A salad, these days, is a wonderful thing,
Whole grains, beans, and fresh farm picked greens.
Summer produce, crumbly cheese
A splish and splash of vinegar please!
Seeds and sprouts and nuts for crunch
Tossed and dressed and perfect for lunch.
Mangoes or citrus or fat juicy berries
Feta with olives or goat cheese and cherries.
Chicken or tuna, shrimp or flank steak
The choices are endless, such decisions to make!

An ode to salads, if you will. Please pardon the literary nerd in me. Something about a rhyme just makes food more fun. I love a salad and its millions of possibilities -- and I love the kitchen sink aspect in creating salads on the fly. It’s like an episode of Chopped in my own kitchen. Open the fridge, see what’s inside, and get cracking.

Last week, when I made this leafy decision, I was in the mood for some nutty, chewy, whole-grain goodness. How about a farro salad with spinach, beets, and goat cheese? It was on the table and ready in no time, with two quick tricks up my sleeve. The first was having a bag of these lovely little whole grain gems… precooked and flash frozen for minute-ready convenience. Yep, minutes.

My second trick was to microwave the beets. Roasting can take nearly an hour, fine when you have the time. Instead, I peeled the beets, wrapped them in parchment, microwaved them on HIGH until tender (about 2 minutes for the smaller guys), let them cool, and sliced them into nice salad-savvy –sized chunks.

I tossed the grains with this simple vinaigrette…

1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
dash of salt
dash of black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

…and threw in some spinach that I’d wilted in a little olive oil and sliced garlic. Served over a bed of fresh spinach, and topped with crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts… two staples in my kitchen.

A palette of color, a bed full of greens.
Salads are indeed one of my favorite things!!

Happy Salad Month!