Today: Summer was meant for salads.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Being a rather unimaginative vegetarian, I am always pleased with myself when I think up something new.  And when that something new turns out to be both simple and delicious, well all the better.  With so much fresh New England produce to enjoy this time of year, I can’t help but believe summer was meant for salads.

Three of my favorites?  Read on, friends.

Melons, Bocconcini and Basil

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed (or, if you have no life, pressed into delicate flower shapes)
  • 2 cups honeydew melon, cubed
  • 1/2 European cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup bocconcini
  • 10 large leaves of basil, chiffonade or chop coarsely
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Drain or press excess moisture from your cubed melon and cheese.
  2. Mix watermelon, honey dew melon, and bocconcini in a large bowl or serving platter, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.  This is a case where less is definitely more.
  3. Top with a generous amount of fresh basil, and serve chilled.  This salad can be prepared the night before, and makes a delightful brunch treat.

Heirloom tomatoes with bleu cheese

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium heirloom tomatoes (experiment with different varieties, or stick to a tried and true favorite)
  • 1.5 cups crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Carefully chop tomatoes in half, and then into quarters and arrange on a large platter, or in a large serving bowl.
  2. Top the tomatoes with crumbled bleu cheese (feta or Gorgonzola are excellent choices as well), and a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Makes a great addition to fresh greens, a crusty slice of French bread, or served alongside your favorite summer cookout fare.

Orzo salad with a Greek accent

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat orzo
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 European cucumber, chopped
  • 1 yellow or red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small handful fresh mint leaves, washed and dried
  • Greek dressing (I prefer Yasou) and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare orzo according to package directions.  Drain, and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Combine cooked orzo with chopped vegetables (onion, pepper and cucumber), feta cheese, and chickpeas and mix well.
  3. Slowly add Greek dressing, being careful not to overdress the salad.
  4. Top with fresh mint leaves and cracked pepper, and refrigerate before serving chilled.
  5. This salad is delicious when served over spinach, and make a perfect “leftover lunch,” as flavors continue to develop.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite summer meal?

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