Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Salad // Four Ways

I found a new favorite lunch staple this summer:

{Please excuse the lighting in this photo - my kitchen is not the best photography studio... ;-) }

This simple salad is crisp, cool and refreshing - perfect for summer! It is easy to make, healthy, yummy and can be tweaked to create a variety of meals. I counted four ways that I like to eat it, but maybe you'll find more!

Summer Bean Salad 
Black Beans
Red Onions
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

1. Cook and chill your chickpeas and black beans. (I like to cook these in bulk using my crockpot. Then I freeze them in ziploc bags and thaw whatever I need for my recipes throughout the month.)
2. Chop tomatoes, cucumber and red onions. (Sometimes I leave the onion out, and it is still tasty!)
3. Combine everything in a bowl.
4. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar and sprinkle in your herbs.
5. There are no measurements on purpose -- do everything based on your taste! However, for small portions you may only need a couple of teaspoons of the oil & vinegar. Larger portions may require a couple tablespoons. Start with a little and add more if needed.

Four ways to enjoy...

Simple Bean
Eat it as it is! If I keep it simple, I usually enjoy it as a side dish to a burger or grilled meat. It is also filling enough to make a meal out of it.

Bed of Greens
Keep it simple on a bed of greens. This adds more vitamins, more flavor and texture. And with the oil & vinegar already on the beans, you have a tasty green salad without nasty bottled dressings.

Southwest Chicken
Sometimes I like to add some corn, saute chicken with cayenne pepper and set it all on some greens for a southwest kick. Tortilla chips and sour cream will also join the party on occasion.

Greek Pita
This is probably my favorite way to enjoy the salad. I add some feta cheese (if I have it), scoop some salad into a pita pocket, add a few greens, top with Greek yogurt -- YUM!!

How would you serve this summer salad?