Seasons change and we get beautiful new produce to eat. Nature has provided us with plenty of fresh produce to choose from every season. How boring life would be if we keep eating similar produce all year round and there is nothing new to eat in the new season? Sometimes we feel bad when we don't get our favourite produce like strawberries have stopped coming now and all types of Lettuce has stopped coming in the local markets.
Here is how the last of strawberries looked from my garden this year.
Now that winter retreated rather unceremoniously and spring has been unruly hot, summer is already in my backyard.Thankfully I have some of my other favourites in season now and the vegetable markets are still looking great.
The summer carrots are here, some beets with their beautiful greens can be seen almost always and the last green peas of the season are still around the corner. Beets and their greens are available all year round because beets are biennial plants and survive the seasons well. There is a barrage of gourd family vegetables that I love eating all through summer.
My Rucola plants are giving me some greens for my salads.
So when I heard a farmer friend lamenting about how some of her regular patrons want her to keep growing salad greens all year round, I was aghast how some people are unaware of the season's wealth that they can get all year round. Why we don't want to embrace new flavours in new season?
The salads can be different and yet delicious. Here I am sharing two salads with summer carrots and peas with some added seasonal greens or herbs. There is always a way to make salads with anything you have in season.
Warm Carrot and Peas salad with Garden cress and Peanuts
This is a salad that can be eaten warm or at room temperature. I often make it in the morning to pack for Arvind's lunch box and my own bowl of lunch that I end up eating without reheating most of the times. The salad is quick to make, takes about 15 minutes as chopping the carrots doesn'ttake much time really.
(2 large servings)
400 gm summer carrots, sliced thinly
100-10 gm green peas
2 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
2 tsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
a good sprinkling of red pepper flakes
dash of balsamic vinegar or any vinegar you like
1 tsp honey if the carrots are not naturally sweet
salt and pepper to taste
handfull of chopped garden cress leaves (or good old dhaniya patta or any herb you like)
Heat the butter and minced garlic together and wait till it start bubbling up. No need to cook the garlic.
Tip in the peas and carrot slices together, add salt, mix well and cover to cook on low flame for 5 minutes. If the peas are not tender you should boil them in advance. You can also use boiled chickpeas or green mung sprouts into this salad instead of peas.
Do not cook for more than 5 minutes, the carrots shouldn't get mushy and should retain a bite.
Take it off the stove, add the vinegar and honey, adjust seasoning and transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle crushed peanuts and chopped herb and serve as desired.
Carrot Peas and Feta cheese salad with pomegranate seeds
This is a fresh salad and tastes really good at room temperature or even chilled. It is truly a summer salad as mint and pomegranate give it a very refreshing feel.
(2 large servings)
400 gm fresh summer carrots sliced thinly
100 gm fresh tender steamed peas
pomegranate seeds from one large pomegranate
80-100 gm Feta cheese chopped in small bits
handful of fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp crushed lemon grass bulb or a little zest of lime
2 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything together except feta and give it a good toss. Sprinkle feta over it and lightly mix.
Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
This salad is quite a surprise in its flavours when chilled. The citrus flavours with mint and pomegranate seeds is a great combination and the salty smooth bits of feta give it a nice texture.
You can use thickly grated carrots for this salad too. Adding some crushed walnuts also makes this salad really good and filling.
I normally use home made Feta cheese for my salads but this time it was sent by Sneh Yadav who runs Tijara Farm. The Feta was quite nice and not too salty as I see many Feta cheeses from the market are. She makes organic cheeses and this Feta costs 250 Rs for 200 gm pack.
The Garden cress leaves were also sent by Tijara Farm. Garden cress has a peppery taste similar to mustard micro greens and I liked it a lot. I should start making some Garden cress micro greens too.
There are many more salads on this blog that can be made during summer.
Here is a list of some of the summer salads on this blog.
Pomelo and beets salad,
Mango and feta insalata,
Pumpkin warm salad,
Apple peach walnuts salad with feta, Green mango salad,
Red cabbage and Ripe Papaya salad with Thai sesame dressing,
warm salad with carrots and sweet potatoes,
Lotus stem and red peppers warm salad
several Beetroot salads
Carrot beets pomegranate salad
Poriyal style warm salads
Warm Oriental salad with lotus stem
Pear Rucola walnuts salad
Salad and salsa with peaches
Raw mango and carrots slaw
Tomato paneer and garlic chives salad
Green beans and potato salad
sprouts salad with Amaranth greens and raw mango
Do let me know if you try any of these summer salads. We rally don't have to depend on lettuce and other salad greens to make salads in summer months.