• 64°

Cool off with these summery, fresh garden salads

It’s the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Kick back and cool off with these summer salad ideas. They are perfect for using fresh produce from your garden, local farmers’ market, Community Supported Agriculture share or grocery store.

Salad in a Jar

All you need is a Mason jar (the type used in canning) or some other type of large jar with a tight lid. Salads should maintain good quality in the refrigerator for four days.

The following are the steps for a basic salad. You don’t have to use all the ingredients; however, it is important to put the salad dressing on the bottom, followed with a layer of hard, moisture-resistant vegetables to protect the remaining layers from getting soggy.

Basic Ingredients and Directions for Salad in a Jar:

Place salad dressing in the bottom of the jar (about 2-3 tablespoons for a quart-sized salad; 1-2 tablespoons for pint-size jar). A vinaigrette-type dressing works well.

Top with a layer of hard, moisture-resistant vegetables (i.e. carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, radishes, and cauliflower, red and green pepper).

Follow with one or more of these protein foods: lentils, garbanzo beans or other beans (i.e. black beans, kidney beans, Great Northern Beans, red beans) and canned tuna. Meat, such as previously roasted chicken or ham, may taste best and keep better if added at the time of serving. (Note: Don’t keep previously cooked meat longer than four days if saving from a previous meal for adding at the time of serving your salad.)

Softer vegetables and fruits come next, such as corn, olives, grape tomatoes and dried fruit (i.e. raisins, cranberries, blueberries, cherries).

Nuts and seeds follow, for example almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds. Chunks of cheese also can be added at this time.

Add salad greens last. For the most nutrition, use dark green salad greens (i.e. romaine, spinach, leaf lettuce).

Top the jar with the lid and store in the refrigerator. Place salad jar in an insulated bag with a gel pack if carrying it to work. Use within four days for best quality.

Some people like to shake the jar to distribute the dressing and eat directly from the jar. Or, shake the salad into a large bowl. If shaking the salad from the jar doesn’t mix the salad with the dressing sufficiently, then gently toss with a fork until ingredients are coated.

Tuna and lettuce salad

No recipe is needed for this salad. Simply toss lettuce with your favorite salad dressing and such ingredients as sliced radishes, tomato sliced radishes, tomato wedges and cucumber slices. Top with a scoop of canned, drained tuna mixed with mayonnaise and a bit of chopped green onion or sweet onion. Fresh, chopped dill is another delicious addition to the tuna-mayonnaise mixture.

Tomato wedge salad

Slice a tomato into six or more wedges, leaving the bottom intact. Place on a bed of lettuce leaves. Top with a scoop of your favorite egg salad or tuna salad recipe.

Two-ingredient vinaigrette for salads

For a quick, simple salad dressing, add a splash of vinegar followed by a couple of splashes of extra virgin olive oil. Use a ratio of about one part vinegar (such as balsamic, sherry, red wine or fruit-flavored vinegar) to three parts olive oil. Eyeball it at about 1 teaspoon vinegar to 3 teaspoons olive oil per about 2 cups of salad. (Note: If desired, add a dash of salt at the beginning). Toss and enjoy!

The benefit of this easy recipe is you control the amount of ingredients plus you don’t have any of those aging bottles of salad dressing in your refrigerator that eventually get tossed! And — you don’t have to mix up a salad dressing in advance.

For more tips and recipes on cooking fresh vegetables and fruits as they come into season this summer, check the Cook It Quick blog at https://cookitquick.org.

Source: Alice Henneman, Extension Educator