Sunday, 3 June 2012

Opinions from the Kitchen: Summer Salad Time Once Again

One of the most exciting things about summer for me is the variety of fresh local produce available at the farmer's market. This year, if all goes well, there will also be a variety of vegetables and herbs coming from our own garden as well. To make the most of it, our regular meals will include lots of classic and experimental salads. Here are a few of this spring's successes to whet your appetite.

Mint Chick Pea Salad

This salad is refreshing and colourful, which makes it a great sunny day snack. It requires very little time to put together and will stay fresh when made in advance. Any oil & vinegar dressing works with this combination, but I find that a sweet curry dressing gives it the perfect touch of Indian flavour. Garnish with mint leaves and serve dressing on the side.

Salad ingredients
   - 1c dried chick peas, soaked and boiled according to directions (or a large can, rinsed well)
   - 1/2 of a finely chopped red pepper
   - 2 finely chopped carrots
   - 4 or 5 sliced green onions
   As much chopped fresh mint as you like

Sweet curry dressing
   - 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
   - 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
   - 1 tsp mustard
   - 2 tsp honey
   - 1/4 tsp curry powder
   - pinch of salt and/or pepper

Kelp Noodle Salad with Sesame

I recently discovered kelp noodles at our local organic store and have been experimenting with different serving ideas. These noodles are raw vegan friendly (only three ingredients: kelp, water, salt) and their crisp texture is similar to that of a cucumber. They are the perfect complement for spicy Asian flavours. Serve with a thick dressing, such as sesame or peanut, that will adhere to the noodles. Toss noodles with half of dressing, then add vegetables and toss lightly. Pour remaining dressing on top and garnish with roasted sesame seeds.

Salad ingredients
   - 1 package kelp noodles, rinsed
   - 1 julienned carrot
   - 1/2 cucumber, cut into spears
   - 24 snow peas, lightly stir fried
   - 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds for garnish

Sesame ginger dressing
   - 1 tbsp soy sauce
   - 2 tbsp rice vinegar
   - 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
   - 1 clove garlic, finely grated
   - 2 tsp honey
   - 1 tbsp roasted sesame oil
   - crushed dried chillies to taste (we like a lot)

Strawberry Apple Green Salad

There is something about the taste of summer fruits and garlic that really appeals to me. I like to add strawberries, raspberries, apple, or melon to just about every leafy green salad. This is a great combination of berry sweetness, green apple sourness, and a slightly salty cheese.

Salad ingredients
   - 2 c of your favourite leafy greens
   - 6 strawberries cut into quarters
   - 1/2 of a granny smith apple cut into thin wedges
   - large chunks of parmesan cheese
   - 1 tbsp crushed roasted almonds for garnish

Lemon garlic dressing
   - juice of 1 lemon
   - 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
   - 1tbsp grated parmesan
   - 2 tbsp olive oil

For another delicious berry salad idea, check out last fall's Raspberry and Summer Squash Salad.

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