Recently, I took a little road trip up to Toronto to see my dearest friend Lana. I spent a few days with her, her partner Nathaniel, and eleven-teen healthy and delicious summer salads. During my visit, the temperatures soared to near-record heights and the humidity drenched us daily. Without air conditioning, we sought refuge in cool wading pools, shady parks and in chilled piles of veggies mixed with herbs and spices.
Although I didn't photograph all the foods we ate over the weekend, I did snap some shots of this quad-salad dinner we had one night when we dined al fresco in their garden. With four distinctly different salads, I had no trouble scarfing down a huge plate, even though the heat was definitely putting a damper on my appetite.
The real kicker? I didn't make these salads. They were prepared on the fly by Nathaniel, with some prep assistance from Lana, and I stayed out of the kitchen for once. Yes, it felt weird. But I'm glad I did it and Nathaniel's dishes were amazing.
Clockwise from upper left:
Tabouleh salad made with quinoa, heirloom tomatoes, parsley, and chopped chickpeas. This salad is an updates twist on the classic bulgur tabouleh and the variety of textures really adds to the appeal. This type of salad would make a fantastic stuffing for breakfast burritos, especially when paired with tofu scramble. And talk about your protein power pack. Just sayin'.
Potato salad made with new potatoes, sweet corn and red bell pepper. The pepper is a welcome surprise that lends a bright acid tone to an otherwise dense salad. This was also my favorite the day after, when the flavors had melded together even further.
Chunky Southwestern salad stars chickpeas, black beans and sweet corn. It gets a little heat from chipotle peppers, a little creaminess from avocado chunks, and some crunch from raw sunflower seeds. Lime juice is an obvious must to complete the dish (and I believe there is no such thing as too much lime juice in one's life).
Green apple, walnut and parsley salad is simply cool and refreshing. My friends aren't vegan and they topped it with salty feta. I didn't miss the salty element and enjoyed the combination of sweet and nutty flavors. Apple and walnut might be a classic pairing, but this salad is anything but boring and traditional.
Next time you're looking for a lazy summer dinner or side dish, think about one of these light-yet-filling healthy salads. If you believe all salads must have leaves, serve any of these dishes on a bed of chopped romaine hearts or mixed baby greens.
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