Yes, you should be eating salad all year long but we bet you agree that nothing tastes better than fresh, local, in season leafy greens and veggies. To help you build a better bowl we asked Nicki Sizemore for a few easy, innovative ideas. The Cold Spring-based chef, cookbook author, and food blogger (fromscratchfast.com) focuses on flavor-packed, gluten-free recipes. Here are three to toss up for light, refreshing main dish meals.
From Nicki Sizemore:
Brimming with crunchy cucumbers, yellow squash, peanuts, chiles, and a slew of basil and mint, this salad is light and refreshing—perfect for sultry summer evenings. Serve the salad on its own or turn it into a main course by adding grilled shrimp or chicken. To make garlicky grilled shrimp skewers, marinate 1 pound of peeled jumbo shrimp in 4 grated garlic cloves plus enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto soaked wooden skewers (pro tip: double up the skewers so that the shrimp don’t flip around!), and grill on high until cooked through, about 3–4 minutes per side. Sprinkle the shrimp with fresh lime juice before serving.
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 large garlic clove, grated
1 tsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
1–2 Tbsp fish sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. rice noodles (Pad Thai style)
½ medium English (or Persian) cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow squash or zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
½ cup lightly packed fresh mint, coarsely chopped
½ cup lightly packed basil or cilantro, coarsely chopped
1–2 chiles (such as jalapeños or serranos), thinly sliced
2 large scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
½ cup roasted salted peanuts (or cashews), coarsely chopped, plus more for serving
Grilled shrimp or chicken (optional)
Sriracha or chile sauce, for serving (optional)
Make the dressing
In a bowl or jar, combine the lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger. If you have the time, let it sit for 5–10 minutes to let the flavors infuse. Add the honey, sesame oil, vegetable oil, and 1–2 tablespoons of fish sauce to taste. Season with salt and pepper and whisk or shake to combine. Do ahead: The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Make the salad
Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and rinse them in cold water.
Place the noodles in a large bowl and add the cucumber, squash, mint, basil, chiles (to taste, depending on how spicy you like it), scallions, and peanuts. Pour the dressing over top and toss to coat. Taste and season with salt if needed. Garnish with additional peanuts and scallions. If you’d like, top the salad with grilled shrimp or chicken. Serve with sriracha or chile sauce for drizzling, if desired.