Summer Salad Savers

August 23, 2016

By Corrine Garcia, Co-op Member Owner

There are some hot summer days when I can’t fathom turning on the stove, oven or even the grill for that matter. I just don’t want to add more heat to the already scalding day, but more importantly, heat makes me, well, lazy. And it also makes me have less of an appetite. Throwing a salad together can be the perfect solution.

Although I typically have some salad fixings on hand, I also scrounge around the fridge and cupboards looking for fun additions. Here are some surprising salad toppings to consider on your next hot, lazy summer day.

Flavorful Fruits

Fruit always adds a refreshing twist to salads, along with an unexpected burst of flavor, especially when it’s paired with other more savory items. Try a watermelon and arugula salad with crumbled feta; strawberries, cherries or raspberries with goat cheese; grapefruit or kiwi and avocado, blueberry with pecans; or mango with chicken or shrimp. Just toss these blends onto some flavorful greens, and yum.

Spiralized Vegetables

Obviously adding vegetables to a salad is nothing new, but break out the spiralizer and vegetables are fun again. For the uninitiated, a spiralizer is an inexpensive kitchen tool that shreds your vegetables into noodle form. Simply use a base of zucchini, or mix a few together, such as zucchini, carrots and beets, for great way to eat a rainbow of vegetables, and therefore a healthy assortment of vitamins and antioxidants. For additional toppings, throw on some sesame seeds, nuts, beans, feta or goat cheese, and/or some chicken for extra protein.

Pickled or Fermented Anything

I’m obsessed with pickled onions right now, which are incredibly easy to make at home. They’ve been making their way onto every salad, sandwich and wrap in my kitchen, adding a tangy pop of flavor. But really, anything pickled or fermented can add zippy flavor and depth, including pickled asparagus, green beans or artichoke hearts. Fermented vegetables also add a similar tang, or try a side of kimchi to spice it up.

For Pickled Onions: Cut a red onion into thin strips and put inside a mason jar; combine ½ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup warm water, 1.5 tsp salt and 1 tbsp sugar in a bowl; stir until dissolved and pour over the onion; cover and let sit in fridge for at least one day.

The Fridge Dump

When I cook, I always try to have leftovers for lunches. When it comes to meat, I always grill extra fish, poultry or red meats, and even an extra garden burger. All of these make great salad toppings, including pulled pork. But then there are the unexpected fridge finds that should not be overlooked. This includes leftover potatoes, rices and grains, beans, cold cuts, ground meat, cheeses, roasted vegetables, you get the picture. Nothing is too good or too weird for my salad!

Salad Making Tip

For the perfect salad, wash and completely dry greens, toss with dressing just before serving, and add other delicate toppings after tossed (like avocado, egg, etc.).