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Preparing the Perfect Summer Salad

The absolute easiest thing to make on a hot summer night is salad. Cooking has become something I've learned to really love, but I'll be the first to admit, it's time consuming and takes a certain level of dedication to do especially when you consider the mundane grocery store trips that consist of either paying a fee for delivery or taking on the task of schlepping bags back the 15 blocks from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or Fairway (the three reasonably located options I have within walking distance from my apartment).

During the warm summer months when I've hit my limit on eating out and have exhausted my delivery options (no more sushi or thai please!), I turn to salad. Fresh, crunchy vegetables of all colors piled in a bowl and topped with an experimental salad dressing hits the spot every time.

Take some of my favorite veggies and topping recommendations below; then chop, dice or cut them up to your liking and mix them with the salad dressing I've finally perfected for a guaranteed tasty home run.

Greens: Arugula, Spinach, Mesclun, Romaine, Bibb, or Butter

Vegetables: Avocado, Carrots, Grape Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Beets, Corn, Red Onion, Basil, Mint, Cilantro, Asparagus, Shallots, Mushrooms

Fruits: Pear, Grapes, Strawberries, Apple

Beans: Chickpeas, Edamame, Black Beans

Protein: Shrimp, Tofu, Egg Whites, Chicken

Cheese: Feta, Cheddar, Parmesan, Goat Cheese

Crunchy Toppings: Sesame, Pumpkin or Sunflower Seeds, Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds)

Salad Dressing

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 Tbsp. grated ginger

1/4 Cup scallions, finely chopped

2-3 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. soy sauce (I use low-sodium)

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1/4 Cup olive oil

I recommend experimenting with different parts to satisfy your own taste buds; add more or less of the ingredients to make more or less dressing, depending on how many you are serving. I had to make this about five times before I licked my finger, swallowed, cracked a smile and shouted "perfection"!

Signing Off Giggling About Greens,

Renee



Renee Woodruff blogs about travel, food and living life to the fullest on Shape.com. Follow her on Twitter.

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