Tag Archives: summer salad

Quinoa Salad

It’s the end of July – when did that happen?! I love summer – aside from the great weather, there is always something going on. Lately it’s been weddings, but when we’re not celebrating nuptials with our friends, there are boat rides, beach trips, and barbeques to keep us occupied. Therein lies the rub: with so many things going on, it can be hard to find time to reset. We pretty much put aside most projects at the house, and I also find that I cook a lot less. It makes me sad that I’m less adventurous in the kitchen during the warmer months, but it also forces me to find easy and light dishes that will keep me going through the summer madness.

After pinning about 3,000,000 recipes for a quinoa salad on Pinterest, I ended up making one up using the fresh vegetables I picked up at the market and what I had in the pantry. You could put most vegetables in here and it would be good, no matter what. I threw together a lime-cumin dressing, similar to the one I made for the corn and black bean salad, and it was all pretty painless.

Quinoa salad with summery vegetables

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. of lime juice
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine chopped vegetables, cilantro, and quinoa in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well, using salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, mix well, and serve.

If serving this as a side, it makes quite a bit – the leftovers stayed really well in the fridge. Happy summer!

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Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad

If you are looking for the perfect summer salad, look no further. This tasty Chicken and Lemon Summer Salad is a gem – it’s crisp and refreshing, great to bring to a BBQ, and won’t leave you with the remorse of having indulged in one too many hot dogs.

Preparing this dish is a lot of fun – the zesty yellow lemons, bright and cheerful peppers, and aromatic cilantro all scream summer. Not to mention, all those fresh ingredients make the kitchen smell great without having to even turn on the stove!

I found the original recipe in a cookbook I picked up called Cooking Light Chicken Tonight! and I didn’t change much except added more cilantro (seriously, I’m obsessed) and included orange peppers to the vegetable mix. Helpful hint: to yield more juice from the lemons, microwave them for 30 seconds before juicing.

Chicken and Lemon Salad

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Cooking spray

Salad:

  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup each: red, yellow, orange bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. To prepare chicken, combine the first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag, and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  2. Prepare grill.
  3. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Cool completely; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  4. To prepare salad, cook peas in boiling water 30 seconds. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Drain. Combine peas and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken, tossing to combine.
  5. Place 1 3/4 cups chicken salad on each of 4 plates. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
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A delicious dish for summer fun – black bean and corn salad!

Summer is always full of fun activities – this year we started off the season with a relaxing weekend on Lake Cobboseecontee in Maine. It’s such a calm and refreshing lake – with only a few boats going by here and there, it reminded me what quiet sounds like:

Ahh… peace and quiet!

Aside from spending time playing around the lake with family, I got in a nice long run on Saturday morning and started reading Catch-22, a book I feel a bit guilty about never having read as an English major. I didn’t bring a laptop and had very little cell service, so I wasn’t tempted to check in on work or obsessively play Words with Friends. Note to self: unplug more often!

No weekend away is complete without good food. One of the many (delicious) dishes we had during our stay was a very simple black bean and corn salad, put together by White Flour Catering out of Augusta. It was just the perfect light, citrus-y dish for a summer evening. I knew I needed to have the recipe, so I asked for the basics and then made a few adjustments of my own once I started putting it all together.

This didn’t take long to prepare and chances are, you have most of the ingredients at home already. I know cilantro is one of those ingredients that people either really love or really hate, so feel free to leave it out if it’s not your cup of tea.   

Black bean and corn salad, with just the right amount of cilantro!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans corn, drained
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Chill until ready to serve.

See… I told you it was easy! You can have it made and ready to go in just about 20 minutes, making this the perfect dish to take on summertime beach or boat adventures.

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