The sultry summer heat is becoming unbearable for me in the kitchen. This is the time of year that I prepare no-cook or barely cooked meals for myself. I create copious amounts of salads, just running wild with whatever fresh produce I come across, chilled soups, crevettes, tartars and pates. No stews or heavy meals for me or else I would just crawl into bed suffering from "ethnic fatigue". Fruits are in abundance, so I'm eating a lot of that too and find it quite filling and delicious.
Many of you have been writing to me about summer dishes. Today I am going to share with you salads (non lettuce-based) that can be a part of lunch or dinner meals. People always believe that a salad must contain lettuce, but this is not necessarily so. Salads can consist of almost any vegetable, beans, legumes, fruit, seeds, cheeses and whole grains, even stale bread, such as the Italian panzanella salad which is delicious.
Today I am using canned beans, the humble carrot, the underutilised beetroot and the versatile egg to show you different ways of preparing these vegetables. I find that people here almost always prepare the gorgeous bounty we are blessed with in the same old mundane ways. Remember the reason I began this column in the first place three years ago was to show the home cook ways in which to be creative with everyday produce.
These side salads can be used for your Sunday brunches, barbecues or family picnics as we take pleasure indulging in summer activities. The bean salad is ideal for vegetarians or for those following a meatless Monday diet. The carrot salad can be a starter for a Lebanese or Moroccan dinner; the beetroot can be served with a fish platter or with marinated olives as part of a non- traditional tapas meal. Please enjoy and get creative with your vegetables.
Beetroot with Scotch Bonnet and Mint
You know I have a thing for the humble beetroot. The brilliant purple hue is filled with nutrient goodness.
6 Beetroots, precooked
1/2 Scotch Bonnet, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 Tbsps Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Mint Leaves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsps Olive Oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Slice beetroot and place in a bowl
Season generously with salt and pepper, add vinegar and oil
Toss together and chill for at least an hour.
Mix in mint and serve
Carrots are cheap and plentiful throughout the year. Their natural sweetness lends to spice.
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cumin
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Mixture of chopped parsley and cilantro to garnish
Boil carrots in salted water until tender, drain and cool down
In a bowl add cumin, garlic, oil, vinegar, whisk together then add carrots and mix well.
Chill for at least an hour before serving.
Mixed Bean and Red Onion Salad
Canned beans are pantry staples and can lend themselves to any dish or by themselves. I love mixing them for a quick salad rich in protein.
1 can chickpeas
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can red kidney beans
1 can butter beans
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 2 limes
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper to taste
Drain and rinse all cans of their contents and add to a bowl.
Add the sliced onions.
Whisk together lime juice and olive oil and pour on beans and season with black pepper and some salt if you wish (but beans tend to be salty already)
Jewish Chopped Egg Salad
Serve this simple salad with crackers or bagels
10 eggs, boiled
6 escallion stalks finely chopped
4 tbsp low or reduced Fat Mayonnaise
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop the boiled eggs and add to a bowl.
Add escallion, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard and mix well.
Chill before serving.
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Thanks very much Megamart!