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Healthy, Tasty Salads Star in July 4th Celebrations

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Gazpacho Salad

(Family Features) - Looking to add fireworks to your Independence Day festivities? Bring a beautiful, layered salad bursting with bright colors and flavors to the buffet table.

Think of a salad substantial enough to play the starring role at lunch or dinner -- one with layers of vine-fresh vegetables, chunks of cheese, chopped hard-boiled eggs or diced meat.

It could be a southwestern salad of black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and Colby-jack ... A Cobb salad brimming with bacon, chicken, tomatoes, avocado and blue cheese ... A Mediterranean salad studded with Kalmata olives, feta, tomato and cucumber ... Served in a deep, clear-glass bowl to showcase the multi-hued layers, the possibilities for a sensational salad are endless.

A take-off on the classic chilled soup from Spain, the gazpacho-inspired salad featured here provides an excellent option for any summer soiree. Fresh garlic and parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, heirloom tomatoes, diced cucumber and green bell pepper come together with organic eggs and cheese to create a salad that retains much of the stellar health benefits of its liquid cousin.

Without the traditional salad base of lettuce or other greens, this salad is able to pack in a whopping five cups of tomatoes, which are loaded with both vitamin C and antioxidants.

"This salad has loads of color and flavor-and, best of all, it's low in fat and calories," says Terese Allen, cookbook author, food columnist and Organic Valley food editor.

Allen encourages cooks to be creative and vary the salad's ingredients, taking advantage of whatever is freshest from the garden or farmer's market. "Vegetables that are grown in the same region and ripen at the same time inherently go together," she says. "That's especially true in summer when vibrant ingredients like tomatoes, sweet peppers and fresh herbs burst onto the scene."

For more delicious organic recipes, visit www.organicvalley.coop.

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Gazpacho Salad

  • 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic, mashed to a paste with a little salt
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 large heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into large dice
  • 1/3 cup diced sweet red onion
  • 2-3 hard-cooked large Organic Valley eggs, diced
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled, seeded cucumber
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Organic Valley Shredded Parmesan or crumbled Feta Cheese
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    1. Mix first four dressing ingredients; whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
    2. Layer salad ingredients, except the cheese, in a clear glass dish or straight-sided glass bowl in the order listed above, lightly sprinkling every other layer with salt and pepper.
    3. Drizzle dressing evenly over the salad and chill it, if desired, 1 to 2 hours. Sprinkle with Parmesan or Feta and toss gently just before serving.
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Makes 4 to 6 servings

SOURCE: Organic Valley

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