Best Summer Salads (vegan or otherwise)

Believe it or not, I’m not much of a salad eater. Don’t get me wrong … I love LOVE love salads, but, I like them to be chalk full of all kinds of veggies and typically I get a little too impatient to spend time cutting everything up. Yes, I know, I could (and sometimes do) prep stuff in advance for a few days of drool-worthy salads but other times I just don’t. Which is why I tend to order salads at restaurants … not because I’m “that” girl, but because I’m just too damn lazy to make one at home. I know. It’s weird. I’ll make a gazillion other things but salad? Eh. Go figure. Gastro Gabe will, undoubtedly, have his snarky remarks to add in about that, I mean I did kinda leave the door open for it with the whole “lazy” bit … but all’s good. He knows I’m not lazy. If anything I’m far from it. I just don’t like to peel and cut stuff. So there’s that.

“TO REMEMBER A SUCCESSFUL SALAD IS GENERALLY TO REMEMBER A SUCCESSFUL DINNER; AT ALL EVENTS, THE PERFECT DINNER NECESSARILY INCLUDES THE PERFECT SALAD.” ~ GEORGE ELLWANGER, ‘PLEASURES OF THE TABLE’

Anyhoo, seeing how it’s straight up SUMMER (YAAAAYYYYYY) I thought I’d try and enjoy the bounties of nearby farmers markets and make a different salad every day—see below. But first, before I jump into the week-long field forecast (field, get it … like a field of greens … salads are typically green … no? I tried) I’m going to share this gem of a creation.

My friend actually made it for me when I returned home from knee replacement surgery (more on that in another post) only he used shrimp and I served it on top of wilted kale. I mean why not? And it was so good I decided to recreate using some of the amazing leftover Prince William Sound sockeye salmon we cooked the other night. It makes for a perfect summer dinner, and is equally as good when tossed with a little quinoa and packed for lunch the next day. So have at it peeps … and remember, it’s OK to flex your flexitarian self every now and then and adding reliably-sourced, wild-caught salmon from Alaska is probably the best way you can do so (don’t forget the French brie while you’re at it.

CHILLED SUMMER SALMON SALAD WITH TARRAGON

PREP TIME: 15 minutes + 1 hour to chill and set the flavors before serving

  • 1 to 1 ½ cups leftover cooked salmon, flaked or cut into bite-size
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, cut in inch-long strips or any leftover grille green veggies like zucchini
  • 1 cup edamame, or lima beans or green peas
  • ½ cup sweet corn, shaved from leftover cobs if you have them
  • ½ cup asparagus tips, if you have them
  • 2-3 scallions, white part only, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 2-3 TBS lite balsamic vinaigrette of your choosing
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional, crumbled feta vegan or otherwise should you choose

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and lightly mix together being careful not to “hammer” the ingredients or separate the salmon too much. Ideally you want it to stay in bite-size pieces Note, tarragon has a rather strong black licorice flavor to it, which I love and think it compliments this salad well. However, some people might want to cut the amount down a bit … so start small and add as you see fit. Serve chilled with a hunk of rustic, crusty French bread and a glass of your favorite chardonnay. Enjoy!

Here are seven more salads worthy of making every night, salad night, for one delicious week …

  • GREEK: Cucumber, fresh dill, thick sliced onions, kalamata olives, red wine vinegar and lots of pepper
  • POTATO: Cooked and smashed red potatoes, green onion, fresh green beans, fresh parsley, white vinegar
  • SPINACH: Baby spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, walnuts and crumbled vegan feta
  • FRUIT: Watermelon hunks with fresh mint, crumbled vegan feta and pickled jalapenos
  • CLASSIC: Spring mix with sliced red peppers, sunflower seeds.
  • OLD SCHOOL: Romaine hearts with shredded carrots, frozen peas, avocado, kidney beans and 
  • CAPRESE: Thick slices fresh tomatoes, vegan mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar

On Being a Flexitarian

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