Summer Salads and Dressings

Summer is a time of heightened activity, longer days. It's also an opportunity to slow down, nourish ourselves, soak up the sun, and prepare for winter. The more we relax and reduce stress in the summer, the healthier we will remain during the colder months. Try these recipes to strengthen digestion and promote relaxation.

Lemon Garlic Dressing

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped dill.

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Red Wine Vinaigrette

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped basil.

Kohlrabi Potato Salad

Kohlrabi is extremely high in protein for a vegetable! It's a digestive aid as well. Enjoy it.

You will need:

  • 1 pound potatoes or any kind
  • ½ pound kohlrabi
  • ¼ cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped dill
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • one batch of lemon garlic salad dressing (see recipe above)

Steam or boil potatoes and kohlrabi in until tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain and place in a serving bowl. Toss with spinach, dill, mustard and salad dressing. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup sunflower seeds.

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Corn Salad

Please choose non-GMO corn whenever possible.

You will need:

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • 3 ears corn, husks and silks discarded, kernels sliced from cobs and reserved
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped

Whisk vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; set aside.

Bring a 2 quart saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook until bright green and tender, 1–2 minutes.

Drain and add to bowl along with remaining ingredients; toss to combine.

Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese.

Middle Eastern Feast

Dear friends of ours are getting married this fall. I have the honor of helping coordinate the wedding feast. Because the bride grew up in Jerusalem, they are choosing a Middle Eastern theme for dinner. 

Here are some recipes from the feast, which are perfect for cooling summer heat. They will tantalize your senses and get your creative juices flowing.

Tabbouleh

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups bulghur wheat*

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 3 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups minced scallions

  • 1 1/4 cups chopped fresh mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 cucumber, unpeeled and diced

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

*You can substitute cooked quinoa for a gluten-free version of this salad.

Place the bulghur in a large serving bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh marinates for a few hours.

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Watermelon Mint Feta Salad

You will need:

  • One 8 pound (approximately) watermelon

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 limes, juiced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 cup fresh chopped mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Chop the watermelon, remove the seeds, and place in a colander to drain.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, fresh lime juice, salt, and black pepper to create a dressing.

Place watermelon in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing and chopped mint over the watermelon and toss gently to coat. Crumble the feta over the top ans stir gently to incorporate all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Israeli Salad

This salad is delicious served with feta and olives or pita bread.

You will need:

  • 3 cups Roma tomatoes, diced (about 5 tomatoes)

  • 2 cups cucumbers, diced (about 2 cucumbers)

  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced (about 1 pepper)

  • 1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons green onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Toss together all ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

This salad's flavors improve when given a few hours to marinate. Prepare it mid-day to serve at dinner.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

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Salad Summer

Summer is a wonderful time to combine fresh ingredients and minimal cooking effort to create a delicious meal. Try these salad recipes to nourish and inspire you.

Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup walnuts

  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, chopped

  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 packed cups arugula

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then coarsely chop and set aside.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a colander to drain and cool. Set aside.

Return pan of water to a boil. Add green beans, and cook until tender and bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the colander with the potatoes.

Whisk together vinegar, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; season with pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Set dressing aside.

Arrange arugula, potatoes, and green beans on a platter. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted walnuts; toss to coat.

Parsley Cilantro Chickpea Salad

For the salad:

  • 2 cups cooked chick peas OR one 14 ounce can chickpeas. drained

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons each: salt, black pepper, allspice, cumin, and cardamon

  • 5 packed cups of salad greens

  • 2 cups cucumbers, diced (about 1 cucumber)

  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced (about 3 medium tomatoes)

  • 1/3 cup each of fresh cilantro and Italian parsley. chopped

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper

Cook and drain the chickpeas. If cooking dried chickpeas, soak them overnight and boil them in water for 2 hours until tender.

Place them in a skillet with olive oil, salt, pepper, allspice, cumin and cardamom. Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes. 

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and cilantro.

Wash and drain salad greens.

Remove chickpeas heat and place them in a serving bowl with all the other salad ingredients.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad, toss well, and refrigerate to marinate for at least 1 hour.

