I know it’s August when the only thing in my fridge is a bowl of sliced watermelon and a half-eaten bag of sweet cherries. Cold things I can grab by the fistful. Because truthfully, I don’t do well in the heat and humidity. I become impossibly lazy. My sink begins to fill with yesterday’s dishes and little mounds of swept dirt piles begin to speckle the floor like forgotten landmines. And it's only after I step in one of these piles a good three or four times that I finally break down and finish the job. It's really quite pathetic.
I like to think that August offers us its cool crop of fresh summer produce as a peace offering. A little, “I’m sorry” for being so insufferable. And I’ll take it, because without the crisp, sweet promise of a cold watermelon or the flavorful burst of a cherry tomato, I don’t think I’d make it through.
If like me, the heat leaves you lazy and a tad melodramatic, then welcome to this blog post and please pull up a chair. These salad recipes were created just for you! While each one is a bit different from the last, they all feature some of my favorite summer produce as well as rely on just a few pantry staples to come together. And perhaps best of all, they don’t require the heat of the oven - Amen to that. I’m sharing each recipe below with a few thoughts on preparation and pairings.
Enjoy, my friends! And as always, thanks for stopping by.
Peach Caprese Salad with Mint
A spin on the classic Caprese salad, this recipe replaces tomatoes with fresh peaches and basil with fresh mint. Dressed lightly with a bit of oil and lime juice, it’s bright and flavorful, but balanced thanks to the cool, creamy mozzarella. This salad works great as a light lunch or as a side to just about anything on the grill!
- 4 ripe peaches, unpeeled and sliced into wedges
- 1 package fresh mozzarella
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- fresh black pepper
First, prepare the dressing by combining the lime juice, lime zest, salt and honey in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and set aside. Next, cut the mozzarella into small 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl with the peaches and mint leaves. Gently toss. Lastly, drizzle as much of the lime vinaigrette over the peaches as preferred and gently toss once more. Season with fresh black pepper and enjoy!
Watermelon, Feta Salad with Lime
Watermelon is surprisingly good with just a spot of oil and course flakes of sea salt. But it really comes to life with a bit of lime juice and salty feta cheese. I like to add in raw red onions for a tangy bite to compliment the salty sweet combo.
- 1 small, seedless watermelon
- feta cheese, sliced or crumbled
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, juiced
- fresh mint, chopped
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. course sea salt
- 1/8 - 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- olive oil, for drizzling
First, cut the watermelon into bite sized cubes or triangles and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sea salt, black pepper and lime juice. Then, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and gently toss. Next, sprinkle with as much mint, red onion and feta as you desire and gently toss once more.
Note: If making in advance, place the bowl of cut watermelon in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. Adding salt too far in advance to the watermelon will release its juices and make for a soupy salad!
Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Pint Nuts and Lemon
This salad is like a zoodle, but thicker, less watery and more substantial. It’s inspired by one of my favorite pizza combos and is a healthy, raw lunch that will leave you brimming with energy. I like to sprinkle the ribbons with feta cheese, toasted pint nuts and fresh mint and dress it with lemon juice, oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a kick. So simple!
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow squash (optional, raw yellow squash is not for everyone and can come off as a bit bitter)
- 1/4-1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/4-1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- feta cheese
- olive oil, for drizzling
- red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outside skin of the zucchini (and yellow squash, if using). Then, create long ribbons and place them into a bowl. Sprinkle with the sea salt, black pepper, toasted pine nuts and fresh mint. Then, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil and toss. Add more lemon juice or olive oil as needed and dust with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Lastly, add as much feta cheese as desired and toss once more.