Summer is the season for keeping things simple -- and that definitely includes meals. Salads are the perfect answer when times call for a simple, light meal choice. You can store salads in the refrigerator until you need them, serve them cold, grab them when headed out for a picnic -- and a salad requires little if any cooking, thus eliminating the need for a hot stove on an already warm day. There's no doubt about it -- salads are summer-friendly fare.
Conjuring up a salad is also a fun way to express your creativity -- you can change ingredients to fit the produce from your own garden or your favorite farmer's market. The array of fresh produce is at its peak in the summer, and prices are low for seasonal offerings. The trend of organic gardening and cooking -- and saving with home-cooked meals -- has produced an abundance of farmer's markets and neighborhood gardeners, so you shouldn't be at a loss when it comes to finding good salad ingredients nearby.
No other meal component is as versatile, either -- with salads easily serving as either main dishes or side dishes, depending on your preference. Healthy, flavor-filled and colorful salads add interest to your table and menu. Let's off with some salads that take full advantage of fresh produce:
Avocado Strawberry Salad
Avocado, like its friend the tomato, is both a fruit and a vegetable. This allows it to pair well with all manner of both. Crunchy and soft, sweet and tart, every bite of this colorful vegetable/fruit salad is delightfully surprising.
Roasted Potato and Cucumber Salad
Many of us love to grow cucumbers, but are at a loss when they start popping up! Here's a tasty mix of cucumber and another summer favorite--red potatoes.
Make it a Meal
With the addition of pasta or grains you can turn your salad into a main dish:
Italian Fish and Pasta Salad
Protein and pasta combine in this flavorful mix which can be served outdoors with corn on the cob for a grand summer meal.
Curried Asian Salad
A little heat from curry--when it's in a salad-- can be just the thing to spice up a summer night!
Baked Orange Ginger Squash
As summer moves into fall, the squash appear--use them for this easy yet filling dish. It can be a meal in itself, or an accompaniment for something more substantial.
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