Seasonally Fresh, Summer Confetti Salad

Every couple of weeks I host an “Open Garden” sale, out at our homestead.  It is a way for me to sell some of the surplus fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers from our gardens, give people a tour of our large food garden, and talk to them about sustainable farming practices, answering any questions they might have about starting or maintaining a garden of their own.  It’s usually a pretty small event, and I don’t make a whole lot of money from the sale, but I love getting to share the fruits of our labor with other people, and let them sample the amazing tastes of our fresh, homegrown, organic heirloom foods.

I often have a surplus of goodies leftover, for myself, after the sale, and I always want to use it up as quickly as possible, to take advantage of their freshness and so they do not spoil.

After this weekend’s sale, I had some leftover cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro, and I decided to use them all in a simple, one dish, light, summer salad.  It ended up being the perfect meal to end my long, busy day.

I kind of just threw this salad together, so I’m approximating on the ingredients.  Feel free to add more or less, to your own liking, and use whatever veggies you’ve got on hand to add to the salad and make it your own.

Summer Confetti Salad

Ingredients:

1 box whole wheat couscous (I think quinoa would make a great, gluten-free substitute – about 3 cups cooked)

2 cups raw almonds

2 cups corn kernels (frozen or canned is fine, if you don’t have fresh)

1 cup seeded, chopped cucumber

1 cup seeded, chopped zucchini

2 cups chopped tomato (I used quartered cherry tomatoes)

1 large bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (if you don’t like cilantro, you can substitute mint, or another fresh herb, like oregano)

1 jalapeno chili pepper, seeded

1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup lime juice

1 tbsp. honey

salt, pepper to taste

about 1 cup feta cheese crumbles (optional, and you can add whatever amount to your liking)

Assembly

Cook couscous according to package directions (I only use water and salt to cook it in), set aside.

Process almonds in a food processor until they are finely chopped.

Assemble dressing:  In a blender, combine jalapeno pepper, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, honey, 1/4 tsp. salt, and pepper.  Blend until pepper is nearly liquified.

Assemble salad:  In a large salad bowl, combine couscous, almonds, vegetables, and cilantro, toss with dressing, then fold in feta cheese crumbles (if using).  Add more salt and pepper, if needed.

This is a really, great salad.  I love using fresh, seasonal produce from my garden, and I also tend to be a “one-pot” type cooker, so this salad is really the ideal recipe, for a cook, like me!

It is light, yet filling, and the flavors all work really well together.  One note:  the dressing is barely detectable, which I like, but if you want it to be more pronounced, you may want to double the recipe, especially the jalapenos, if you want it to be more spicy.

It makes a perfectly fine, stand alone meal, but would also be a great tag-along side dish for a potluck.

So, if you’re looking for a nice, light, cool, summery meal, or a new dish to bring along to your next potluck, why not give this salad a try?  I’ll bet you won’t be disappointed!

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