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Five of the Most Delicious and Healthiest Summertime Salads

Salads don’t have to consist of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes.  There are endless salad ideas, from those that combine root vegetables with pasta to exotic Mediterranean and Asian salads that fill you up with healthy grains and legumes.

Finding a good, light summer-friendly salad in the middle of the summer is like winning Slotocash bonus codes. It satisfies you without giving you a heavy, over-full feeling that can put a kabash on your summer plans.

Some of the best summer salads:

Tabbouleh

Obviously, some of the best summer salads come from the Mediterranean region where summertime starts in early May and ends in October.  Tabbouleh is a fresh vegetable, herb and bulgur salad. Parsley is the main ingredient of this special dish but you can mix and match other light vegetables and even substitute quinoa for the bulgur for an extra dose of nutrition.

To prepare tabbouleh, start by making the bulgur. Put one cup of dried bulgur in one cup of salted boiling water. Immediately turn off the heat under the water and let the bulgur sit in the hot water, which will cook it.

Alternately, if you want to use quinoa as your tabbouleh base, rinse the quinoa grains well under running water and shake the strainer to get out any excess water.  Place the washed quinoa grains in a pan and dry fry the quinoa until it starts to make a popping sound.  Let it pop for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to keep it from burning.  Then cook it in salted boiling water – 2 cups of boiling water to one cup of dry quinoa.  When the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, it’s cooked.

Now add your vegetables. The standard herbs for tabbouleh include a LOT of parsley, mint and sliced green onions.  Chop these herbs fine and add them to the grain.

Cube tomatoes and cucumbers and add.

Many people add a few handfuls of cooked garbanzo beans for some added texture.

Add diced (or crushed) garlic.

Top with a generous helping of olive oil and add lemon juice and extra salt to taste (if you’ve salted the water in which you cooked the grain, you may not need the extra salt).

Enjoy!

Greek Salad

Cooks in Greece have been preparing healthful hot weather salads for thousands of years.  The ingredients are locally grown and blend together to create a meal all in itself.

There are many different types of Greek Salads but the classic Greek salad is probably the best. It’s best to prepare all of the ingredients beforehand and then toss everything together right before you’re ready to serve.

Basic ingredients of a classic Greek salad are cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, different colored bell peppers (green, red, orange, yellow….whatever you can find), red onions, olives and feta cheese. In Greece, many cooks include chopped parsley for added color and taste.

Once again, the addition of a few handfuls of garbanzo beans will give this salad a more filling effect and will add the nutritional value that makes it a fully-balanced meal-in-one.

As tasty as the vegetables, cheese, olives and chickpeas may be on their own, a nice Greek vinaigrette dressing tops off this salad perfectly.  Combine the ingredients and shake. Greek vinaigrette salad includes:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder

  • salt and pepper to taste

Root Salad

Root salads aren’t just for wintertime.  Root vegetables are harvested in the summer and, with a little bit of attention, make a great summer salad.

One favorite involves beets and sweet potatoes which are roasted separately in a balsamic vinegar/olive oil dressing. When the vegetables are soft and a bit crusty on the outside, they are mixed with feta cheese. The whole salad is then tossed with pasta (penne, tortellini or fusilli work best) and dressed with olive oil and salt.

Some people add additional roasted vegetables such as zucchini or roasted red peppers – this is up to your taste and your time.

Sauteed Pepper Salad

Pasta is a great base for many summer salads.  It’s filling in itself and blends in with many different types of tastes and textures.

This sauteed pepper salad makes a nice side dish or a terrific and filing main dish.

Start by grilling your peppers and onion.  Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet and add 3 thinly sliced bell peppers (any color, but red, orange or yellow will do best) and one small, thinly sliced onion.  Cook until tender and then add 2 medium zucchini that’s been sliced into thick, round slices. Add salt and pepper.

Cook fettuccine or tagliatelle pasta and add to the vegetables.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Mix in 1 cup of grated mozzarella and more pasta water if you need it to make a sauce. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Top with grated mozzarella and pieces of basil leaves.

Three Bean Salad

The base of this salad is nutritionally a complete meal with protein, vegetables and carbohydrates.  Not only that, but without the accompanying dressing, it’s 0 points on the Weight Watchers points list, meaning that it’s fairly non-fattening (even if you do add the dressing, minimize the sugar and the oil to keep the calories down).

As the title suggests, it’s made with three different types of beans, green beans, wax beans and kidney beans.  You can also add garbanzo beans or substitute them for one of the other beans.

Mix together the  beans and add thin slices of onion.

Mix up ¾ cup vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil,  ¼ cup sugar and 1/2 tsp celery seed and add to the bean mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set in refrigerator for at least 12 hours and then serve.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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