I wanted to entitle this “Clean out Your Fridge” dinner, but my husband didn’t think that was very appealing. However, it’s not too far off. This simple summer dish can be a side serving, or a full meal, depending on what ingredients you decide to include.
A version of this recipe was recently posted from Veronica on Instagram @baconliciousmademedoit, so I cannot take complete credit for its development.
It is as easy as this. Start with something from the following list.
A Grain (or Seed)
You can use rice (brown, wild, white), quinoa (which is really a seed), farro, barley or buckwheat. I chose this farro because I like the texture and nutty flavor and it’s a great source of fiber. In following the directions on the back of the package, 1 cup of rinsed farro and 2 quarts of boiling water=4 servings.
Summer squash and zucchini are abundant in my refrigerator, so I sautéed them in olive oil and then seasoned them with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Diced into bitesize pieces, they are a nice addition to the meal.
You can add cooked or uncooked vegetables~cucumbers, tomatoes, really any vegetable that you have or love. They add texture and flavor. For this recipe, I used 1 1/2 summer squash and 1 1/2 zucchini.
We have SO many cans of black beans that were purchased from Costco at the beginning of COVID when we were all in our hunkering down mode. You can also use chickpeas instead.
Unless you have a nut allergy, feel free to add walnuts or a nut of your choice. We always have a bag of pistachios in the freezer as they make a healthy snack too. These roasted and salted pistachios are perfect for this recipe.
Fruit~ Fresh or Dried or both
Honeycrisp apples are a staple in our home and we add them to everything~from tunafish salad to thin slices on toast and almond butter. So it is a natural choice to chop up some fresh apples into this dish. For a different texture, I also added dried cranberries (dried cherries would be great too).
You can see all the different textures and flavors coming together!
I added shredded grilled chicken (2 boneless breasts) to this recipe. You don’t have to as it is great without it, but for a main course, the protein seemed like a good idea. You can omit the meat protein if you prefer a vegetarian dish.
Basil is growing quite well in the garden despite this intense heat so that is the only herb I added. But maybe even a little fresh mint might be interesting?
Here are the ingredients for a homemade dressing that is delicious over this recipe.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice from 2-3 lemon or lime wedges
Or you can use a favorite dressing that you have. We love Marston’s San Pasqual Salad Dressing which would also work very well too. The good news is that you can now find this on Amazon here. It’s a little on the pricey side ($29.00), but this is a staple in our refrigerator as it is delicious on many things. The dressing is from the famous Marsten restaurant in Valencia, California.
This chilled dish/salad is so hearty and delicious. It was even better the next day! So nice to make a big bowl of it and then everyone helped themselves as the day went on.
And it is nice not to have to stick to a recipe and jazz it up according to your own tastes and whatever is in your refrigerator.
When it’s over 100 degrees here it is so hard to turn on the oven. It’s even more difficult to want to go outside and grill. But having a healthy, filling dish ready to go in the refrigerator is perfect for the summer. For another favorite summer salad recipe, click here.
This with a huge slice of watermelon makes for a delicious weekday meal.
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