Whether you’re looking for healthy lunches or a colorful dish to cook out, these recipes make the most of summer’s bounty. They are all nutritionally complete and can be modified to suit many different nutritional requirements. Use any vegetable on hand when making this Asian noodle salad. Adding blanched edamame adds an important bump to protein, like peanuts and sesame seeds. Iron-rich beans are boosted by the high levels of vitamin C in the peppers and citrus juice in both this Mediterranean and spicy black bean salad.
The fact that they are all vegetarian or vegan is just a happy coincidence. Although lovely alongside a piece of grilled chicken or salmon, they are all nutritionally complete as a main dish. If you plan to take one of these salads out to cook out or serve guests, it’s best to make it the day you plan to serve it in order to keep the colors fresh and bright. However, they will keep in the refrigerator for about three to four days, perfect for quick lunches and dinners.
Asian Noodle Salad
10 ounces noodles, such as soba, rice sticks, or angel hair
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
Juice of 2 divided lemon
Half a cup of peanut butter
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup
Chilli paste or sriracha sauce to taste
2 cloves garlic, grated
Up to 5 cups prepared vegetables, such as sweet peppers, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, peeled edamame and/or celery, thinly sliced or matchsticks
¼ cup coriander and mint leaves, torn or coarsely chopped
3 green onions finely chopped
cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons roasted sesame
Additional lemon wedges for serving
Cook the noodles according to package directions. When finished cooking, rinse the noodles with cold water and drain well. Toss the noodles with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and the juice of half a lemon, then set aside to cool while you prepare the sauce and vegetables.
Squeeze the remaining three lime halves into a small mixing bowl. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, chili paste, and minced garlic with 1 tablespoon of water and mix well until combined. Sit aside. (This sauce can be made ahead of time and stored for up to a week in the refrigerator.)
Wash the vegetables and cut them into thin slices. Snow peas can be cut in half or left whole if they are small, and the thread that runs along the seam of the pods may need to be removed. Frozen edamame should be boiled briefly in boiling water before use. After boiling, pour cold water over them to stop the cooking process.
Toss the prepared vegetables, chopped herbs and green onions with the seasoned noodles, then sprinkle with the peanut sauce and toss again gently. To serve, sprinkle chopped peanuts over the top of the pasta with additional lemon slices on the side.
1 can cannellini or garbanzo beans, washed and drained
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cherry tomato, halved
1 bell pepper cut into cubes
1 handful kale, torn or shredded
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
cup crumbled feta cheese
Half a cup of chopped parsley
6-8 basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves minced garlic
Half a cup of olive oil
juice of one lemon
Salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
Combine beans, vegetables, feta cheese and herbs and mix well. Combine minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl, pour over bean mixture and mix gently. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to thaw and turn on.
Spicy Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper cut into cubes
1 jalapeno, seeded and cut into small cubes, optional
1 cup cooked corn kernels (fire-roasted is especially good)
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
½ red onion cut into cubes
1 bunch coriander, washed and chopped (stems included)
1 or 2 minced garlic cloves
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon honey or aloe vera to taste
Half a cup of oil, such as olive or avocado
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce), optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Avocado slices for serving
Combine quinoa, black beans, peppers, jalapenos, corn, cabbage, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Mix the minced garlic, lemon juice, honey, oil, cumin, and adobo sauce and sprinkle over the quinoa salad. Stir well and put in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve avocado slices as an accompaniment if desired.