Salad is not quite enough for lunch or dinner unless you add a lot of ingredients to it. My Hearty Summer Salad is chock-full of deliciousness! Local greens, campari tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, steamed broccoli, toasted walnuts, and feta. Did I forget anything? Oh yes and topped with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
For Hearty Summer Salad Go Local If You Can
Whenever possible, I like to buy local greens because, to me, there is a huge difference between supermarket greens and those from a local farm. The freshness of farm greens is something that truly makes a better salad.
Lately, I've been intrigued by hydroponic-grown greens. There is a local farm near me that is producing greens by this method and I love them. It's called Lef Farms: www.lef-farms.com. I will use this lettuce during the fall and winter months and switch to regular local greens come summer. They are so fresh! Can't say enough good things about them. Also, if there is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in your area you should look into buying a share. I've been a member at Clark Farm in Carlisle, MA for the past two summers and I love it. You can read more about this in my CSA Summer Series where I incorporate my CSA greens and veggies into my recipes.
It's Your Summer Salad - What Are Your Favorite Things?
One key ingredient to a great salad, for me, is toasted nuts. Walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios. I loooove nuts in my salad. And it's worth it to toast nuts like walnuts, pecans and pine nuts because it really elevates the flavor. You can roast them in the oven or you can toast them on low heat in a pan. I chose the latter and toasted the walnuts in a pan for five minutes, stirring frequently. Remember: you must let them cool down before you eat them.
I typically choose campari tomatoes (a vine-ripe variety) for my salads because they are sweet, juicy and that deep red color is gorgeous. At this point in life, summer salad isn't summer salad without a perfectly ripe avocado. Cheese is important too and I lean towards feta, goat cheese or fresh shaved parmesan.
Salads are a great opportunity to get creative. I especially love adding steamed vegetables that have been chilled. And if you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that my most picky item when it comes to salads is the dressing. I rarely use store-bought dressing. Whipping up a vinaigrette is so easy there is no point to buying that bottled stuff.
Need More Salad and Dressing Ideas? I Gotcha Covered:
- Jonah Crab & Asparagus Salad w/Basil Vinaigrette
- My Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Sweet and Tangy Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- Avocado, Tomato, Cucumber Salad w/Basil, Dill & Feta
- How To Make Delicious Homemade Croutons
- Super Tangy Garlic Scape Vinaigrette
- Roasted Beet Salad w/Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- Kale, Radish & Parsley Salad w/Fennel, Carrots & Walnuts
- Thai Lettuce Wraps w/Rotisserie Chicken
- Steak Salad w/Pickled Red Onions & Bleu Cheese