Refreshing Summer Salads

– guest blogger, Jeannette Northern

They’re saying it’s been unseasonably cold here in the bay area these past two weeks, and I agree. There’s a misty fog looming in my backyard! Even still, I feel the late summer season in the air, where family picnics and barbeques with friends are typical weekend respites for so many of us. It’s easy to get into the groove of grilled meat and potato salad for events like these, but I can assure you there are ways to bring tasty, travel-friendly veggies to your next picnic or party. Whether your weekend gathering is inside or outside, here’s a couple of healthy delicious salads to complement any meal.

Avocado, Arugula and Corn Salad – serves 4avocado arugula and corn salad 003

Salad Ingredients:
  •  1 large avocado cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 1 – 2 cups baby arugula
  • 2 cups organic frozen corn (thawed)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk dressing and toss with salad ingredients. Chill in the

refrigerator for up to an hour for the flavors to mix. After tasting this salad, I thought it would also be delicious to add some cooked shrimp or a white fish ceviche.

avocado arugula and corn salad 005

This salad is not only colorful but packed with nutrition! Arugula is full of phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals that all add to your body’s good health. Specifically, arugula is an excellent source of vitamin A, like kale, and vitamin K. Vitamin A protects the skin and lungs while vitamin K helps keep your bones strong and helps your immune system respond properly to cuts and bruises.

Fruit and Feta Spinach Salad – serves 6 spinach salad 010

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 Asian pear, sliced and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup of sliced strawberries

    spinach salad 005

  • 3 – 4 figs cut and quartered
    spinach salad 006
  • 1 avocado sliced and cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled
Whisk together dressing ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

Slowly add salad dressing and toss to mix ingredients. After serving this salad, I later added some fresh blueberries and found it even more tasty. I think you can get really creative with this kind of salad. I used Asian pears and figs which are in season now, but try different fruits as the year progresses! In winter, you could use apples, pears or citrus fruits, like mandarins. I’m really loving adding fruit to my salads! I find that it curbs my sweet tooth, which is great for helping me either skip or minimize dessert later.

spinach salad 011This salad is delicious and jam-packed with nutrients! Spinach, strawberries and figs are all full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.   Spinach, like arugula and kale, is another excellent source of vitamin K to keep your bones strong and healthy.  Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. Figs are a good source of potassium and have lots of fiber. Potassium is integral to heart health and controlling blood pressure.

Once this cold spell passes and the summer weather returns to warm our skin, try one of these refreshing salads to cool you from the inside out. I’m sure it won’t be long. It’s August after all!

August 8 2013 004

the best view there is from my house in the Berkeley hills

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