My good friend Nichole was recently kind enough to share an article from Mark Bittman’s New York Times’ column, “The Minimalist.” I used to read this column daily, as well as Bittman’s blog, Bitten, but I have been a bit lazy with my food blog perusing since summer has rolled around.

The Minimalist is great for easy and diverse recipes, as you will also find in Bittman’s cookbook, How to Cook Everything. Recently, Bittman posted an article entitled Recipes for 101 Simple Salads for the Season. The salads are broken down by vegan, vegetarian, seafood, meat, noodles, and grains. Each recipe does not list any exact measurements, but suggestions for simple and delicious combinations, using seasonally available ingredients. I haven’t gotten to read through the entire list yet, but here are some of my favorites that I spotted from the vegetarian/vegan sections:

simple salads

7. Grate carrots, toast some sunflower seeds, and toss with blueberries, olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of black pepper. Sweet, sour, crunchy, soft.

13. A red salad: Combine tomato wedges with halved strawberries, basil leaves, shaved Parmesan and balsamic vinegar.

21. Dice cucumbers (if they’re fat and old, peel and seed them first) and toss with cubes of avocado, a little mirin (or honey, but then it’s not vegan), rice vinegar and soy sauce. (You could mix in a little lump crab meat, really not vegan, even rice, and call it a California roll salad.)

27. Cook whole, unpeeled eggplant in a dry, hot skillet or on a grill, turning occasionally, until completely collapsed and soft. Chop and toss with toasted pita, toasted pine nuts, cooked white beans and halved cherry tomatoes. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice and lots of black pepper. Or a (non-vegan) yogurt dressing is good, especially one laced with tahini.

Grate raw beets (use the food processor to avoid ruining everything within spattering distance) and toss with watercress or arugula. Top with sherry vinaigrette and a little goat cheese. Especially obvious, perhaps, but also especially popular.

53. Peel beets and grate them in a food processor. Mix equal parts plain yogurt and tahini, and toss with the beets along with lemon juice and za’atar (a mixture of toasted sesame seeds, dried green herbs and ground sumac; you can make it yourself using dried thyme).

Do you have a favorite salad from the list?
My challenge now, is this. I plan on making at least one of these salads per week from now until the fresh and seasonal produce season is over. This may take me way into the fall. I am not going to limit myself only to farmer’s market produce, though I will try to incorporate it as much as I possibly can. I will post my salads and my thoughts each week as I progress.
In the meantime, I challenge you to do the same. Email me at the recipe that you chose, how you liked it, and pictures of your salad, if you can. I will post a different one each week if I get enough submissions, if not I will post whatever ones you send me. Let’s make it a goal to eat a little healthier, fresher, and simpler this summer! Best of luck!
Also, here is one of my favorite summer/fall salad recipes. It takes a bit longer than 10 minutes but it’s very worth it. I just made this last night to get me through lunch time during my work week. It’s a Barley Apple Salad and it consists of pearled barley and lots of colorful fruits and veggies, with a honey lemon dressing. Aside from the 45 minutes that it takes to cook the barley (I recommend doing it in advance), it is very simple and so so delicious. Also, extremely healthy with alot of raw veggies and fiber from the barley. Enjoy!