End of Summer Salads!

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If you’re like me, you started a garden for the first time this year, and it was more successful than you ever could’ve imagined, and you also get a CSA, and now you’re like “what the hell do I do with all this?”

I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of salads. Must be something wrong with the types of salads I usually have. It feels like they’re always too dry, and it’s difficult to mix everything up. When Addie came over and announced she was going to make just salads for this post, I was not 100% on board. She assured me that I would learn some ways to use up a bunch of vegetables, notably tomatoes and cucumbers (guys, help me, I have TOO many cucumbers).

I need to give salad more credit. We all could probably use more veggies in our diet, and these are a terrific way to do so. They’re also super quick and easy. I’ll let Addie take it from here.


Macerated Tomato Salad

When I was growing up, I hated raw tomatoes. I was probably eating out of season tomatoes that had been kept in the fridge. I remember the first time I had heirloom tomatoes in peak summer, I almost felt embarrassed for being so proudly against tomatoes my whole life. They’re delicious! And treated properly, they’re like candy. This “recipe” is how I like to treat my large heirloom tomatoes. They’re too lovely to be turned into sauce, or baked (I still don’t care for baked tomatoes-too sour). The flavor is really more on the sweet side thanks to the copious amounts of balsamic vinegar, so it could be appealing for tomato lovers and haters alike.

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A note: This recipe is for tomatoes only without greens, but I often eat this served over arugula (which is abundantly in season right now and peppery and delicious!) or raw kale. If you’d like to serve over arugula, follow the recipe and top the arugula just before serving. The liquid that releases during the macerating will be the dressing. For kale, do a thin chiffonade and macerate the kale and the tomatoes in the same bowl together at the same time. SUMMER_SALADS-30

Ingredients

-Several large heirloom tomatoes (Brandywine are best, Valencia are great as well)
-A large handful basil
-1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
-Olive oil
-1/4 cup fresh feta
-1/4 cup raw, unsalted almonds

Method

Slice tomatoes into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Place in large bowl. Douse with balsamic vinegar-more than you think you need. About 1/2 cup for 3 large tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper and toss. Roughly chop basil and combine with the tomatoes. Let sit at room temperature to macerate for at least 10 minutes up to 30 minutes. Crumble the feta and chop the almonds to top the salad. Sop up remaining macerating liquid with bread or store in the fridge for salad dressing.

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Cucumber Salad

It’s the end of August and cucumbers have been exploding for some time. Every time I’ve gotten out to my garden, I have at least 10 I need to harvest. It feels irresponsible to use them in a recipe that doesn’t truly highlight them when you have so many. Creamy cucumber salads can be a little tricky to get right-if the cucumbers don’t release enough liquid before dressing, the whole salad ends up watery and flavorless. So with that in mind, I’ve been making a nice light vinegar based salad this summer and it’s such a perfect answer to the over abundance of cukes. Goes really well alongside grilled meats as a side dish.

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Ingredients

– 2 large cucumbers, half peeled
– 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (I like apple cider vinegar but red wine vinegar is more delicate if you choose)
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 teaspoon sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon red chili flake (or more, or less)
– 8 large basil leaves

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Method

Half peel two large cucumbers. Slice in half length-wise and chop 1/4 inch thick. Toss in a mixing bowl with vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add chili flake to taste. Chiffonade basil and and gently toss together, and serve immediately.

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Green Bean Niçoise Salad

Niçoise salads have many variations, but its fairly easy to spot one when you see one. Nobody really needs another Niçoise recipe, but here’s mine. This is the only salad that requires any actual cooking. It’s also the only one that could realistically be enjoyed as a main course, so it’s worth the minimal amount of effort. It’s hearty and satisfying for a salad, and all of the different briny elements make for an incredibly satisfying meal. I usually use greens as well, but I wanted to make the green beans the star. If I were making this earlier in the season, I would swap radishes for the Sungold tomatoes.

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Ingredients

– 1 1/2 cups Green beans
– 2 eggs
-1/4 cup olives (I use Kalamata olives simply based on personal preference)
– 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (such as Sungolds) halved
– 1/2 can canned tuna
– Dijon vinaigrette
– Microgreens (for garnish)

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Method

Hard boil two eggs. While eggs are cooking, prepare green beans by trimming the ends and then rinsing. If the beans are particularly long, slice in halves or thirds. Be sure to use beans that are a bit thinner, as opposed to more mature beans that can be a bit woody. Blanch the beans to take out some of the starch and set aside. Halve the cherry tomatoes and roughly chop the olives. Make Dijon vinaigrette by whisking together a tablespoon of dijon mustard, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Compose the salad by placing the green beans in a bowl, and arranging the tomatoes, olives, halved eggs, and half a can of tuna on top. I like Wild Planet tuna which comes a bit more steak-y and a little less shredded. Drizzle dressing over the salad and top with microgreens (I used radish microgreens).

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About the Author

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Hi! I'm a graphic designer, photographer and female person. I live in Minneapolis with my husband Alan and our baby son Alexander and baby cat Arya.

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