Do you have a garden? Do you know someone that does? About this time of year, every year, I get bombarded with home grown vegetables from every one I know. And, everyone grows the same kind; tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and peppers. I’m not they stay at home for hours and make tomato sauce kind of person, so I’m always trying to find ways to use and eat all these vegetables quickly. Recently I’ve been making a great Crunchy Chopped Vegetable Salad that I love and my son (amazingly) seems to like as well. It’s really simple and very versatile so you can change the basic flavors each time you make it so you don’t feel like your eating the same thing every time.
The ingredients are simple: use as many crunchy vegetables as you have lying around. If you can get a variety of colors that’s great. I just finished making some this morning and I used: cucumbers from my brother’s garden, tomatoes from by neighbors garden (OK they’re not crispy, but I have so many I really needed to use them up), 1 lone red bell pepper that I needed to use before it went bad, the last few carrot sticks left in the bag, and a few pieces of broccoli (use the left over stem pieces, they work really well in the salad).
The preparation is simple: chop everything up into small pieces (about 1/2 inch pieces or so). If you are using watery vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes remove the watery seed parts first and just chop the flesh. Mix it all together and add your favorite salad dressing. Right now, I”m using Newman’s Own Lowfat Sesame Ginger Dressing. You can change up the dressings for different flavors. I would stick to vinegar based dressings if you are planning on storing it for a couple of days, as the creamy dressing will make rather soggy over time.
It’s great as a side for any summer meal, or you can throw some tofu, tuna, or leftover chicken in to make it into a lunch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Some other variations that I’ve thought of based on the abundance of vegetables that are grown.
Mexican style: red bell peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos, corn, cucumbers, carrots, and avocado with a lime vinaigrette dressing – to make it a meal add black beans and cheddar cheese.
Italian style: green bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, chopped fresh basil and oregano with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing – to make a meal add tuna or white beans with some mozzarella cheese.
French Style: green bell peppers, radishes, celery, chopped fennel, chopped fresh rosemary with a honey mustard dressing – To make a meal add almonds and goat cheese.
Americana style: red bell peppers, tomatoes, radishes, celery, carrots, broccoli with a red wine vinaigrette dressing – to make a meal add chicken or tofu and some cheddar cheese.
The alterations are endless. Let me know what combination you make.