Summer is in full swing, and even though the days are longer, it does not mean you should be spending all that precious time cooking dinner.

I’m sure even the thought of turning on the stove to make your air conditioning work overtime is making your eye twitch. So here’s a no-cook recipe for a fresh and light salad you’ll be making time and time again.

Confession: my husband and I struggle to eat our daily dose of veggies. I love a good salad, but only if it’s slathered in creamy dressing, which defeats the purpose of loading up on greens in the first place. I also hate going out and paying $15 for a single serving of the healthy stuff. So I rolled up my sleeves and came up with a quick recipe that we both enjoy.

This salad takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare, contains no fancy ingredients, and the dressing is made from five simple things: lemon juice, olive oil, reserved juice from the pear halves, salt, and pepper. Now I am a huge fan of convenience, and if I can buy a bottle of dressing and not have to make my own each time I crave a salad, I’m all for it. But I recently had a wake-up call.

I get migraines, and most of the main-stream, ready-made salad dressings out there have ingredients which can potentially become triggers. I’m talking about gums (guar, xanthan, and carrageenan, among others). Commercial dressings also contain MSG, corn syrup, and other flavor-enhancers, stabilizers, and preservatives that do not appear anywhere on the food pyramid. Hence, I do not want them anywhere near my food.

We started to really pay attention to food labels, and clean eating became that much more appealing. Of course, there are brands with great ingredients, but the price tends to get steep once you get into the organic and all-natural stuff. The solution – make your own dressing! It is fresh, you know exactly what’s in it, and you make it as you use it. You won’t have that mystery bottle sitting in the back of your fridge, waiting for the next time you move to get thrown out.

INGREDIENTS (for two servings):
•    2.5 ounces of salad mix of your choice (I use Baby Spring Mix)
•    2 pear halves (I use Trader Joe’s Pear Halves in White Grape Juice – comes in a glass jar)
•    1 cup of cherry tomatoes
•    ½ cup of blueberries
•    Half of an English cucumber (they come wrapped in plastic)
•    Extra virgin olive oil
•    Lemon juice from ½ lemon
•    5 Tablespoons of reserved juice from pear halves

1.    Add salad mix to a large mixing bowl, ripping-up any large leaves if needed.
2.    Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, and then chop into half-moons (I usually leave the skin on).
3.    Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
4.    Medium-dice the pear halves (they are juicy, moderately sweet, and come in an amazingly fresh juice that is light and is not at all syrupy).
5.    Add chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, pears, and blueberries to the salad mix.

This is very simple!
1.   Give the salad a good pour of extra virgin olive oil, just enough to give the ingredients a nice coating;
2.   Juice half of a lemon into a small bowl, strain out any seeds, and pour into the salad;
3.   Spoon five (5) tablespoons of the reserved pear juice into the salad;
4.   Finish off with salt and pepper, to taste.
5.   Now give the salad a nice mix and serve!  


The recipe above is a veggie-only version we have for dinner. If I am craving protein or having this mid-day, I’ll also chop up some oven-roasted turkey as a topping for extra energy. You can swap in any berries (strawberries, blackberries, etc.) of your choice, if blueberries are not your favorite. Lastly, you can add canned garbanzo beans for a more chewy and hearty salad or sprinkle sliced almonds for an extra crunch!

What do you think of this recipe? Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments below!

This article was originally written for Our Community Now at Maryland by Julia.

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