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Summer Meal: Quinoa, Grapefruit, Fennel, Avocado

Summer is here. Relax, enjoy cool, colorful meals, and take in the brilliance of the moon as it grows to fullness. This is the thunder moon, time of dramatic skies, electric lightning, and brilliant sunsets.

Enjoy these recipes and be well.

Quinoa Pilaf

You will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • ½ teaspoon each: salt, turmeric, and cinnamon

  • 1 cup fresh peas

  • 1 bunch spinach

  • 2 handfuls fresh basil, minced

  • 5 medium radishes, chopped

  • 1 bulk fennel, sliced

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon salt

Rinse, drain, and cook quinoa in 2 cups water with turmeric, cinnamon, and salt.

Add peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, chop / mince all other ingredients and mix together in a large bowl.

Add cooked quinoa, mix well to incorporate, and enjoy!

Coleslaw

You will need:

  • ½ head green or Napa cabbage, thinly sliced

  • 1 bunch fresh dill, minced

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, minced

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard

  • ¼ cup olive oil

Slice cabbage.

Mince the fresh herbs.

Place in a large bowl.

Wisk all other ingredients together. Pour them over the cabbage and herbs.

With a wooden spoon, bruise the cabbage until it becomes watery and all the juices from the sauce are incorporated.

Set aside in the refrigerator overnight for best results.

This dish is wonderful for a picnic along with hard-boiled egg salad and cornbread.

Beet and Grapefruit Salad

You will need:

  • 1 pound red and golden beets

  • Beet greens

  • 1 large grapefruit

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 ripe avocado

Chop and steam the beets.

Add beet greens on top during the last 5 minutes of steaming.

Meanwhile, peel and chop grapefruit and avocado.

Place in a large bowl with olive oil and salt.

Set aside.

Once the beets are soft enough to poke through with a fork, remove them from the heat, rinse under cold water, and place in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Toss well and enjoy immediately!

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Hazelnut Escarole Salad

For many indigenous cultures of this hemisphere, today's full moon is known as the wolf moon. The wolf honors its pack, its community, its loved ones. It also takes time alone to howl at the moon, hear its own voice, and reflect the importance of taking space to care for the self.

The wolf moon reminds me to find inner balance so that I can relate to others in a harmonious way.

Try these recipes to balance body, mind, and spirit. Prepare them mindfully. Spend time with the ingredients. Taste as you go. Mix and match them to create different meals.

Most of all, be well and take time to reflect on the splendor of your own inner harmony.

Hazelnut Escarole Salad

For the dressing, blend these ingredients in a food processor:

¼ cup roasted hazelnuts

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon raw honey

1 garlic clove, crushed

salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon each)

Then, mix all these ingredients together in a large bowl to assemble the salad:

1 head escarole, washed and steamed

1 green tart apple, thinly sliced

½ cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped

¼ cup sourdough bread croutons (optional)

Pour dressing over salad, toss well to coat, and serve with your favorite soup.

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Pear, Brussels Sprout, and Fig Salad

September is here, the full moon is just past, and everything in the garden is finding its peak ripeness.

Start reveling in the culinary delicacies of fall.

PEAR, BEET + FIG SALAD

You will need:

  • 2 pears, chopped

  • 2 cups Brussels sproouts

  • 6 fresh figs (or 3 dried figs), cut into small pieces

  • 1/4 cup organic hazelnuts or almonds, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons of your best olive oil

  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse Brussels sprouts, chop in half, and toss with salt and olive oil. Arrange on a cookie sheet so that they are not touching. Roast for 20 minutes.

Place in a large serving bowl.

Chop pears and figs.

Add them to the sprouts and mix gently.

Add figs and nuts, toss with olive, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

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Gut Healing Salad

As September makes itself known and we prepare for the wonderful and melancholy decay of autumn, we can make double batches of bright, fresh, colorful dishes and set some aside for the colder months.

Do this with any dish by freezing half of it.

I just did so with quinoa cakes.

Alternately, you can also prepare a vegetable-rich shredded salad and lacto-ferment half of it by placing it in a mason jar and covering it with saltwater brine.

