It’s the first day of September. College football starts this week and Oktoberfest beers are already filling the shelves. Before you know it, we’re going to be pulling out our boots and scarves (even in South Florida’s 80 degree weather, believe me) and searching for pumpkin anything recipes. Why? Because we all love everything that is fall. I’m convinced that the only negative to the season is that the beginning of fall means that the sweet, slow days of summer must come to a close. Everyone quickly slips right back into the hustle of life as the days get shorter. So, before we’re fully in that autumnal rhythm, let’s pause to celebrate all of the beauty and adventure that the past few months have brought into our lives. Whether in Florida, Maine, Massachusetts or the Carolina’s – almost all of my favorite moments from this summer were spent around the table, sharing a meal or a glass of wine with people I adore.
One of the best parts of summer is the abundance of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Whether at the grocery store, farmers market, or your backyard there’s never a shortage of produce. A typical summer dinner in our home consists of grilled chicken with either an arugula salad or a side of roasted veggies.
Homemade basil pesto also finds its way into the rotation every couple of weeks and ends up on absolutely any and everything we can find from pasta and salads to chicken and fish. I think, though, that my favorite of all summer sides is the Summer Salad. I found a version of this salad in Shauna Niequist’s book, Savor, and knew right away that it would become a staple on our table. The version that I settled on is a bit different from Shauna’s in order to fit mine and Patrick’s tastes better. I strongly suggest you doing the same with my recipe – with any recipe, really – work with it and change it around until it fits you and your family best. Depending on what vegetables I can find at the time, I will sometimes add avocado or red onion to my Summer Salad. Grains, like barley or farro, can also make a nice addition, and then you have a complete meal – perfect for a light lunch!
If you are making it as a side dish, this recipe feeds around 6-8 people. When I make this for just Patrick and myself, we have leftovers for a few days. Luckily, this is the type of salad that just gets better with a little time! Also, I chose to keep my corn raw to add more texture and crunch, but feel free to cook it first if you prefer. To prepare Summer Salad, you simply chop up the vegetables of your choosing, combine with feta cheese, and top with Apple Cider Vinaigrette. So simple!
- 4 ears of corn, raw and cut from ears
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1/2 lb. grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup arugula
- 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 4 oz. feta, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
- Wash and prepare all produce accordingly.
- In a large bowl, combine corn, cucumber, tomatoes, arugula, chives and cilantro. Add crumbled feta and stir.
- Pour Apple Cider Vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine. Enjoy!
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (such as Bragg’s Organic)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a jar and shake!
Note: You won’t use all of the vinaigrette in the Summer Salad. I like to make extra to have around for salads throughout the week. Sitting on the counter, this will last easily for a week.
What’s in YOUR perfect Summer Salad? Leave a comment and let me know!