Home / Food / Easy-summertime-salads

Easy Summertime Salads


Cooking with:

Summer gives you permission to lay back and stop trying so hard, especially when it comes to preparing dinner. Easy and satisfying salads are my go-to whether I’m entertaining or keeping it low-key. Here are two colorful dishes that scream warm and sunny days.

Mediterranean Quinoa

Quinoa is a staple in my kitchen all year round; it goes great with almost every vegetable and protein. One of my favorite ways to serve it is tossed with fresh vegetables in bright vinaigrette just like this one.

4 cups quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
2 cucumbers, cubed
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

For the dressing:

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt, to taste

  1. Combine quinoa and vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small jar and pour over.
  3. Allow quinoa to marinate in the dressing for at least one hour.

Garden Salad with Ginger Balsamic Dressing

This is an Asian twist to a classic balsamic vinaigrette. Sesame paste is a great and natural way to thicken dressings instead of mayonnaise. Turn this salad into a meal by topping it with grilled fish or chicken!

6 cups baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 large carrot, grated

For the dressing:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 inch of ginger, peeled
2 tbs. maple syrup/honey
2 tbs. water
2 tbs. sesame paste
1 tbs. toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

  1. Combine spinach leaves and vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small jar and pour over immediately before serving

Chef’s Tips: How to Cook Quinoa

I get asked often about the secret to fluffy, not crunchy or bitter, quinoa. First off: To rinse or not to rinse? I personally don’t wash my quinoa. I always make sure to buy top-quality brands and to not purchase loose grains (by the pound). This way I’m always satisfied with how clean the quinoa is and cook it unwashed. However, in most cases it’s perfectly fine to rinse quinoa before cooking.

There are several varieties of quinoa. In the above recipe I use white quinoa. I find that red or brown quinoa is less enjoyable to eat cold because of its outer shell, so I keep those for warmer recipes.

And finally, I cook my quinoa in a rice cooker, but if you’re using your stovetop just place the quinoa in a pot and cover it with cold water by one inch. Cook it on medium heat at a simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes. Shut the flame, allow the quinoa to come down to room temperature, then add your vegetables and your dressing and refrigerate for an hour.


Other author's posts
Leave a Reply
Stay With Us