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Healthy Summer Fare: Pasta & Salads

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Summer is almost here. The time for pasta salads, guacamole and chips and bruschetta with tomato salad is back! Here are some interesting takes on the classic foods of summer and how to go about it without breaking the bank!

Summer Tomatoes
Summer Tomatoes Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Summer Tomatoes

Summery Tomato Salad from Food Network

This is an incredible tomato salad but there are two things to remember if you want to wow your guests with something so simple. The first is that you should try to get a mixture of different, tasty, local (if possible) tomatoes in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Second, the flavor is brought out by salting the tomatoes, so don't skip this bit. Some people get worried about putting this much salt on their food, but the bulk of it will drip off, leaving you with really beautiful, intensely flavored tomatoes.

If you can get hold of some dried flowering oregano then do, as it has the most heavenly flavor. Feel free to use the dried stuff that you get in a little container, but it can taste a bit like sawdust when compared to the fruity, fragrant flavor you get from the flowering variety. Oregano is also great to grow in the garden.

Depending on the size of your tomatoes, slice some in half, some into quarters and others into uneven chunks. Straightaway this will give you the beginnings of a tomato salad that's really brave and exciting to look at and eat. Put the tomatoes into a colander and season with a good pinch of sea salt.

Give them a toss, season again and give a couple more tosses. The salt won't be drawn into the tomatoes; instead it will draw any excess moisture out, concentrating all the lovely flavors. Leave the tomatoes in the colander on top of a bowl to stand for around 15 minutes, then discard any juice that has come out of them.

Transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl and sprinkle over the oregano. Make a dressing using 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, the garlic and the chile. Drizzle the tomatoes with enough dressing to coat everything nicely.

This is a fantastic tomato salad, which is totally delicious to eat on its own. It's also great served with some balls of mozzarella or some nice, grilled ciabatta bread.

 

Add More Fresh Fruits to Salad
Add More Fresh Fruits to Salad Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Add More Fresh Fruits to Salad

Fresh Strawberry Watermelon Salad

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup watermelon (chunks)
2 tbsps purple onion (chopped)
2 tbsps champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)
salt (and pepper, to taste)
2 cups strawberries (chopped fresh)
2 cups cantaloupe (chopped fresh)
2 cups watermelon (chopped fresh)

Sweet Potato Salad
Sweet Potato Salad Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet potato salad

Directions
Cook potatoes until they are fork tender in boiling water. Drain the potatoes and cool them completely. Soak the raisins in hot water for 15 minutes and then drain. Combine all the ingredients and mix them thoroughly, but gently. Chill for 24 hours before serving.

Ingredients:

2 cups medium diced sweet potatoes
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup finely diced red onion
1/3 cup finely diced celery
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped carrot

 

 

Canned Beans and Corn Go A Long Way...
Canned Beans and Corn Go A Long Way... Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Canned Beans and Corn Go A Long Way...

Ingredients
Salad:
2 ears fresh corn or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Vinaigrette:
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions
For the salad: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Peel back the corn husks. Remove the silks and replace the husks. Soak the corn in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and place on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely and remove the husks. Using a sharp knife, remove the corn kernels. In a medium bowl, mix together the grilled corn, black beans, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, and mango.

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, basil, and cumin. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well. Refrigerate for 1 hour, and toss again, before serving.

 

Fresh Avocado Salads With Garlic Bread
Fresh Avocado Salads With Garlic Bread Neilson Barnard

Fresh Avocado Salads With Garlic Bread

Sweet Pea and Avocado Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients
2 cups Earthbound Farm Organic Zen Blend
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 small red onion, diced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. orange zest
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions
1. In a large bowl, combine Zen Blend, peas, onion and avocado; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients. Pour over avocado mixture; gently toss to combine.
3. Serve immediately.

Can be added on top of fresh garlic bread or chips

Fettucine with Sweet Pepper-Cayenne Sauce
Fettucine with Sweet Pepper-Cayenne Sauce Vallery Jean

Fettucine with Sweet Pepper-Cayenne Sauce

Fettuccine with Sweet Pepper-Cayenne Sauce and Seafood

12 ounces dry fettuccine pasta

Seafood of your choice
2 red bell peppers, julienned
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

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