IMG_9394 roasted sweet potatoes, kale, salad daze

(Originally posted on Hot Pink Apron June 2013)

Living in the South offers up some perks like an early spring and close proximity to locally produced fresh fruit. It starts in February when the Florida grown strawberries begin to appear in our local grocery stores. Even though the organic ones are still running about $6.99 a pint, I can’t resist. I swear strawberries are the gateway drug to my spring salad addiction. I live on the edge people!!! I put everything in my salads and the hungrier I am the bigger the salads.

Dinner has become an afterthought now that the days are longer and I spend more time outside with my kid playing in the park. Over the winter I’d have thought ahead and thrown the fridge contents into a crock pot ensuring dinner is ready upon return, but these days I come in late, cheeks sun-kissed, toting a filthy played-out 4-year-old and throw the fridge contents into a salad bowl. I have TWO fridges. One was technically for beer, ahem, but then I began juicing and, well, now both are full of vegetables. Seriously? Who have I become?

On days when I’m in a kitchen mood, I’ll typically get a pile of ingredients ready to store in the fridge for quick salad fixings. These would include: roasting beets, sweet potatoes and tofu, making lentils, cleaning kale, dicing red onion and slicing cucumbers. You get the idea.

The key to pulling off great salads is having 70% of the ingredients right there ready to go. Make it effortless so when starvation is on you, you won’t elect to choose a drive-thru instead.

Everyone in my family eats salad – even the kid! Big Daddy P usually chars something to throw beside the salad on his plate but at least he eats the salad too. Stock the pantry and freezer with creative staples and you’ll never get bored in salad land again!

Seeds

sunflower, pipita, flax and the almighty chia seed.

Nuts

peanuts, cashews, almonds and pecans are my substitute for croutons

Beans/Peas

Chickpea, lentil, butter beans, black eye peas, kidney, wax bean, spring peas

Other Awesome Ingredients

Olives, artichokes, hearts of palm, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, small shell pasta, bilged, millet, couscous & chia.

Dressing Ingredients

rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, cider vinegar, agave, honey, dijon mustard, toasted sesame oil, olive oil, avocado, veganaise or mayo, lemon, lime, water, tahini, miso. Combine ANY combo of these ingredients with some fresh black pepper or herbs and you are on fire in the salad dressing department. Adjust dressings to ingredients to enhance either a sweet fruity salad or a savory salad. There is NO REASON to buy salad dressing again.

IMG_9395

A gorgeous papaya, gluten free pasta salad with sun dried tomatoes, oh yeah, strawberries & avocado are orgasmic!

 

Wanna impress your friends this summer? Whip up this delicious salad. Do it! I’m the boss of you. Then report back and tell me how you liked it or how you made it even better. Also and P.S If you are like me and FAIL to read recipes all the way through until you’re in the middle of making the dish … this salad is BEST chilled 24 hours before serving and it is a perfect accompaniment to a sustainable fish dish.

 

IMG_1811

 

Corn and Blueberry Salad
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens June 2010
Prep: 25 minutes Chill: overnight before serving
Ingredients:

6 ears of fresh corn (I use 1 cup frozen when fresh isn’t available)
1 cup fresh blueberries (I use the whole pint)
1 small english cucumber in quarters sliced thin
¼ cup red onion diced
¼ chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely chopped (or canned packed in water)
2 TBSP lime juice (I used a whole lime in the press)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 Tbsp honey or ½ agave
½ tsp ground cumin
Directions:

DO NOT cut the jalapeno and touch your eye. Seriously. Just don’t do that.
Combine ingredients in a bowl, stir them up to coat everything in the lime, EVOO, agave/honey and cumin
Cover and chill overnight.

IMG_1818Just a few simple ingredients to create fresh flavour magic.  Enjoy!

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