August is definitely my summer slump time. I don’t feel like making anything more complicated than crackers and hummus, I’ve long since given up tending my garden in the heat, and going swimming doesn’t even clear my head enough to get excited about food. I can only imagine how all the Madison folks who are moving come August 15th are mustering the energy (and dishes) to eat something nutritious right now.
I may have figured my way around it this year, though! All of these cold salads are more exciting (and more substantial!) than lettuce, shredded carrots, and cucumber, and all of them are just as fast to make. I canset myself up for the week by making a big batch of some kind of cooked grain and then making it into different salads each day. These recipes all list specific ingredients, but get creative—swap out the veggies for whatever you have on hand, change up the nuts and seeds for different flavor profiles, make it work for you.
The most important features of this month’s recipes are that they are cold, they are fast, and they don’t require many dishes. Bonus, you could totally bring these to a potluck and your friends would think you’ve really got it together.
Herbal Grain Salad with Cashews
4 c. cooked farro (or other grain of choice), room temperature
1 c. toasted coconut
1 c.chopped, toasted cashews
3/4 c. loosely packed of each of the following: mint, basil, and cilantro leaves
2 small shallots, minced
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
Sea salt, to taste
1 garlic clove
1 c. plain full fat yogurt
Directions: This is a great salad to make last minute. I like to cook a big batch of rice or farro or quinoa early in the week and then just keep it in the fridge to use as needed.
In a large bowl, combine the farro, coconut, cashews, herbs, shallots, lime juice and salt, and toss.
Mash the garlic clove into a paste with a generous pinch of salt and whisk into the yogurt, drizzling generously over the salad, serving the rest on the side.
Avocado Salad with Miso Dressing
For the dressing:
1 Tbs. miso paste
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. tamari
Juice of 1/2 lime
4 Tbs. yogurt
For the salad:
1 head of broccoli, cut very small
2 Tbs. toasted pumpkin seeds
2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
2 big handfuls of mixed greens, washed and dried
1 ripe avocado, pitted and halved
1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
Directions: Mix all your dressing ingredients together in a bowl, adding a little salt if needed and set aside.
Next, steam the broccoli in a covered bowl in the microwave, just until bright green, 2-3 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Pile the greens into a serving bowl, then chop the avocado into chunks, and add them to the bowl along with the beans and seeds. Once the broccoli is cool, add it too. Dress and toss well.
Tortellini Pasta Salad
20 oz. cheese tortellini
2 c. cherry or sungold tomatoes
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese ciliegine
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Basil for garnishing
1/2-3/4 c. pesto
2-3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1/2 c. sliced olives
Directions: Heat a large pot of water and cook the cheese tortellini to package directions. After draining, rinse thoroughly with cold water and drain well.
Toss the pasta with half of the pesto, tomatoes, mozzarella, spinach, olives, and a handful of Parmesan cheese. Adjust with additional pesto to preference. I usually need all the pesto. You can also add olive oil to the salad if the pesto is not to your desired consistency. Top with chopped basil and the rest of the Parmesan before serving.
This salad can dry up a bit in the fridge, but adding a little olive oil will freshen it right up.