With so much produce in season, summer is the perfect time to build yourself a salad on the cheap!
Here are five quick and easy ideas that will help you make the most of your summer veggies. The best part: they use versatile kitchen staples, so you won’t need to buy separate ingredients for each one!
1.) White Bean and Tomatoes
It might sound a little unconventional, but the combination of canned white beans and fresh cherry tomatoes is amazing. Just saute a clove of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes, just until it starts to brown. Add the garlic oil to a can of rinsed and drained white beans. Season with salt and pepper and mash everything together. Then, add a cup of halved cherry tomatoes and mound the salad on a lightly toasted bagel and sprinkle with fresh julienned basil.
2.) Green Beans with Tomato and Feta
Green and yellow beans are fresh and crispy and pair perfectly with this light dressing. Just cook a handful of a combination of green and yellow beans for five minutes in boiling, salted water. Drain the beans and rinse them in cold water. Chop up a tomato, and mix it with half a tablespoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss the beans with the dressing and top with a sprinkle of feta cheese. Add some basil for freshness if you like.
3.) Carrots and Tuna
This is a great, mayo-free alternative to your traditional tuna salad. Julienne a few carrots and mix them with a little minced garlic and about a tablespoon of minced onion. Toss the veggies with a half tablespoon of olive or sesame oil, and microwave, covered, for one to two minutes until just softened. Once cooked, mix the veggies with a can of drained tuna, then toss with a dressing of one tablespoon white vinegar, half a teaspoon dijon mustard, a few shakes of soy sauce, and a little salt and pepper.
4.) Spinach and Peas with Feta
Fresh peas are everywhere in farmers markets in the summer. Grab a handful and cook them in boiling, salted water for five minutes. Then, drain and rinse with cold water. Thinly slice a small red onion and set aside. Mix a tablespoon each of vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil with a teaspoon of minced garlic and salt and pepper. Toss peas, onion, and a handful of spinach in the dressing and top with feta. Add a little julienned basil to finish it off. Or, take it a step further and make it a meal by adding grilled chicken or shrimp.
5.) Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese
If you like beets, this is the time of year to get your fill! Cut the stems off your beets and roast them in a foil packet with olive oil and salt and pepper at 425 degrees for an hour. When the beets are fork tender, remove from the oven and let them cool, then peel the skin off with your fingers. Then, cut the beets into bite-sized pieces. Pour the juice and olive oil from the foil packed over the beets. Toss with crumbled goat cheese and chopped, fresh basil.
Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw, one of the premier Masters in Law programs offered through Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.
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