3 Cool Salads to Make on Hot Days

It's easy eating green.

A colorful salad might just be the perfect summer meal. If well thought out, a salad can be quick, easy, satisfying and very nourishing, giving just the boost of energy needed to get through a sweltering Fort Worth summer day. With these recipes, we go simple. Sometimes, just some washed butter lettuce and a hint of vinaigrette are all you need to give your body and mind a boost.

GRILLED BREAD SALAD WITH ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE

GRILLED BREAD SALAD
1 package mixed greens
1 half loaf day-old bread, cut
into thick slices
1 cup mixed Greek olives
1-2 yellow bell peppers cut
into large strips
1-2 bunches small vine tomatoes
1 block of your favorite brie cheese, room temperature

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. I use my toaster oven for this, especially in the summer. Drizzle olive oil over vine tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes until the skin is blistered and tomatoes are sweet. At the same time toss bell pepper in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until skin is blistered 5-7 minutes. Set aside. Drizzle bread slices with olive oil and grill on a grill pan or outdoor grill until crispy and charred. Rip bread in large chunks. Arrange mixed lettuce on a tray; nestle in tomatoes, bell pepper and bread chunks. Scatter olives and set out wedge of brie. Serve with the Italian vinaigrette.

ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 cloves finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the vinegar, garlic, mustard and herbs in a bowl. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream while constantly whisking until oil is fully incorporated. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste. This can be stored in a jar in the fridge.

ZUCCHINI AND SNAP PEA SALAD WITH BASIL PESTO

ZUCCHINI AND SNAP PEA SALAD
1 pound (2 medium) zucchini passed through the spiralizer
1 cup whole snow pea pods
1/4 pound fresh basil pesto
Handful of fresh basil leaves for garnish

Mix zucchini, pea pods and pesto in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate for a half hour before serving; adjust with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

BASIL PESTO
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (freshly shredded is fine)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor, add garlic. Turn on and add cheese through the feed tube. Continue processing until cheese is finely chopped.
Add basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Process 2-3 seconds, then gradually add olive oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until thoroughly combined.
Pour into an airtight container, and top with a small amount of olive oil. Store in the refrigerator.

ARUGULA AND COUSCOUS SALAD WITH GRILLED CHICKEN SKEWERS AND LEMON VINAIGRETTE

ARUGULA AND COUSCOUS SALAD WITH GRILLED CHICKEN SKEWERS
1 package baby arugula
1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 cup cooked couscous
1 block of feta cheese crumbled
1-2 chicken breasts

Marinate chicken breast in 3 tablespoons of lemon vinaigrette for 30 minutes before grilling. Remove chicken from marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Discard used marinade. Slice chicken in thick pieces and skewer between two skewers that have been soaked in water. Grill chicken skewers on medium high heat, flipping occasionally until cooked through, about 12-15 minutes or until temperature reaches 160 degrees; set aside, cover and let rest. Assemble the salad by layering arugula with the couscous, feta, and tomatoes. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve with grilled chicken.

LEMON VINAIGRETTE
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, mustard and salt until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until dressing is well blended. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Can be stored in a jar in the fridge for several days. Shake well before using.  

Special thanks to Central Market for providing groceries. For more information on Beth Maya, visit foodbybethmaya.com.

| photography by Alex Lepe | story and food styling by Beth Maya | prop styling by Britta Newton-Tarron |