It’s kind of already summer y’all. When did that happen? Without the north star of final exams to guide my seasonal map, I am a ship lost at sea. The weather up here doesn’t help – at this time of year in Alabama, I would already be in shorts and sandals. Nevertheless, the glorious season is here. Summer is the due north to my compass, and after a stormy year sailing through foreign waters, I have arrived!
The city is alive with open air markets, craft fairs, and food festivals; and green is once again the reigning color. I took my lunch break on a little bench in Washington Square last week, and the sunshine was the perfect complement to my fresh strawberries. There is so much beautiful produce out right now. In the summer, I crave salads and smoothies like chocolate – and that is a very good thing. There are just so many possibilities, so many vibrant colors! Now is the time to get creative, use your imagination, and work those veggies. Here are some combinations that I love:
Spinach + Strawberry + Avocado + Toasted Almonds + Fennel Seed (or fresh shaved fennel) + Balsamic
Romaine + Orange + Toasted Almonds + Rosemary + Garlic Vinaigrette
Arugula + Roasted Beet + Toasted Walnuts + Fennel Seed + Balsamic Vinaigrette, optional goat cheese
There are so many ways to make a salad exciting, especially at this time of year. I love experimenting and combining new ingredients. Below is a (roughly approximated) recipe for a salad I made a few days ago. It sounds odd, but it was deliciously refreshing – perfect for a hot day. Also, I got a precious new bento box for my lunches, and have been instagramming a little “upgrade your lunch break” series. I’ll try and do it at least a couple days a week, so feel free to follow me for inspiration! Without further ado,
Avocado, Citrus and Berry Salad with Mint Infused (Vegan) Buttermilk Dressing
This recipe makes a nice large salad for one person – though I imagine it would be perfect for two or three people as a small side.
A few big handfuls each of spinach and arugula
1/4 avocado, diced
1/2 grapefruit, peeled and sliced
A few sprigs of mint
1 1/2 tablespoons plain almond milk
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vegan sour cream
dash of salt
For this salad, you’ll want to make the dressing first. Pick 5 or 6 big mint leaves and gently crush them with a mortar and pestle. Add the almond milk and apple cider vinegar to the leaves, and muddle them around a little more. Let this sit while you chop your avocado and grapefruit, and maybe drink some tea, about 5-10 minutes. Assemble the salad: greens, fruits, and then some fresh chopped mint leaves (another 5 or 6) on top. Strain the mint-infused vegan buttermilk to get rid of the mushed leaves, and then mix in the sour cream. Add a dash of salt to the dressing before drizzling over the salad. Voila! It sounds weird, but seriously y’all, it’s amazing.