When it comes to summertime and fresh produce, most of us are pretty lucky to have the options we do. Here in North Carolina, one of the largest agricultural producers in the United States, our choices are more than plentiful. This gives us so many choices to find awesome ingredients for a delicious summer salad.If you're interested in incorporating more vegetables into your summer meals, and want to do so on a budget, follow this summer salad recipe.
Summer Salad Benefits
We are great fans of the summer salad because it is a dish that is easy to switch up regularly. This way we never get bored and can use whatever fresh produce we happen to have on hand.
However, one of our favorite ways to make a summer salad is to use multiple sources of healthy greens and throw in a lot of different colors.
This ensures that we are getting a wide variety of amino acids, which convert into complete proteins.
There are nine essential amino acids required to create a complete protein. But the good news is that they aren't necessarily required at every meal. They can vary in the distribution throughout the day and at each meal. They are:
When you create dishes with all of the essential amino acids, you create complete proteins. This means that you can create a summer salad without the addition of meat. Not adding meat into every meal can make dishes much less expensive and more budget-friendly.
And if you are able to get some of your produce from your own home garden, you are reducing your overall food costs even more. This is something that we love to do because we are diligent about how much we spend on our grocery budget.
So let's get started with the summer salad we chose to make this time!
- 2 cups salad greens (we grow this in our own home garden)
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 cups baby kale
- 1 large avocado, halved and sliced
- 3 large strawberries, sliced
- 2 large radishes, julienned
- 1 small pickled beet, diced
- 1 tbsp walnuts
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
- Pinch black pepper
- Squeeze of lemon
Gather all the ingredients, along with a cutting board, knife, whisk, small mixing bowl, and large salad bowl. Once you've done that, now it's time to get creative!
- Rinse all greens thoroughly
- Pat dry and toss in a large salad bowl until well mixed
- On a large cutting board, slice strawberries and avocado
- Julienne the radishes
- Dice the pickled beet
- Layer strawberries, avocado, radishes and beet into the salad bowl with the greens
- Sprinkle with walnuts and hemp hearts
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper until thoroughly mixed
- Pour dressing into salad
- Toss thoroughly until salad is well-coated
- Serve and Enjoy!
Yield: 4 servings
If you want to get a bit more creative with the salad dressing, you can always add in some of your favorite spices. A lot of times we will add in some smoked paprika and aleppo because they give the salad a bit more of a smokey flavor. It really all depends on what you like, and what kind of mood you are in.
But one of the biggest perks to making your own summer salad and dressing is that you can get creative and shake things up. You never have to create the same salad or dressing twice if you don't want to. Just use what you happen to have on hand and see what new variations you can create.
- 2 cups salad greens = FREE!
- 2 cups arugula – $49 (7 oz package)/7 = $.36/4 (2 oz per cup) = $1.44
- 2 cups baby kale – $2.49 (7 oz package)/7 = $.36/4 (2 oz per cup) = $1.44
- 1 large avocado – $3.99 (Bag of 5 Avocados)/5 = $.80
- 3 large strawberries – $3.49 (16 oz package, approximately 20 berries)/20 = $.18 x 3 = $.54
- 2 large radishes – $2.49 (12 oz package, approximately 12 radishes)/12 = $.21 x 2 = $.42
- 1 small pickled beet – $1.99 (15.5 oz jar, approximately 15 beets)/15 = $.13
- 1 tbsp walnuts – $2.99 (8 oz package, approximately 2 Tbsp per oz)/8 = $.37/2 = $.19
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts – $4.99 (8 oz package, 24 Tbsp per package)/24 = $.21
- 1 tbsp olive oil – $6.99 (1 L bottle = 66 Tbsp)/66 = $.11
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar – $3.99 (16.9 Fl oz bottle, approximately 33 Tbsp)/33 = $.12/3 (3 tsp per Tbsp) = $.04
- ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt – $1.49 (per 4.5 oz jar w/grinder)/135 (servings per jar, 1/8 tsp each) = $.01 x 8 = $.08
- Pinch black pepper – $1.49 (per 4.5 oz jar w/grinder)/135 (servings per jar, 1/8 tsp each) = $.01
- Squeeze of lemon – $.89 (per lemon, approximately 8 slices)/8 = $.11
Total Price: $5.52
Per Serving = $1.38
Summer Salad Win
I don't know about you, but I am pretty happy with a delicious salad that only costs $1.38 per serving. Especially because whenever we go out to a restaurant the salads are so much more expensive, for much fewer ingredients. More often than not, the restaurant salads don't have enough ingredients, or diverse colors, to be a complete protein either, so we don't stay full as long.
I am more than happy to pay a little over a dollar for this beautiful salad versus upwards of $10 for a plain salad with only tomatoes and cucumbers. Since that's not my idea of a good summer salad, I'd rather make my own and guarantee that I enjoy it.
Plus, this type of salad is so much better on our budget, making it a huge win in our book!
Now that it is summertime, what sorts of great summer salads can you come up with?
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