LACTO-FERMENTED SALAD

You will need:

  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped

  • 2 cups Napa or Savoy cabbage, shredded

  • 2 carrots, shredded

  • 1 inch daikon radish, shredded

  • 3 large stalks celery, thinly sliced

Double these quantities and set half aside for fermenting.

I like to use the shredding blades on my food processor to make quick shredded vegetables.

Then, toss with the dressing below and serve over cooked quinoa as a hearty lunch.

For the dressing:

  • 3 teaspoons sunflower or olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

  • one generous handful cilantro, chopped

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I like walnuts or almonds)

To ferment the vegetables above, just stuff them into a quart-sized mason jar.

Fill another mason jar with 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons salt.

Pour over vegetables and mash down with a wooden spoon continuously until the veggies generate enough juice to cover themselves.

You can step away from pounding and tend to other tasks in the kitchen, too.

Cover with a cloth and press down once a day for a week.

Then, refrigerate and save for up to 2 months.

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Salad Dinner

Summer is the time to enjoy creative combinations of fruits and vegetables with tangy dressings.

Try these for your next dinner party, picnic, or potluck.

PEACHY GREEN BEAN SALAD

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper1 pound ripe peaches, sliced

  • 1 handful lemon balm,  finely chopped

  • 2 pounds green beans, ends snipped

  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped

Whisk oil vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Slice, pit and add peaches. Mix well and set aside.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil.

Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. 

Add to peach mixture. Toss to combine.

Add almonds, toss one more time, and serve!

GET CREATIVE: Enjoy with white bean, garlic and parsley salad.

TOMATO SWEET POTATO SALAD

You will need:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, chopped into cubes

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander and salt

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced

  • 2 handfuls cilantro, chopped

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon raw honey

  • 3 small tomatoes, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet with oil, coriander and salt.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Whisk ginger, cilantro, lime and honey in a large bowl. 

Add potatoes and tomatoes.

Toss to combine and serve warm.

GET CREATIVE: Sprinkle goat cheese over the top. Roll the salad into wraps and slice length-wise into bite-sized pieces.

LENTIL BEET SALAD

You will need:

  • 1 pound red and /or golden beets, chopped

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups indigo or green lentils, soaked for 3 or 4 hours

  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 red apple, chopped into cubes

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place beets on a baking sheet with oil and salt.

Roast for 1 hour or until fork-tender.

Bring soaked lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, about 45 minutes. 

Drain, discarding liquid, and rinse through a fine-mesh colander.

Place in a large bowl and toss with mustard, oil, vinegar, apple, honey and garlic.

Add beets, toss once more, and enjoy!

GET CREATIVE: puree the whole salad and shape it into burgers. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes on each side and enjoy with green salad and toasted sourdough bread drizzled with olive oil.

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DIY Kombucha

Summer can cause water retention and bloating. It's hot and our bodies need extra water to thrive. Since the digestive system is where we usually feel the impacts of bloating first, it's the best place to start addressing these issues. Digestive health is central to our overall wellness, governing nutrition, cleansing, immunity, neurological health, and much more.

To reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, emphasize a diet rich in vegetables and small amounts of fruits. Recommendations include: celery, dandelion greens, parsley, cilantro, basil, arugula, cucumber, melon, zucchini, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, avocado, broccoli sprouts, peas, sweet potato, and squash.

Probiotic bacteria can provide additional support against bloating and inflammation in the digestive tract. These friendly microbes work to reduce expression of inflammatory genes and cell signals and reduce gas, bloating, and discomfort as they improve nutrient absorption—among other critical actions. Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi provide excellent sources of probiotics. Lacto-fermented drinks such as kefir, kombucha and rice milk made with koji cultures can help, too.

Thanks to Rodale for this inspiration!

Try this kombucha recipe to strengthen summer digestion.

Kombucha

Kombucha consists of yeasts and acetic bacteria living symbiotically. It is a living culture that looks like a jelly fish or placenta pancake in a jar. It is a lightly fermented tea dating back to ancient China, which provides an excellent tonic for immunity and strengthening digestion.

Click this link for a recipe to make your own!

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