Green gazpacho

3 simple salads for ripe, local produce

Offering up clean water, briny ocean air and fertile river valleys, the Lower Mainland is not only an amazing place to live, it is also the convergence of ideal growing conditions for local food production. And given our relatively balmy climate, we also have access to local greenhouse produce almost year-round.

Right now, spring production is ramping up for local greenhouses. Stores and farmer’s markets are brimming with a variety of colourful bell peppers, crisp cucumbers and ruby red tomatoes. The beauty these gems add to your spring and summer meals are astounding, especially after months of winter soups and stews.

Go ahead, buy that peck of peppers and then try these unique and colourful recipes this week. Your spring meals and summer barbecues will thank you.

Greenhouse2

The salad meal:

Fattoush is a simple Middle Eastern-inspired salad and can be made with all the local green house goods: tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers. The combination of vegetables, pita and feta cheese makes this a one bowl meal. For vegans, serve with a side of hummus instead of feta. Find the recipe here.

Cherry tomatoes and bocconcini on a skewer

The salad on a stick:

Tomato-Pepper-Bocconcini Skewers. I am of the firm belief that anything on a stick is more fun, including salads. Whether you use toothpicks, chopsticks or fancy bamboo skewers, this is a fun way to pack lunch or serve dinner. Slide whole cherry tomatoes, pieces of bell peppers and cocktail size bocconcini cheese onto skewers. Pieces of basil or other herbs are optional but recommended. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt just before serving.

Orange, red, and yellow peppers

The blender salad:

Cucumber Gazpacho is basically a salad in a blender. In blender combine: 1 chopped cucumber, 1 yellow pepper, 2 garlic cloves, ½ cup plain yogurt, 2 tbsp vinegar, 4 ice cubes, a pinch of salt and a small handful of fresh herbs: chives, mint and/or dill. Garnish with a sprig of your herb of choice. Serve cold. Keeps for a day in the fridge.

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