Easy Summer Salads

Cook once, eat all week.

My approach to summer cooking.

I’m so lazy in the summer. I love to cook but I really don’t want to spend hours and hours in the kitchen when I could be outside. Or fanning myself on the sofa drinking a lemonade that may or not have vodka in it. So when I am busy with either of those activities and someone living in my house screams “I’m hungry” I can point them to the fridge. I’ll spend a little time on Sunday boiling pasta and chopping fresh veggies and cheese. I just squeeze lemon juice, pour a little olive oil over the pasta, add fresh basil, salt and pepper, and toss. Then I have fresh mozzarella, olives, salami, pepperoni, grilled chicken, hard cheeses, cucumber, artichokes and tomatoes ready to toss in. Sometimes I toss together and store in a covered container to enjoy all week. If my children complain about all the stuff they hate in it , I’ll store the sides in separate smaller covered containers and everyone can choose what they want. Kind of like a covered salad bar in the fridge.

My daughter just wants the pasta and chicken. My son adds pepperoni and whatever cheese he sees first. I add everything. It lasts for a week. So easy. I always have different variations that includes feta, asparagus, green beans, grilled corn, whatever sounds good.

Another favorite in my house is 3-5 bean salad. I say 3-5 because I don’t know what I have in the pantry. If I have five then great! If not, then three it is and great! It’s such a perfect side dish to serve with grilled hamburgers, chicken or anything off the grill. I like it alone for lunch, too. It also lasts in the refrigerator for a full week. The dressing is easy to make and it’s delicious!

These are also easy and ideal to bring to a potluck or serve when guests come over. Isn’t it nice to have a go-to at the ready when you are entertaining in the summer. Spend time with friends not with your stovetop or oven!

Store in the refrigerator in a Pyrex covered container or any covered container for up to a week.

See below for my recipes. I’d love to know what you add to make it your own and especially if your kids love it.

Serve anytime in your favorite dish that makes you happy. These bowls from Anthropologie are my absolute favorites.

Pasta Salad:

  1. Any pasta. I like rotini veggie pasta and I use the whole box. Follow directions on the package.
  2. Drain the water and keep in a colander to cool.
  3. Combine the juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Dice a cucumber, tomato (I like to halve cherry tomatoes), zucchini, onion, whatever veggies you like.
  5. Coarsely chop any cheese such as feta, aged cheddar, fresh mozzarella, manchego, whatever you like!
  6. Add fresh basil leaves.
  7. Mix with the pasta and pour the lemon and oil over the salad. Toss to coat. Or just pour over the pasta and place the other ingredients in separate containers to add later.
  8. Store in the fridge up to a week and enjoy all week long.

Other variations:

I’ll add leftover grilled corn, sauteed green beans, avocado (add fresh to each serving each day or it will turn that yucky brown color) and serve with grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon or burgers. Balsamic vinaigrette is great with it, too.

Bean Salad – Any Variation Of:

1 can cut green beans

1 can red kidney beans

1 can wax beans

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can black beans

1 can northern beans or white beans

1 Vidalia onion or any type you love – shallots are good!

Green pepper, or red or yellow or none at all

Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar – any kind is fine but I prefer champagne or apple cider

1/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Drain and rinse the beans and put into a large serving bowl or large pyrex that has fitted lid. Add the onions, peppers, and stir gently to combine.

Mix the dressing ingredients well. Pour over the beans and stir well. Store in the refrigerator up to a week. When you take the salad out to serve, make sure to stir well to distribute the dressing.

So good! I hope you like it! If you add anything else, please comment and let me know. I’m always up for new ways to make favorite recipes!

2 thoughts on “Easy Summer Salads

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