OK, so I don’t want to curse us by saying the ‘s’ word too soon. Britain has a proud record of celebrating summer at the first whiff of pollen and hint of mercury going above 16 degrees. But we’ve had almost a week of sunshine now, so I reckon it’s safe to say that Summer Is Here! And with it comes barbecue season. And hot stuffy days in the office. And generally feeling too warm and lazy to do any serious cooking.
Which is why I was very excited to come across Iowa Girl Eats and her fantastic collection of salads and vegetable-tastic recipes. I love how her salads aren’t just the usual boring lettuce-tomato combinations – the inclusion of unusual grains like orzo and quinoa make for filling salads with unusual textures. Oh, and the dressings. I didn’t even think I liked salad dressing until I tried a couple of her recipes.
So what’s orzo? It looks like rice, but it’s actually pasta. If you can’t find it in the regular pasta aisle, you might spot it in the World Foods part of the supermarket, as it’s from Greece rather than Italy. As well as being perfect in salads, it also works well added to heartier soups like minestrone.
You can find Kristin’s original recipe here but I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe so the picture above looks a little different.
First off, Lidl are selling some fantastic packs of different coloured tomatoes. You get red grape tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes and purply green bigger-than-cherry-but-not-quite-full-size ones in the pack. As well as adding some lovely colour contrasts, they each have slightly different textures and flavours which adds interest. I also threw in 2/3rds of a pack of sugar snap peas, chopped into bite sized pieces for extra crunch.
It went down really well at our neighbours’ barbecue, but would also be a great option for a healthy office lunch. You could also ring the changes by adding some grilled or lightly fried courgette slices.
What’s your favourite summer salad? I just can’t decide between this or Iowa Girl Eats Kiwi Mango Quinoa Salad!