Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! So many food blogs that I follow are featuring this bulbous, orange squash in honor of September’s commencement, but I am just not ready! Yes, the temperatures have dipped down into the 60s at night so air conditioners are off and windows are open. Yes, the stench of baking NYC garbage on the street has subsided and a cool, fresher air has taken its place. But I am not ready to give up these last few days of summer. Based on the momentary alignment of the Earth’s axis tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, the autumnal equinox is September 23rd and I have exactly three weeks left to revel in the summer season. I am not abandoning my precious summer squash, and hopefully I can get my hands on a few more sweet million tomatoes from my parents’ backyard if I make it out to Long Island.
In honor of such things, I would like to share a fabulous little salad that really hits the spot.
One warm summer evening while piddling away my night on the computer, the boyfriend whipped up a tasty dinner for us. He roasted some veggies, toasted some almonds, made a honey-lemon vinaigrette, popped it all on some fresh dark greens, garnished with feta cheese, and wow. So. Good.
I truly licked the bowl, and then requested that he make more dressing for me to bring home. The next day, I replicated the salad using his dressing.
Ever since I showed him the way of homemade dressings, my beau has never looked back to the bottle and really became the Salad Dressing King. With eight vinegars in the pantry and many fruit inspirations, he sticks to vinaigrettes but does so with creativity and flair.
For this salad, a honey-lemon-vinaigrette is perfect accompaniment. A splash of honey, white balsamic, and freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed with a splash of olive oil is all it takes. (For today’s repeat performance the Salad Dressing King wasn’t here, and my exact measurements for one serving: 7 g honey, 1 Tbsp vinegar, 11 g lemon juice, 3 g olive oil. I prefer just a tiny bit of oil, but you can add more or less of whatever you like.)
While mixing the dressing, roast up some diced zucchini and asparagus misted with a spray of olive oil on a baking sheet until tender.
Throw a pile of the veggies and a bunch of tomatoes on a bowl of greens along with a sprinkle of nuts and cheese, and you can have a salad with 293 calories, 14 grams of protein, 107% of daily Vitamin A, 60% of daily Vitamin C, and 20% of daily calcium with an “A” grade on Caloriecount.com.
I made this again today, but sadly we’re out of almonds. I subbed them with toasted sunflower seeds, a nutritionally almost identical alternative. Thirteen grams of either has nearly 75 calories (74 for almonds, 76 for seeds), a little over 2.5 grams of protein (2.8 g almonds, 2.7 seeds), and a bit more than a gram of fiber (1.4 for almonds, 1.1 for seeds). Almonds win by the slightest bit, but sunflower seeds were definitely a fine twist.
Yay for the last days of summer!