This month for my #Shakleeblogger healthy lifestyle update I’m going to share some of my favorite healthy summer salads. Now, I’ve never been a big salad person, regardless if it’s a main course or as a side dish. However, I tend to favor them when summer rolls around. Eating summer salads are my way to beat the heat and a way to get some incredibly tasting produce, such as sweet corn, summer squash, green beans, eggplant and of course, juicy tomatoes into my daily diet. I even go all out and whisk up my own salad dressing from scratch, using the fresh and vibrant herbs from my garden.
My local farmers market in River Vale, NJ
I really love the farm-to-table movement and the summer months are abundant with local farmers markets in NJ. It’s not unusual for me to visit two or three a week to check out and pick up a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit (strawberries and blueberries are in season in the Northeast now!), eggs and even cheese. Some farmers markets even sell fresh poultry or beef – but I haven’t done that yet.
Here’s my haul from a recent farmers market trip:
Yes, that is white asparagus. You might be asking what is the difference between white asparagus and green asparagus? And, does it make a difference in my recipe? I asked that very question and was told that white asparagus comes from the process of etiolation, which is the deprivation of light. Farmers keep dirty mounded around the emerging stalk, depriving it of all light, so the plant cannot produce chlorophyll thus there is no green color to the stalks. I find white asparagus a little milder in flavor and tenderer than the green variety, especially when it’s grilled (and all I use on it to grill is a little olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice along with salt & pepper).
The long green stalks are garlic bulbs. When you remove the cloves from the bulb, they are nice and sticky – a sign of their freshness. I find that they aren’t as strong in their fresh state, and often mince or grate it into my dishes.
Big red (or any brightly colored, sorry green) peppers roasted on the grill, YUM-O. Enuff said!
And now the pièce de résistance, those luscious and colorful heirloom tomatoes! There’s just something about summer tomatoes, maybe it’s all the sun and heat, but they are so juicy and deliciously sweet. You don’t need to do much to enhance these babies…here’s my easy summer tomato salad recipe:
A mix of red, orange or yellow tomatoes heirloom tomatoes (tomatoes on the vine work too)
Good quality olive oil
Good quality balsamic vinegar
Julienne ¼ to 1/2 of a red onion (depending on how much you like onions) and place into bowl. Cut the tomatoes into 1/4″ chunks and place into the same bowl as the onions. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with kosher salt & parsley. Chiffonade a few leaves of fresh basil and mix into tomato/onion mixture.
You can serve it right away, or I put it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld a bit before I eat it all up.
Here are a few more of my favorite summer salads that I’ve featured on my blog, just click on the photo or link for the full recipe:
Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your favorite vegetable?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support, and incentives for participating. All opinions given here are my very own. People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
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