Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Garden Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Salad

I'm just lovin' this time of year; the produce is in abundance here in my neck of the Minnesota woods. Whether from my own garden or the farmer's market or my local co-op, it just keeps on coming and is starting to invade my kitchen counter. Not that I am complaining; it just means more creative juices are flowing to get that produce from "just picked" to "plate".

Today we had a run to the beach in the late afternoon, and didn't get home until 5:45 (and oops! no dinner plans were made before we left the house). So with the temps in the mid-90's and no air conditioning in my house, we were in need of a quick, refreshing, and "cook-less" (AKA "raw") meal for my hungry boys. I glanced at the bowl full of fresh cucumbers and tomatoes sitting on my counter and immediately envisioned this salad. It comes together very quickly and will satisfy even the child's palate. My three year old just devours cucumbers; it is the oddest thing to me, to see a child beg for them, and he does. (Meanwhile a thankful mother, in tears of gratitude, lifts her voice to the Almighty, "Thank you God! My child eats vegetables!") 

Ahh hemmm. I digress. Back to the recipe!

Garden Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Salad

2 cucumbers
6-8 roma tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup feta
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil and parsley
salt, pepper

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell pepper into medium size chunks and add to bowl. Whisk olive oil and vinegar in small bowl and pour over vegetables. Add feta, olives, and herbs to bowl and toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste before serving.

The longer this salad sits, the more intense the flavors get; it makes a great "leftover" salad. You can also make an easy one-dish meal out of this by simply adding some protein elements like cooked quinoa and shredded chicken.

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