When the calendar turns to late June, not only do we want to eat different foods, we want to eat them differently. Soups that would normally be served hot are just fine at room temperature or even chilled. Roasted veggies can be prepared long before mealtime and simply kept on the kitchen counter; nothing needs to be hot out of the oven. Heck, who even wants to turn on the oven?
Which brings us to one of the healthiest, and certainly one of the most creative, types of food there is: the ubiquitous salad.
Salads are a snapshot of the present. They reflect what’s in the market on any given day, what dry goods you may have in the pantry or what fruit is on the counter, or even, what leftovers are hiding in the back of your fridge. Bring these ingredients together with a few simple techniques and you’re eating a meal you will never create exactly again.
To start our exploration of all things salad, we head to California and Earthbound Farm. As you would expect from the country’s largest grower of organic produce, there are scores of salad recipes on the Earthbound Farm website. This California Salad from Myra Goodman’s Food To Live By celebrates all the foods associated with the Golden State: avocados, dried apricots, almonds, goat cheese and beautiful baby greens.
Earlier this month, Noelle Carter in the L.A. Times wrote “Refreshing Salad Options for Meatless Monday,” presenting three vegetarian salads that add a little cool to your kitchen, including a Tomato & Watermelon Salad, Cool Rice and Cucumber Salad, and a Curried Couscous with Roasted Cauliflower, which Carter describes as a “brightly colorful and refreshing couscous salad… a perfect way to celebrate warmer weather any time of the year.”
To understand the health benefits of getting a wide variety of greens into your salad bowl, Prevention recently published “10 Healthiest Greens You Can Eat For The Least Amount of Calories.” From parsley at 22 calories per cup all the way down to Romaine Lettuce at 1 calorie per cup, here are 10 recipes that will help you add a mix of greens into your diet, instead of defaulting to the same easy salad. (Kale, we’re looking at you.)
If you’ve never downloaded the free Meatless Monday 10th Anniversary Cookbook, now is a perfect time. Among a selection of entrees and side dishes from celebrity chefs, three salads standout in terms of color and creativity: Jeffrey Gimmel’s Roasted Carrot Salad (pictured), Alicia Walter’s Grilled Greens with Cranberry Beans, and Jason Weiner’s Warm Beet Pistachio Salad.
Finally, if you follow Mario Batali on Twitter, you saw this enthusiastic tweet last week for a simple Watermelon and Red Onion Salad. Note: this version contains Bottarga, which some Meatless Monday fans may or may not want to include in their Monday menus. Like most things in the kitchen, all recipes are flexible.
Are you making a bright, tasty salad on this Meatless Monday? Feel free to snap a picture and share on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Nothing is tastier than sharing good recipes, and we guarantee you’ll get a few likes and retweets.