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Summer Salads: No Lettuce Required

I grew up thinking that salad was lettuce with toppings and dressing, but such a definition is way too limiting for all the fabulously flavorful fruits and veggies out there. I especially enjoy experimenting with veggie salads once local lettuce is out of season and colorful squash, corn, tomatoes, beans, and more abound. 

Summer produce is so packed with fresh flavor that no-lettuce salads only require a simple oil and vinegar coating, if anything at all. Often in lettuce salads you depend on the dressing for flavor, but not so with a combo like cooked corn, cooked pink-eyed peas, tomatoes, red bell pepper, and onion (pictured above). I simply added a bit of chopped garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and voila, it was the perfect dinnertime accompaniment to grilled chicken.

In an ideal week, I like to cook up a bunch of different veggies on Sunday and then throw together combinations of them during the week. My favorite from last summer was green beans, red potatoes, and smoked trout tossed in olive oil and vinegar; it seemed to taste better each time I ate it for lunch.

Try picking out some fresh veggies and creating your own dish. For inspiration or if you prefer to follow a recipe, check out Cucumber Salad, Farmers Market Vegetable Salad, Potato and Green Bean Salad, Salmon Salad with Dill Vinaigrette, Spicy Corn Salad, or Creole Tomato Salad.

What is your favorite no-lettuce salad?