Top 5 Summer Salads

I really appreciate when healthy food bloggers are honest about when they’re not eating healthy. My favorite food bloggers have spent the last week preaching forgivness for unhealthy slip-ups during 4th of July celebrations. They’re all about enjoying yourself and then getting back on track with seasonal and local meals. Well I’ll join them in coming clean. For example, last night Shane and I were at our new favorite spot— Richmond Republic Draught House, on Clement and 8th. For Shane that means local micro IPAs on tap, and for me that means cider or mead… and garlic fries! (still a gluten-free meal for me, incidentally)

So this morning I woke up feeling all the sugar I took in. My normal meals consist of meats, greens, and veggies, so the mountain of french fries (nom nom) washed down with sugary drinks was a carb overload for me. Today is my orientation class for my yoga teacher training program, so it’s perfect timing for a cleanse of body and spirit!

As I brainstormed healthy meals to counterbalance yesterday evening’s indulgence, the summer’s natural bounty took the spotlight. Having eaten all of these fresh salads over the past few weeks, I can definitely congratulate myself on not eating garlic fries on the reg. Here are my top summer salad recommendations, ordered from most simple to most complex:

1. Meyer Lemon over Fennel and Carrot

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– Meyer lemon juice
– fennel
– carrots
– simple greens
– EVOO
– sea salt
– cracked black pepper

There’s nothing like some refreshing and energizing Meyer lemon juice to kickstart your recommitment to healthy eating! Everything pictured here comes from the outdoor Sunday farmers’ market on Divisadero in San Francisco. Everything pictured is organic and local. From my understanding, the farthest farm is about 50 miles away. If you haven’t been to this farmers’ market, or any farmers’ market for that matter, I highly recommend it. I acknowlege that you will pay much more for produce than you would in a supermarket, but I’ve never regretted it— handing money directly to the person who planted, cultivated, and harvested the plants feels so good. There is a lot of trust and relationship-building involved. I trust the farmers not to use pesticides, and they tell the customers to our faces that the food is clean. I love it!

2. Arugula Salami salad

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– arugula
– hard salami slices
– kalamata olives
– goat cheese crumbles
– EVOO
– balsamic vinegar
– cracked black pepper

Clean eating purists would certainly avoid this salad, but we all have to indulge every once in a while. Sure salami is not great, since it’s über-processed, and a lot of people, myself included, avoid dairy, but word on the street is that goat cheese is easier to digest than cheese from cow’s milk. Please leave in comments if you know more info about this.

I’ve never been to Italy or Greece, but something about this salad provokes a Mediterranean feel. I suppose I have been to the Mediterranean (Valencia, Spain), but I didn’t eat a salad like this. Maybe the Mediterranean vibe is coming from the olives. This is definitely a salty salad and can stand alone on its own as a meal… or pair it with a glass of pinot noir as an appetizer!

3. Straight-from-the-Garden salad

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– fresh garden greens
– Jersey tomatoes
– avocado
– kalamata olives
– artichoke
– leftover pesto
– EVOO
– gluten-free balsamic glaze
– cracked black pepper

Obviously this one is all about pure ingredients. I’m not saying you have to have a garden… you have to have a friendly neighbor who has a garden! I spent the last month in New Jersey visiting family and participating in a two-week teacher development course with Columbia. Love killing two birds with one stone! Well, my grandfather’s neighbor is out of town for pretty much the whole summer and had advised my family to take whatever we wanted from the garden, lest everything should go to waste. Don’t have to tell us twice! We had a beautiful harvest, and this salad was on our plates within moments after harvesting! Have your fork and knife ready for the massive thick tomato slices!

4. Arugula Pesto salad

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– arugula
pesto
– avocado
– hearts of palm
– goat cheese crumbles

I briefly mentioned pesto in the last recipe, and a dairy-free homemade spinach pesto is at the heart of this recipe. Other than some of the tedium involved with making the pesto, it’s really a simple salad. I garnished with a few hearts of palm and some goat cheese crumbles.

5. Shrimp Fra Diavolo salad

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This salad surprisingly is not as complicated as it looks.

Combine the following in a large pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 30 mins:

– 28 oz can Trader Joe’s organic tomatoes
– 15 oz can Trader Joe’s organic tomato sauce
– generous handful of fresh basil leaves
– 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
– generous shakes of red pepper flakes
– sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

With about 7 minutes left, add in:

– Trader Joe’s bag of frozen shrimp

Serve atop:
– arugula
– artichoke
– avocado
– hearts of palm
– Kalamata olives
– EVOO
– balsamic vinegar
– sea salt
– cracked black pepper

There will be lots of shrimp fra diavolo sauce left over to serve over gluten-free pasta or brown rice!

Have fun with your healthy summer salads! Let me know what salads you like to make in the summer. It just occurred to me that I really like arugula. : )

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