Here we are again. The dog days of summer. The time of year when the sun is just beating down, your body is tired of being hot, and everything just looks exhausted and melty. And yet…
We still have some of the best produce around. Fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and corn abound. Berries and peaches are still comin’ in hot. Watermelons are still sweet and plentiful, just waiting for backyard gatherings or, my favorite, the standing over the sink snack. As much as I’m starting to feel my the desire for fall to creep in, I don’t want to lose sight of just how much I love looking at my tiered server and refrigerator crisper drawers just overflowing with a rainbow of perfect fruits and veggies. Not to get too sappy about it, but it’s been a rough year and a half and it looks like we’re heading for more. I don’t want to forget all the lessons in gratitude and finding small joy I’ve learned.
I know I’m repeating myself, but one of my favorite things about salads is just how flexible they are. As always, the ingredients and amounts below are guidelines. Feel free to substitute according to preferences, what’s freshest, and what you need to use up before it goes bad. The original recipe for this salad calls for farro. I love farro, but I’ve had a half bag of quinoa in my pantry for several months, so I decided to use that up instead of buying farro. Peaches don’t look great? How about nectarines or even plums or mangoes instead? Not a fan of feta? Use goat cheese or your fave vegan sub. Pecans aren’t your fave? No biggie. Throw in almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or even a little granola for crunch.
No matter what you end up adding to this truly outstanding celebration of summer’s best, just promise you’ll make this one before it’s too late.
Celebrate the best of summer with a light, healthy, nourishing, and easily adaptable summer quinoa salad.
Summer Quinoa Salad
slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 TBSP champagne or white balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 c. cooked quinoa or grain of your choice (farro,
- 2 c. greens of your choice (spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.)
- 2 large peaches, pitted and sliced
- 1 1/2 c. blueberries
- 1 1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 1/2 c. sweet corn kernels, frozen and thawed or from 2 small ears
- 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 c. toasted, chopped pecans
- 3 TBSP chopped basil
- Make the dressing by adding the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, and shallot in a tightly-dealed jar. Shake to combine. Alternately, place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the salad by arranging all components as desired in one large bowl or four individual bowls.
- To serve the salad all at once, drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. To insure prime leftovers (hello school/work day lunches!), arrange salad components in four separate containers and add dressing when it’s time to eat.
yield: 4 servings