In my house, summertime means fresh vegetables and great salads. Salads are a quick and easy way to add splash to just about any meal, and to add extra nutrients to your diet. They are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, and can brighten your palate, along with your meal.

Here's an easy recipe for one of my favorite, delicious summertime salads. It is quick, easy and very flexible. It can be made as is, or adapted to your favorite vegetables, or to what you have on hand. However you make it, it's sure to help keep you and your guests happy and healthy and smiling all summer long.

Photo: Green salad with raspberry vinaigrette. CC--elvissa.Ingredients:

  • Red leaf or green leaf lettuce
  • Heirloom tomato wedges
  • Organic carrot, shredded
  • Red bell peppers, sliced thin
  • Avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Sunflower seeds, roasted
  • Cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • Cilantro, in small sprigs (as desired)

Directions:
Rinse lettuce and pat dry with a paper towel or spin it in a salad spinner.

Tear lettuce into pieces of desired size and toss into a large salad bowl or individual serving bowls.

Place desired quantities of other fresh ingredients into the bowl(s). Top with sunflower seeds. I've found that adding some cilantro sprigs to my salad really makes it pop with flavor. If you don't like cilantro, feel free to skip it.

In fact, you can feel free to add and subtract any ingredients at will. Add your favorites, or skip what you don't like. This particular salad offers numerous variations, all delicious.

Serve with honey-mustard dressing on the side.

Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled & sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:
Rub the sides of a bowl with garlic, then discard. In the bowl whisk together mustard, honey and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Scale recipe as needed.

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