Salads are to summer as soups are to winter.
Because this analogy largely personifies my meal planning pattern, you’re probably going to see a lot of salad recipes over the next few months, especially if this past CSA share is any indication of what the summer season may bear. With all due respect to Kermit the Frog, it is easy being green; especially in the summer.
When I chose my CSA source, I chose Landisdale Farm because not only did they brave a number of snowy, blustery Saturdays at the Piazza Farmers’ Market this past winter, I enjoyed their selection and quality of produce, and I had learned that the farm is certified Pennsylvania Organic. Popular greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce made the infamous list of produce’s “Dirty Dozen” so it’s important to aim for chemical-free or “organic” if possible. Not sure what “organic” really means anymore? Buying direct from an organic producer is one of the best ways to ensure the integrity of the label, as various certifications and claims saturate the shelves of supermarkets and super stores. But I, for one, am tired of trying to decipher these labels and determine their validity; I’d rather just ask the seller directly – another reason I choose to shop at farmers’ markets. (However, if you are looking for an online tool to help you decode the label ambiguity, check out Consumer Reports’ Greener Choices Eco-labels Center.)
And while the phrase ‘going green‘ implies more than simply consuming green vegetables, this simple act has elaborate health benefits. Dark green leafy vegetables contain a considerable amount of vitamins A, D, E and K, which are fat-soluble, meaning they require a bit of dietary fat in order for the body to absorb them. They are also a great source of vitamin C, folate, iron and fiber. Research suggests that the nutrients found in dark green vegetables may prevent certain types of cancers and promote heart health.
Serious Eats just posted a few non-salad recipe ideas for lettuce in celebration of the summer CSA favorite. But I don’t think lettuce soup sounds too appetizing, and while I enjoy the occasional lettuce wrap, I’m partial to keeping my food contained within two slices of whole wheat bread. So this recipe marks my second salad of the season. The cucumber and radish return, and I added spring onions for a little more zip and sweetness (after tasting the product, I recommend increasing the amount of spring onions). In the midst of my kitchen cleaning, half a can of protein-packed cannellini beans found its way to the top of the nutritious layers. This light salad contains different textures and flavors finished with an olive oil-based dressing to provide that bit of dietary fat to make sure all those important nutrients are absorbed.
White Bean and Radish Salad
Adapted from She Spills the Beans blog.
* denotes locally sourced food, hyperlinks to producer as available
For the salad:
- 4 radish, sliced * (I used the French Breakfast variety which are long and skinny)
- 1 cucumber, diced *
- 2 spring onion, chopped *
- 8oz cannellini beans, drained (about half of 15.5 oz can)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups salad greens, chopped (I used a combination of romaine and arugula) *
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp stone-ground mustard
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Combine salad ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Place dressing ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and buzz until the dressing is emulsified; or, combine in a bowl and whisk until mixture thickens and blends. Pour dressing over salad ingredients then toss.
- Makes about 4 light servings.
- If desired, add 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled, on top.