Cooking Cove: Salads prolong summer pleasures

Cooking Cove: Salads prolong summer pleasures

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

By Barbara Beltrami

Labor Day may be the official marker for the end of summer, and while the living may not be as easy, the rest of September certainly promises more warm weather for the beach, the backyard and barbecues.

After the hectic shopping for school supplies and new clothes, after those first hectic days of back-to–school, after the practices and lessons and homework it’s still possible to catch an hour or two of daylight to heat up the grill and pretend that just for a little while longer it’s still summer.

Here are three salad recipes for prolonging summer’s pleasures and accompanying whatever you’re grilling. A bonus is that the leftovers are ideal for lunch boxes.

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 bruised clove garlic

1 pound Rotelle pasta

1 pound mozzarella cheese, diced

2 to 3 cups diced fresh cherry tomatoes

1 firmly packed cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

DIRECTIONS: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic. Let sit to absorb garlic flavor at least 30 minutes, then remove and discard garlic. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain thoroughly. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the dressing, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature as an accompaniment to grilled veggies, meat or poultry.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

 

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed

3 scallions, trimmed and sliced

One large cucumber

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley, rinsed and chopped

1 scant handful fresh mint leaves, rinsed and chopped

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

Juice of one small to medium lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Cook the quinoa according to package directions. In a large bowl, toss cooked quinoa with remaining ingredients. Let mixture sit for 30 minutes so it can soak up the flavors of the herbs and dressing. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold with grilled meat, fish or poultry.

Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad

Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad

 

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

Two 14-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

4 ears cooked fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium red onion, diced

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 4 fresh limes

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lime zest

1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

¼ teaspoon cayenne

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, peppers, garlic and onion. In a separate smaller bowl, thoroughly mix the oil, lime juice, sugar, zest, cilantro, parsley, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pour over bean and corn mixture and toss to coat. Cover and let sit for at least an hour. Serve at room temperature or cold with grilled meat or poultry, tomato salad and taco chips.

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