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Summer’s Harvest Salad

September 11, 2013

The tastes of summer grow sweeter and more savory the longer the sun gets to drench your garden! Late summer harvest is full of color and flavor, including tomatoes and basil. These summer sisters can be successfully grown in containers on a porch or in a raised bed in the backyard. The sweetness of the tomatoes and bold, crisp flavor of basil are not only delicious together and colorful, but are good for you, too.  And combinations of these three summer sisters can go beyond a simple salsa.

When preparing tomatoes and basil Italian dishes come to mind, yet summer salads and pesto are great alternatives to a heavier meal. For those of you who have adventurous eaters add a Mediterranean flair to your fare with a tomato and cucumber quinoa salad.

Including your budding chefs into the process can be worthwhile! The tomato and cucumber quinoa salad is an easy recipe that an inexperienced cook or child could learn to make or help to prepare. Children can be involved   by having them measure ingredients, peel the cucumber, or doing simple chopping and mixing.  Great kid-sized cooking utensils can be found at this website- http://www.forsmallhands.com/kitchen

This salad incorporates summer’s favorites, tomato, basil and garlic, as well as cucumber, quinoa and seasoning. Quinoa is a whole grain and a good source of protein, iron and fiber. Collectively, tomatoes, basil and garlic have many vitamins, anti-inflammatory properties and can help to lower blood pressure, a definite health boost for any day.

The tomato and cucumber quinoa salad lays a great base for seasoning. Basil and garlic are tasty seasoning options in this recipe; others include cilantro, peppers, even ginger. Garnishing the top of the salad with avocado will add a creamy texture to the salad. There is room for experimentation!

summer harvest saladTomato and Cucumber Quinoa Salad:

½ cup of cooked and chilled quinoa

1 cucumber, peeled and diced

2 tomatoes, diced (small cherry tomatoes are also an option)

½ cup of basil, chopped

¼ cup of garlic, diced

2tbsp of lemon juice

2tbsp of olive oil

Salt to taste

Follow cooking instructions on the quinoa package. Allow the quinoa to cool. Combine all ingredients, stir and serve at room temperature.

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