Well, here we are at the beginning of summer, and we’ve already had some pretty warm days. If this is an indication of what the next three months will bring, I know that I am not going to want to spend any great amount of time over a cooktop or peering into an oven.

What I am going to want are some meal alternatives that are nutritious, delicious, and keep me from breaking a sweat. Enter that summertime staple: the salad.

Everyone’s definition of salad seems to be a little different. Most people view salad as a cold side dish consisting of greens mixed with a few tomatoes, carrots and dressing. But salads can be so much more.

They can be elevated to main dish status just by adding a protein and some grains. Salads can even step into a dessert role by using fresh fruits and nuts. Below are just a few salad options that will help you keep your cool and enjoy the season.

If you’re in the mood for a taste of the Orient, try Food Hero’s Asian chicken salad. This combination of salad greens, carrots, green onions, cilantro leaves, water chestnuts, mandarin oranges, snow peas and chicken tossed in a dressing made with rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, toasted sesame oil and hot chili oil is sure to satisfy.

Sprinkle with some chopped, dry-roasted peanuts to add a little extra crunch. Serve this salad with hot tea and fortune cookies and you might even think you’re at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

Food Hero’s broccoli and everything salad melds broccoli, carrots, celery, raisins, onions, and ham, chicken or turkey with a sweet dressing made from mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar and vinegar. The addition of apples and/or jicama gives it some extra crispness.

For some zing, swap out the raisins for dried cranberries. Best of all, this tasty concoction can be prepared the day before and stored in the refrigerator — perfect for those hectic summer schedules.

Looking for a dish worthy of carting to a bridal shower, family reunion or Sunday brunch? Consider Food Hero’s chicken and pear salad. Marrying pears, celery, sweet onion, raisins and chicken with a dressing made from plain yogurt, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and lemon juice makes for the sweetest of salads and is a real palate pleaser.

And finally, shake up Taco Tuesday with Food Hero’s fish taco salad. Prepare your favorite fish in a skillet, in the oven or under a broiler. When it appears opaque and flakes apart easily, stack it on a bed of cabbage or lettuce along with your choice of veggies — try tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, corn, green onions, celery and avocado. Top it off with some ranch dressing and salsa. Muy bueno!

Many blessings to you and yours this summer.

Kathy Bates is a Family & Community Health Education Program Assistant for Oregon State Extension Service of Douglas County. Kathy can be reached by e-mail kathy.bates@oregonstate.edu, or by phone at 541-672-4461.

React to this story:


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.