Admittedly, I didn’t really know what succotash was until I googled it a few days ago. All I knew is that it had corn in it, and that it was fun to say. I learned that traditional succotash contains lima beans and okra, neither of which I’m a huge fan. So I decided to substitute white beans and peaches. Seems logical, right? This is a loose variation of succotash, but delicious none the less. As summer draws to a close, I want to celebrate the season’s produce and take advantage of its availability while I still can. I included Sungold tomatoes and fresh herbs from my garden (which is about all I have growing right now, my garden skills are weak), and everything else I got at the local farm stand.
With these 100+ degree temps we are experiencing here, the last thing I want to do is turn on my oven or stove and cook dinner. It’s too damn hot to roast a chicken or boil potatoes. That’s why I am turning to salads and smoothies to keep me fueled throughout the day. They are cool and refreshing, and if you do it right, they can easily be turned into a balanced meal.
Today I am sharing my top tips for how to build a drool-worthy salad into a meal so you don’t have to turn your oven on and heat up the whole house. I also have two super simple salad dressing recipes for you, made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
- Start with organic, locally grown greens: I love arugula, romaine, red leaf lettuce, spinach, and butterhead. Use whatever you can find at the farmers market, or better yet, grow the greens yourself! I also like adding fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro (both are detoxifying).
- Add colorful veggies: Make your salad interesting by adding different colors and textures. My salads ALWAYS have carrots, purple cabbage, and red peppers. That way I know I am getting a variety of phytonutrients to help fight disease. I also like adding cucumbers, celery, jicama, and tomatoes (if in season). Now, you could call it good there, but if you want a full meal you MUST follow the next 2 steps.
- Add protein: Some of my favorites are salmon and tuna (fresh or canned), shredded chicken, and hard boiled eggs. Sardines are great if you like to eat them (I’m still working on that). You could also add beans or lentils. I don’t consider them a great source of protein, but they are a good option if you don’t eat meat or eggs.
- Add healthy fats: This step is very important! Healthy fats will make your salad go a lot further in terms of fueling and satisfying your body. Examples include avocados, olives, nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and olive oil.
- Top it off with a simple homemade salad dressing.
Blackberries are bursting onto the scene right now, a little earlier than their usual arrival. I’ve been thinking about how to use them in recipes, and of course a smoothie/shake was the first thing to come to mind (I’m not very creative). This is more than a smoothie, though. More decadent. It was hard to leave out the greens I normally add to smoothies like spinach or kale, but I wanted this to be different. This would make a delicious breakfast, with plenty of protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients to help you feel energized. Or, you could serve it as a sweet and satisfying dessert. I will warn you that the blackberry seeds make this shake a little crunchy, but not necessarily in a bad way.