Salads when it sizzles

It’s hot here in Seattle, for the second time this summer (summer having commenced right on schedule on July 5). By hot I mean mid-80s, which I know will make some of you curl your lip and say “Mid-80s? That’s nothing.”

But heat is relative, and when it’s relatively hot, a cool, refreshing meal creates a little body balance, and lets you avoid heating up the kitchen too much (especially important in Seattle, the land of few air conditioners).

I’d relied on my go-to lunch and/or dinner meal of big green salads with chicken breast so many times in the month of my organic chemistry-induced near-solitary confinement that I wanted that go-to meal gone! I’ll welcome it back into the fold eventually, but I’m pretty sick of it for now. But summer cries out for salads, so it was time to use my newfound free time to make some light, healthy, satisfying salads where lettuce was not the star.

This is a photo of Saturday’s lunch. In the 12 o’clock position is a screamingly simple Sesame Carrot Salad, from “Real Food Has Curves,” which I mentioned previously. Here’s what it is: 1 pound carrots, grated 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, two teaspoons fresh minced ginger and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Toss those in a bowl, mix, and Bob’s your uncle.

Running clockwise, next we have Farro Salad with Beets, Beet Greens and Feta from the New York Times Recipes for Health archive. You can follow the above link to the recipe, with an especially lovely photo. This is the second time I’ve made this recipe, and I consider it a keeper.

Next, we have a newcomer, from the I-can’t-rave-about-this-cookbook-enough Jamie’s Food Revolution. It’s the most “complicated” version of his Evolution Tomato Salad, which starts super simple and progressively adds more things to it, with the end result still being pretty darn simple. Here’s what I threw in a bowl and mixed together:

  • 1.5 pounds of cherry tomatoes (each cut in half)
  • A handful of kalamata olives, also cut in half
  • One can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed in a colander, first)
  • A can of tuna (drained)
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • Some chopped up fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Fantastic, I say. A total keeper of a recipe. Vegetables, protein, fiber, healthy fats, great flavor…delicious and nutritious!