Immune Boosting Fresh Summer Salad - With a Simple and Refreshing Vinaigrette
I'm fully enjoying the warm spring sun coming through the windows each day. But the warmer weather makes me seek out refreshing drinks and food - summer cocktails, beach boardwalk food, and of course, refreshing salads.
Warmer months means more perspiration and more vacationing. Your body is going to need more to replenish what it's lost while in the sun. We're no longer in hibernation mode. We're shedding and forgetting. It's great for a lean beach body, but there's also the risk of dehydration. This is more of a reason to seek out nutrients to replenish, which makes salads a perfect option.
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I like to keep my salad recipes simple with easily obtainable ingredients - not foraging on a mountaintop for some root vegetable picked by elves that are in season once a year. But I still want vegetables that are a bit different from the conventional store bought salad mix. So, I thought hard about what makes my taste buds feel like they're jumping into a refreshing waterfall and decided to mix those ingredients up in a spring salad.
Let's serve up a mix of spring and summer vegetables to brighten up our palate and boost your immune system using sugar snap peas, heirloom tomatoes, arugula, and red radish. I chose sugar snap peas and heirloom tomatoes as my naturally sweet ingredients to balance the spicy radish and arugula flavours. And you're getting a great crunchy texture to your salad.
I absolutely hate mushy, soft salads especially when you're looking for something refreshing. An additional plus is that radishes are full of water much like cucumbers. Along with their many health benefits, they're perfect for rehydrating you after you perspire.
Nutrients In This Mix (Just to Name a Few):
Calcium - aids in blood clotting, bone and teeth health, muscle and nerve function
Potassium - necessary for proper heart, muscle, nerve function and blood pressure control
Folate - supports genetic material production and normal cell function
Vitamin A - necessary for immune function, eye health, and kidney/lung/heart function
Vitamin C - necessary for immune function, tissue health, and absorption of iron
Vitamin K - aids in blood coagulation and bone health
Lycopene (tomatoes) - reduces risk of heart disease and cancer, protects skin against sunburn
What You'll Need:
Ingredients for the salad (2 servings):
75g sugar snap peas (about 15 or so)
2 cups arugula (rocket)
8 heirloom cherry tomatoes (various colours)
4 small red radishes (with their leaves)
Ingredients for the dressing:
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
Lemon juice has a tart and refreshingly light flavour while the balsamic vinegar delivers a sweet and tangy taste. The olive oil mellows it all out and then you can add salt to season it all a bit more to your liking. It's so simple but the flavours complement each other. If you're looking for added sweetness, you can add an extra teaspoon of balsamic vinegar or a teaspoon of honey. Once all of your ingredients are washed and dried, let's slice and dice.
Place arugula in a serving bowl.
Slice the red radishes as thin as possible so that you end up with thin circles.
Slice each sugar snap peas longways into fours (thin slices).
Halve the grape-size heirloom tomatoes. If you're using larger tomatoes, cut them into 1/8 inch thick triangles.
Place all vegetables on the bed of arugula. If your red radishes have leaves, add them to the arugula mix.
Mix the dressing ingredients, making sure to add the olive oil last. (Add 1 tsp of honey if you desire a sweeter dressing.)
Pour over the vegetables and toss before serving.
I love this simple balsamic lemon vinaigrette because it's low in calories but packs a punch with flavours of tangy, savoury, and sweet. This won't take you more than 10 minutes to put together. But the health benefits are extensive for such little work. It's perfect as a side dish or a snack between meals. Whether you're at home on a staycation getting that Vitamin D on your porch or traveling to the beach, use this salad as an excellent source or nourishment and deliciousness for your taste buds.