Summer Love, Summer Salads

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I look forward to bean and pasta salads SO much when the warmer weather hits.  I enjoy eating them at any point in the year, but it’s so much more satisfying when the sun is out and you can feel the warm breeze waft through the windows.  Not to mention it’s just fun shopping at the fruit and vegetable markets around town.  It’s such an awesome feeling snagging fresh bunches of asparagus, tomatoes on the vine, and giant containers of juicy berries.  Last weekend my mom and I hit some of the fruit and vegetable markets in Korea Town down by Bloor St. W. between Bathurst and Christie St. and we picked up so much great stuff.  Blueberries, blackberries, avocados…we really lamented at not living closer because we would honestly go every day if we could.  A mix of beans, veggies, and pasta = meals I can eat every day for the rest of my life! 

Whenever my family and I want something simple and lighter to eat, these are our go-to meals and they’re so perfect for spring and summer and warmer patio weather.  I’ve always itched to get creative in the kitchen and it drove me crazy growing up when I wasn’t allowed to help and family would shoo me away and tell me to “go play”.  Now that I’m older, it’s been so great getting my hands busy in the kitchen and even though I’m still just a “helper” when it comes to preparing meals, it feels good to see a meal through from start to finish even if it’s something simple.  Healthy, crunchy, and juicy, summer salads are awesome because you can make a big batch and have yummy leftovers for the next day’s lunch.  Not to mention they’re filling and satisfying meals that don’t leave you filling gross and lethargic afterward.   

What I have for you is a smattering of summer salad photos with a bunch of different veggie, fruit, and pasta/noodle combinations.  Up top we have a crunchy salad of tomatoes, yellow and green bell pepper, white beans, chickpeas, and mixed kidney beans, and a fistfuls of chopped green scallions.  In the middle, a mixed bean and avocado salad with a sprinkling of cilantro and red pepper chili flakes atop udon noodles, and last, a pasta salad with Italian ditali pasta, roast chicken, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and fresh chunks of mango!  I think by the end of the summer I should have a veeery large collection of photos commemorating my salad love 😀

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A Springtime Avocado & White Bean Salad to Brighten Up the Palate!

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Okay, so the weather outside was absolutely frightful today.  A mix of wet snow, sleet, ice pellets, hail, and everything in the kitchen sink falling from the sky does not make for a fun day out.  But!  I’m here to the rescue!  Instead of looking out the window and wanting to bang your head against the wall because winter knocked on the door and sweetly said, “did you miss me?”, you can look at my bright and yummy avocado and white bean salad instead! 😀  Yesterday I posted photos and wrote about Fresh’s white bean and avocado dosas, and it was that particular dish that inspired me to create this one over the weekend.  My mum and I had a great time making it (we love using our cute little colander, haha.  If you can believe it, I bought it from Bath and Body Works!) and a VERY good time eating it!  We had plenty of avocados that were nice and ripe and this salad made for a fantastic vegetarian dinner.

We used white kidney beans, avocados, sweet corn, diced green bell pepper, chopped green onion, a nice fistful of chopped cilantro, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  SO DELICIOUS OH MY GOODNESS.  I just love the versatility of beans and avocado.  I loved the combination of mashed black beans with baby spinach and alfalfa sprouts with a dollop of sour cream, and I absolutely adore this combination too.  The kidney beans have this great potato-y, earthy flavour, you have that creaminess from the avocado and corn, the cilantro gives it that fresh, spicy zing, and the bright, crunchy bell pepper and green onions give it the salad lots of extra texture which complements the softness of everything else.  My mum and I were heaping spoonfuls of this salad on our dinner plates!  

The salad itself could have definitely functioned as a main meal, but I ate it with a bowl of yummy udon noodles with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkling of black pepper and red chili flakes.  I love udon noodles, with or without the soup broth.  My mum and I will usually grab several packs of udon noodles at the Chinese supermarket and when I eat non-veggie meals, I’ll eat them with some pork chops and veggies, or with cut up hot dog weenies and mixed veggies, ha.  Yummy to the max!