 minutes, or until room temperature. Strain into a serving bowl; discard lavender and stir in lime juice. Add peach, nectarine and plum slices to honey mixture, and toss well. Add berries and mint, and toss gently to combine. Refrigerate one hour or until chilled. Serve. Yield: Makes 4 servings (1-1/4 cups).

 

Watermelon, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups watermelon chunks
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped cucumbers
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preparation:

Combine vinegar, salt, pepper and oil; whisk well. Gently toss remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately. Yield: 12 servings.

 

Feta Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 (1-pound) piece of watermelon (about 1/4 of a small to medium watermelon)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 ounces pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small bunch arugula, trimmed and cleaned

Preparation:

Place onion slices in a bowl and cover with lime juice. Set aside. Trim watermelon and slice into thin triangles. Remove onion from lime juice. Add honey, salt and pepper to juice; stir until well blended. Whisk in oil in a steady stream. Layer arugula on platter or divide arugula among six plates. Arrange watermelon in overlapping layers on platter or plates. Top with onion, herbs, feta and olives. Drizzle with half of lime juice mixture. Serve remaining juice mixture on the side. Yield: 6 servings.

 

Summer Fruit Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cold watermelon balls
  • 1/2 cup cold cantaloupe balls
  • 1/2 cup cold honeydew balls
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint

Preparation:

In a medium bowl, combine fruit balls. Sprinkle with feta cheese and mint. Stir gently. Serve right away, or salad will become watery. Yield: 2 servings.

 

Berry Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 peach, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preparation:

Combine fruit and mix together sour cream, sugar and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Toss fruit with sauce mixture and serve.

 

Sources: bonappetit.com, gourmet.com and Joanne’s recipe box.

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 4, August/September 2013.

 

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