The funny thing about hot summer evenings is, suddenly hot food doesn’t sound so good.
It hasn’t even been that hot in Portland yet (though it’s coming, ugh). But it’s warm enough that nobody wants to heat up the kitchen with heavy cooking after a long day at work. So I’m on a mission to make high-protein, fresh and healthy meals that don’t make me want to hide in the basement for the rest of the evening, which is about 20 degrees cooler than the kitchen at all times.
This time of year we are so blessed to have great stone fruit in the Pacific Northwest! Cherries, peaches, nectarines and more – but my favorite will always be fresh apricots. They’re so perfect – summer in a single bite. I love including them in meals that are largely savory.
The key to eating well in the summer is, in my opinion, planning ahead. Cooking stuff like quinoa and chicken on Sunday or whenever you can in advance sets you up for temperature-friendly dinners later on. This week we are working through about a quart of quinoa I made, and let me tell you, I am so happy to have it and to have it already cold.
It was pretty easy to go from there, make a quick salad dressing, and chop all the goodies to go in this salad. And boom – dinner, cold and fresh… just the way I like it when it’s 90 degrees out.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 fresh apricot, cubed
- 1/2 cup cigliene mozzarella balls (8-10), halved
- 1/2 cup cubed hard salami
- For the dressing:
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup best quality olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Spin all dressing ingredients together in the food processor.
- Toss all other ingredients in a medium bowl, then drizzle with 2-3 Tbsp. (or more) of the basil dressing. Toss to combine and serve.