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Healthy Vegetable Salads

It’s time to start taking advantage of all the beautiful produce that will begin arriving in produce sections and farmers’ markets. They are colorful, packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and a snap to put together. Make vegetable salads a regular at your summertime table.

FRESHEST GARDEN VEGETABLE SALAD
1 pint cherry tomatoes
l large red bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 orange bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup thin yellow wax beans
1-1/2 cups baby bella, shiitake, and crimini mushrooms, washed and dried
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 large red onion, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup snow peas, ends trimmed
4 cups fresh young spring salad greens of your choice (such as a mix of arugula, frisée, baby red leaf lettuce, and/or bibb)
Juice of 1/4 lemon

Wash all greens and run through salad spinner or pat dry with paper towels. Clean all vegetables thoroughly. In large bowl, combine greens. Top with all ingredients and sprinkle with lemon juice or top with your favorite light vinaigrette. Serves 10 to 12.

OKRA SALAD
1-1/2 cups yellow, self-rising cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 lb. fresh okra
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 head Bibb lettuce
1 small red or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
Canola or peanut oil for frying okra

Pour oil into a heavy Dutch oven until about 2 inches deep. Heat to 375°.

Combine cornmeal, salt, and pepper. Add dashes of Tabasco to buttermilk. Begin by dipping okra in buttermilk and then dredging in cornmeal mixture. Shake off excess.

Fry okra in batches in hot oil until golden brown, turning only once. Drain on wire rack set over paper towels.

Layer lettuce leaves on a large serving platter. Arrange tomatoes, pepper, onion slices, and okra over top. Drizzle your favorite vinaigrette over top. Serves 6.

HONEY VINAIGRETTE
3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt (kosher if you have it)
Freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients, except olive oil, in a blender and slowly pour olive oil through the top feeder while running on slow. After dressing is emulsified, set aside until ready to pour and toss on salad.

ZUCCHINI RIBBON SALAD
3 medium zucchini
1 large red pepper, seeded and cut into long thin strips
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-1/2 Tablespoons snipped fresh mint
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups red lettuce leaves

Cut zucchini in half, lengthwise. Make zucchini ribbons by using vegetable peeler to peel into long strips. Place all ingredients, except lettuce, in large bowl and toss. Arrange on red leaf lettuce leaves. Serves 8.

BROCCOLI SLAW
1 (16-oz.) pkg. fresh broccoli slaw
1 cup red seedless grapes
1 large Granny Smith apple, sliced thin
1/2 small Vidalia onion, sliced very thin
1-1/2 cups mandarin oranges
1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces
Poppy seed dressing

Arrange all ingredients on platter or individual serving dishes, except for pecans and dressing. Drizzle dressing over top and sprinkle pecan pieces on salad. Serves 6.

WHITE BEAN, TOMATO, AND SPINACH SALAD
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
1 (15-oz.) can cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, torn into small pieces
5 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and toss. Serve on platter and garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 4.

ARTICHOKE SALAD
2 cups green leaf lettuce leaves, torn, washed, and dried
2 (15-oz.) cans marinated artichokes, drained and rinsed
1 cup pimiento strips, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups green olives, pitted
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Sprinkle of lemon juice

Assemble lettuce pieces on six salad plates. Combine artichokes, pimiento strips, and olives, and place on lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with pepper and lemon juice. Serves 6.

Coming Next Month: Great Grilling Vegetables

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