What is your favorite summer salad?
It is undeniable that salads are the ultimate summer meal. But not all of them are created equal. Some of them, for example, are made with roasted vegetables. I’m particularly fond of this kind of salad, as I love the charred taste and look of veggies after they’ve spent a long time in the oven. However, the last thing I want when it already feels like a sauna outside is to turn the oven on in my apartment, making it even hotter. You should also keep in mind that roasted vegetables absorb the heat in which they are cooked, making them more warming when you eat them, rather than cooling. Eating them once in a while is fine, and a delicious treat, but not something I would recommend on a regular basis during the summer.
Another thing to consider is that in the summer, our bodies get easily dehydrated because we sweat more than usual. We also feel very hot and want to cool down to feel comfortable and energized during our daily activities. What our bodies need during this time of year are naturally cooling foods that are also packed with water.
So to answer my own question, I don’t have one salad in particular that I favor above the rest during the hottest season of the year, but I do keep two factors in mind when preparing my own:
- I try to use mostly raw ingredients.
- I try to use mostly seasonal ingredients.
One salad that exhibits these two qualities to perfection is the famous Greek Salad. Now that I have a better understanding of how our bodies work and how the food we put into them affects them, it makes all the sense in the world that Greek people have been eating this salad by the Mediterranean Sea for so long. Those Greeks have always been so wise! I can think of very few dishes that do such a good job as this salad at making us feel healthy, vibrant, and replenished during the summer.
Its basic ingredients are tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, sometimes peppers, olives, and oil. In this recipe I have also included some seasonal herbs like parsley and mint, and give you the option to add an extra layer of taste and “cooling factor” by mixing in some watermelon cubes.
I love this salad not only because of its amazing taste, how easy it is to make, and how good it makes you feel, but also because it’s easy to put in a container and bring along with you wherever you go, whether it’s your desk at work, a picnic in the park, or a rooftop BBQ. You can even avoid having to use plates and cutlery if you use the lettuce leaves as dishes, or make salad wraps with them.
My only recommendation when making this salad is that you try buying organic cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers whenever possible, as they are heavily sprayed with pesticides when grown through conventional agriculture. Other than this, just have fun making it, and enjoy it with your family and friends as often as you want.
- 1 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced with a mandolin
- 1 teaspoon ginger root, finely chopped
- 7 oz / 200 g package feta cheese
- 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
- ?? feta cheese, cubed
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves
- 2 cups cubed watermelon (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 heart romaine lettuce
- Toss all the ingredients (except the lettuce) in a bowl.
- Place the lettuce leaves on plates and serve the salad over them.