quinoa & corn salad

This summer salad features delightfully crunchy quinoa and sweet corn kernels in a tangy dressing. Never tried quinoa? It’s similar to millet; look for it in the bulk section of your local natural foods store. We used red quinoa for this recipe, but other colors are available.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups corn kernels (canned, frozen, or fresh; if fresh, briefly cook kernels in boiling water, rinse with cold water, and drain)
1 medium cucumber, diced
8-oz. package cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Several large romaine leaves, sliced into ribbons

1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 1 large, fresh lemon
3 Tbs. maple syrup
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt

1. Combine rinsed quinoa, salt, and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat. Let quinoa simmer until all the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat. After about 10 minutes, “fluff” the quinoa with a fork by lightly stirring.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa with the corn kernels, diced cucumbers, and tomatoes.

3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together, and stir into the salad.

4. Arrange romaine ribbons on plates. Scoop quinoa salad on top.

thai cucumber salad

The flavor combination of vinegar, sugar, and crushed red peppers is downright addictive.

2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced
4 Tbs. kosher salt (you can substitute regular salt)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 cup peanuts, finely chopped
Scallions for garnish

1. Place the cucumber slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Drain for about 30 minutes. Rinse slices; drain again.

2. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and red pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool.

3. In a medium bowl, combine drained cucumber slices with vinegar mixture. Chill before serving. Garnish with chopped peanuts and scallions.

living tree energy soup

Thanks to Living Tree Community Foods for providing this recipe.

The inspiration for this soup comes from several sources, including an excellent booklet, Nature’s Healing Grasses. It was written some 30 years ago by H.E. Kirschner, a physician who healed people afflicted with serious illness by putting them on a simple regimen: They would prepare a “green drink” at least once a day. It consisted of several greens, including “weeds” like malva, purslane, and lambs-quarters, as well as cultivated greens like parsley, placed in a blender and blended with pineapple juice.

I call it an “energy soup” because in my experience, it is easily digested and has the effect of enhancing one’s aliveness and well-being. We’ve been preparing “energy soup” at Living Tree Community for over a decade. We serve it at every meal. Here’s our basic recipe:

3 carrots, sliced thinly or diced
2 beets, sliced thinly or diced
1 apple or cucumber (in season), diced
Chopped parsley, celery, kale, collards, arugula, endive, spinach, cabbage, cilantro, chard, and lettuce (your choice)
Lemon juice

Put the mixture into a blender. Add spring water or freshly made carrot juice. If you want to supercharge the drink, add a handful of wheatgrass. Blend into a thick, smooth “soup.” Serve immediately.

Variations: Grind some flax, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, or chia seeds in a seed mill or coffee grinder and toss it in, or add a chopped apple.

24-hour salad

This recipe can be served as a vegetable salad or as a pasta salad. It’s called 24-hour salad because the ingredients can be marinated in an oil-and-vinegar or Italian salad dressing for 24 hours. Or skip the marinade, toss all the ingredients with fresh-cooked pasta, and serve as a pasta salad. Either way, it’s delicious!

12 to 15 fresh mushrooms, halved
3-4 green onions, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 green pepper, sliced thin
2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 14-oz. can whole pitted black olives, drained
3/4 cup Italian salad dressing

As a vegetable salad: In a large, deep, glass bowl, layer the first seven ingredients in the order given. Add 1/2 tsp. salt to the dressing, pour over veggies, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Toss and serve.

As a pasta salad: Boil 2 cups of your favorite pasta shapes until done. Drain and add to large bowl with all of the above ingredients. Mix and serve.

wisconsin summer veggie salad

Sue named this salad in honor of her Wisconsin garden, which produced not only a healthy crop of mosquitoes, but also red and green peppers and yellow squash.

1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small yellow squash, sliced
2 small zucchini, sliced
8 oz. mushrooms, halved
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup raspberry or balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix dressing ingredients and apply to combined chopped vegetables, or use your favorite bottled dressing (Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette is a good one to try).

tabbouli salad

Tabbouli, tabbuli, tabouleh: how many ways can you spell the name of this crunchy, nutritious salad? It’s a refreshing yet filling dish that’s especially good in the summer.

Tabbouli salad’s main ingredient is bulgur (cracked) wheat. To prepare bulgur wheat for the salad, measure 1 cup bulgur into a bowl, and then pour 1 cup warm water over it and let stand for 30 minutes. Yields 2 cups.

2 cups presoaked bulgur
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup green onions, chopped
2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
Salt to taste (try 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

1. Mix first seven ingredients together (bulgur through salt), and then add fresh lemon juice. Stir to combine.

2. Refrigerate ingredients for about an hour. When ready to serve, add olive oil and black pepper. Mix well.

Notes: Fresh ingredients are absolutely necessary for good tabbouli. A large lemon usually nets 1/4 cup of juice. A large bunch of fresh parsley can yield 1, 2, or 3 cups chopped; use as much as you want. Cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil is best for salads, and although mint leaves add a unique flavor, they can be omitted in a pinch (sometimes it’s hard to find fresh mint). Cooking is an art, not a science, so have fun and experiment!

ceci bean salad

Ceci beans, a.k.a. garbanzo beans or chickpeas, are a great source of protein. More ceci bean trivia: according to Italian rules for vowels following the letter C, “ceci” is pronounced “chay-chee.”

1 14-oz can ceci (garbanzo) beans, drained
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, chopped fine
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
2 Tbs. chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix and allow flavors to marry for an hour before serving.

michelle’s spring rolls

Michelle, mother of five and a great vegan cook, submitted this recipe. You can set out the ingredients and let your guests make their own spring rolls.

2 oz. dried bean thread noodles or rice thread noodles
1 cucumber, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
12 large rice-paper wrappers (8-inch round or larger)
2 cups baby spinach leaves (or other hardy greens such as kale or romaine lettuce), cut in thin strips
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
8 oz. baked, seasoned tofu, cut into 1/4-inch sticks
12 fresh basil or mint leaves
Peanut sauce for dipping

1. Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 5 minutes or until softened. Drain well and set aside.

2. Remove and discard the seeds in the cucumber by scraping a spoon on the center of each piece. Cut each piece into thin strips.

3. Fill a large bowl (at least several inches larger than the rice wrappers) with warm water. Soak one wrapper until soft and pliable, 20-30 seconds. Remove the rice wrapper from the water and lay flat on a counter or cutting board. Place 1-2 tablespoons of spinach leaves along one edge of the wrapper. Place an equal amount of noodles over the spinach. Top with 1 tablespoon of carrot matchsticks, several pieces of cucumber and tofu, and a basil or mint leaf.

4. Roll the wrapper, starting with the filling side, folding the ends over the filling as you roll and forming a tight cylinder. Serve with small bowls of peanut sauce for dipping.