summer salads

And just like that, it’s summer. Thank GOD! I was starting to fear blue skies and high temps would pass us by.

So while I love firing up the grill and cooking up slabs of meaty charbroiled goodness, I’ve been trying to steer away from meat lately mainly due to reading this, this and this (I’m not sure how I feel about it all yet, so that’s a topic for a different day). I just adore side salads, enough to make a whole meal out of it, so that’s just what I did! This was our first meal dining al fresco this year:

I made three to be exact, and I hope you’ll enjoy one or all of these for the upcoming holiday.

1. The dish in the yellow bowl is a Three-Bean Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette. Oooh baby was it delicious! I would never typically choose this at a salad bar, having experienced this type of salad at an Izzy’s when I was a wee lass. It was this lukewarm, congealed, canned bean disaster. Sick. This salad was anything but. Fresh and tangy and delightful. Well, I suppose it was sick if you use it in this sense. I added a bit of fresh thyme and kale (omitted watercress) from my garden and dried tarragon in lieu of fresh. I also didn’t have any chives as I cut them all the day before (and left them on the deck overnight – grr!), but I think it would have given the salad more of a “bite” and been even more amazing.

2. The dish in the red bowl is a Double Cabbage Slaw. First off, I abhor the word “slaw” and because of that, I tend to shy away from coleslaw altogether. After reading Smitten Kitchen for a few months now, and witnessing her love of it, I decided I would give it another whirl. Slaw is damn good! This couldn’t have come together any faster or easier and it had this sweet yet spicy kick. I used plain whole milk yogurt instead of non-fat. I rolled some up in a whole wheat tortilla with melted cheddar cheese for lunch, and dinner and dinner again the next night. Amazing!

3. The dish in the green bowl is a Cucumber-Mint Berry Salad. This was hands down our favorite of the three. Because our dill is growing like a weed (heh heh), I’m going to make this cucumber salad next, thanks to Everybody Likes Sandwiches. I used plain whole milk yogurt instead of plain soy. I halved the recipe and added about one ounce, perhaps two of this amazingly creamy homestead feta. I highly recommend you do the same!

All three complemented one another beautifully and we have loads of leftovers for lunches and dinner. Like the pretty pink drinks? It’s a delightfully bubbly brew of rhubarb soda, which I recently made. The gorgeous straws can be purchased here if you’re local, and here if you’re not. Want another side salad idea for the upcoming holiday? Try this Hannibal Lector approved dish. Mangia!

P.S. – Notice the little dish that held a mini wooden spoon, scoop of applesauce and a sliced avocado? That was Baby’s supper and the avocado was his first experience with finger foods.

Jury’s out on what he thought.

But he sure liked playing peek-a-boo with Daddy after dinner.

Have a Happy Fourth!

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