Let’s talk summer! Lazy days at the lake, neighborhood picnics or just backyard hangs are my favorite ways to celebrate this season of warm breezes, outdoor living, and sun-shine. I absolutely love to cook, even during those hot and humid summer days. My challenge is to find and create recipes that won’t keep me glued to my stove for hours though, to give me time to enjoy the long, warm days.
Salads are an obvious but versatile solution for summertime dining, with all of the fresh local produce around it’s easy to whip up something quick and delish. They are quick and easy to prepare and travel well, ideal for picnics at the beach or park and potlucks with friends.
A cool and delicious Peanut Noodle Salad is the perfect meal for hot summer days. I use whole wheat spaghetti for this dish. The texture of the pasta pairs so well with crunch of the edamame, cucumber, and cab-bage. A quick homemade sauce of peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice make this a light and healthy dish for summer.
I love to entertain and one of my go-to meals for a large group is Italian subs; always a hit but I’m finding that more frequently now I have guests who are gluten-free or doing the Keto thing and not eating carbs. So to find a solution to please more palates I came up with the idea to ditch the bread and put all of the yummy sub toppings over some cool fresh romaine lettuce to make an Italian Sub Salad. A simple vinaigrette with dried Italian herbs is the finishing touch to my Italian masterpiece. My kindred carb lovers don’t fret, because I also serve this with a loaf of crusty garlic Tuscan bread.
Hold onto your sun hat because we are about to go on a flavor ride! Cucumber Noodles, Watermelon and Feta? Yup, I said it. Talk about a blast of fresh flavors in your mouth! This salad hits every taste bud. Hello crunchy cucumber noodles and sweet juicy watermelon, may I intro-duce you to your new friend, tangy and salty Feta? These ingredients, together with a touch of fresh mint and a squeeze of lime juice make this salad my absolute favorite on those 90 degree days with 100% humidity.
Eat well, stay cool, relax and enjoy the sunshine while we can. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Cool Peanut Noodle Salad
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
½ cup unsalted creamy peanut butter
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ cup shredded purple cabbage
½ cup shelled edamame (I use frozen)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ teaspoon black sesame seeds
Cook spaghetti noodles per package directions. Strain and allow noodles to cool for 5 minutes. While noodles cool, prepare the sauce by whisking together peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, and sesame oil and set aside.
Combine noodles, cabbage, edamame and cucumber in a large bowl.
Add the sauce to the noodles and toss to coat. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds. Refrigerate before serving. Serves 6-8 Vegetarian
Italian Sub Salad
2 Hearts of Romaine, Shredded
1/2 lb of Salami, Sliced, Cut into Squares
1/2 lb of Provolone, Sliced, Cut into Squares
8oz Package of Marinated Mini Fresh Mozzarella Balls
1 Cucumber, Sliced Thin
1 Red Pepper, Sliced into Strips
1 C of Mild Pepper Rings
1 Red or White Onion, Sliced into Strips
1 C of Parmesan, Cubed
1/2 lb Pepperoni, Diced
1 C Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 C Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
2 Tablespoons Organic White or Brown Sugar
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
Whisk together all the ingredients for the salad dressing. Set Aside. In a large bowl add the romaine lettuce and top the salad with the two peppers, meats, cheeses, onions, and cucumbers. Arrange in a pattern over the lettuce, sprinkle lightly with salt, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Dress salad when ready to serve. Serves 4-6 Gluten Free
Watermelon, Cucumber Noodle and Feta Salad
1 large seedless English cucumber
3 cups cubed watermelon
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
Use a Spiralizer to create the cucumber noodles. Place noodles in a large bowl. Add the watermelon cubes, feta cheese, and mint. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the salad. Salad is best if served right after it has been made. Serves 4-6 Vegetarian/Gluten Free