MEDITERRANEAN SUMMER SALAD

Believe it or not I don't have air conditioning in my house.  It broke several years back and because of the unique heating & air system I have it was crazy expensive to replace and sadly, it was beyond repair.  That first year in the hot summer sunshine I felt like a half-melted popsicle all summer long.  It was killer humid and crazy hot in my place but with every passing year I get more and more used to it.  I actually almost enjoy the heat now and seem to easily get by with just a few strategically placed fans.  What it means though is that when the temperatures soar the last thing I want to do is cook.  I look to make meals that don't require a stove or oven yet are still satisfying and easy to make.  This Mediterranean inspired summer salad is filled with good for you veggies, a healthy dose of protein and a zingy dressing.  If that doesn't entice you the fact that it takes less than 10 minutes to pull together and can be stored in the fridge for a day or 2 should.  The way I see it that just means more time to sit outside and enjoy the fresh summer breeze.  Me – 1, Heat – 0 … At least for now.

Here's what you'll need:

1 large package multi coloured cherry tomatoes – quartered

1 cucumber – sliced into quarters

1 can “no salt added” chickpeas –  drained

1 can whole artichoke hearts – drained and quartered

¼ jar roasted red peppers – drained and cut into small strips

1 lemon – Juice and zest

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup Olive Oil

8-10 fresh basil leaves – chopped

salt and pepper to taste

STAGE 1 

Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, artichoke hearts and peppers into a large bowl. In a small jar add the lemon juice and zest, white vinegar, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper.  Shake vigourously and add to your bowl.  Toss the salad to coat all the veggies then pile some onto a plate and enjoy! 

TIPS

                                   

The easiest way to chop the basil is to chiffonade it.  It's a French term meaning cut it into thin little strips.  So, take all your basil leaves, pile them up and roll them into a tight tube shape then run your knife through them on the perpendicular. You'll be left with a pile of thin little strips and now you can tell your pals your dressing contains a chiffonade of basil – Aren't we fancy?

 

If you wanted to up the protein you could easily add some crumbled feta cheese.  Don't eat dairy? No problem. You can just serve this on a bed of cold quinoa (that you already had cooked and left over in the fridge of course). 

 

When it comes to dressings I always go lighter on the oil and heavier on the acids using about a 50/50 ratio.  Yes, yes – I know, it's supposed to be 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil but I find that its far to oily for my liking that way and who needs all the extra calories.  Try it and see for yourself you likely won't even miss the extra oil.

This Delicious Mediterranean Salad creation is courtesy of Laurie Martel - No, I'm not a chef but I love cooking, baking, mixing cocktails and sharing my creations as a way to express myself