HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE, Rock Star!
That is RIGHT! Today is the first day of summer. I hear the birds singing, the crickets chirping, the grasshoppers hopping, and see the (almost) full moon overhead as the cool evening air gently caresses the skin. The highs here in Southern California have been parked in the low 90’s for a few weeks now, and the evenings have sauntered around the low 60’s – simply delicious for this here native-born Las Vegan.
Inspired by the summer season upon us, this salad celebrates all the fruits and veggies that begin to pop up. Watermelon! Fresh English Peas! Cucumber! Red Peppers! Basil! Strawberries! If you can find Fresh English Peas, dude, GO FOR IT! My farmer’s market had them about two weeks ago – apparently it’s a super-short season, but you never know (we may see them this weekend)! Some farmers plant a little later/earlier than others so harvest may be staggered – extending the availability for us! Yey!! In the event that you can’t find fresh, organic frozen are fine!
I must give credit where it’s due… I first had this salad at Eureka Burger in Claremont about four months ago, and I was IN. FREAKIN’. LOVE. It’s not too often that you find a ‘salad’ that pushes the boundaries of what a ‘salad’ is thought of to be by the general public.
Eureka Burger is the kind of place that attracts craft beer lovers, and I think that group of people expects a certain level of creativity when it comes to… well anything, really. Perhaps the craft beer movement is paving the way for some sort of “craft food” movement, where a “southwest chicken salad” just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
While I really love the craft beer movement, enjoying that shit means you’re taking in a ton of calories; empty ones. This salad also has a ton of calories, but these calories are not empty like the delicious liquid counterpart. Instead they are packed full of nutrition and protein – and without meat! When you source all of your stuff locally and organically, you just cannot go wrong. After a night out with a brew (or two) and a meal like this, you can rest assured that you will wake at the next sunrise ready to conquer the world, well nourished in mind, body and spirit!
Cheers to you, and BRING ON SUMMER!
- For The Salad
- 1 Cup Dry Organic Quinoa (I used fair trade, organic Royal Rainbow Quinoa from Alter Eco)
- 1 Cup Diced Organic Tomato
- 1 Cup Diced Organic Cucumber
- 3/4 Cup Very Thinly Sliced Red Pepper
- 4 Organic Green Onions, sliced (both white and green parts)
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Organic Green Peas (frozen is fine if you can’t find fresh)
- 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1/4 Cup Organic Basil chiffonade
- 1/2 Cup Quartered Organic Strawberries
- 1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
- 4 One Inch Thick Slices Watermelon, cut into 6 spears each
- 4 Ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 1 Cup Organic Microgreens/Pea Shoots/Sprouts
- For The Dressing
- 1/4 Cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Organic Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Organic Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Hot Sauce
- Prepare the quinoa by rinsing very well first, then cooking as the package suggests. Generally it is 2 cups stock/water to 1 cup quinoa, cooked for about 20 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
- Fluff with a fork, transfer to a large bowl, and place in the refrigerator to cool.
- Once cool, add the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, green onions, peas, cranberries and basil.
- Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, then add to the salad mixture and mix everything together well.
- Divide the mixture into four bowls, packing well, and invert onto four plates.
- Place six watermelon spears on the plates over the quinoa mixture, forming a pyramid-like structure.
- Top each salad with divided strawberries, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, and finally microgreens/pea shoots/sprouts, and serve!