Summer Salad Days

  Colorful summer vegetable tian from the blog For the Love of Cooking.

It’s summer in Seattle. Our p-patch gardens are ripening and the farmers market stalls are crowded with the season’s bounty. During these months, my oven sits empty but my salad bowls are always full. I’d love to say my veggie-filled summer menus are purely motivated by health, but quite honestly, veggies and salads are a time saver when I get home from work. A quick plate of veggies and a wedge of cheese is a shortcut to getting back to playing catch in the back yard or chasing a sunset down at the beach.

Summer is short. Chasing sunsets is more fun than cooking dinner.

However, as we move from July into August, I often need a little jolt of inspiration to wake up my family’s vegetable-filled plates. Basil, tomatoes and zucchini everywhere I turn, but what the heck am I to do with it all? Here are some of my favorite resources.

101 Simple Salads for the Season. I’ve kept this link at the ready for five years. I enjoy Mark Bittman’s perspective that good, wholesome cooking and meal prep does not need to be time intensive. Sometimes it's as easy as carrots, blueberries and a handful of sunflower seeds.

Market Salad with Goat CheeseThis turns into my “everything but the kitchen sink” salad. Zucchini ribbons, too? Sure! Carrots and every spare green in my fridge? Ok.

Corn Salad with Basil and TomatoesIt isn’t summer without grilled corn. And lots of it.

Vegetable Tian. I stumbled upon this recipe from For the Love of Cooking while browsing on Pinterest. I make it often for my family, but it looks so pretty that it's my go-to side dish for summer parties, too.

Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad. Ok, ok, these aren’t necessarily summer veggies. Consider this a bonus salad idea. This is my favorite salad recipe I’ve discovered all year.

Do you have a favorite summer recipe to share? I'm on the lookout for the perfect berry crumble. If you have one, share it via Twitter (@aricard).