Recipes: Chopped Summer Salad with Lemon Dill Vinaigrette

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Somewhere in between traveling to Tulum for pure escapism and a trip to Alaska for a wedding and a workshop…summer happened.  My mind is still in May, yet the calendar says it’s…what! Mid-August?!

Perhaps it’s because I’m finally out of school and still adjusting to the different meaning summer has taken on now.  But I feel like I missed out on those long lazy days lying under the sun with a good book, those balmy nights filled with friends and laughter, and road trips with nothing but dusty road ahead of you.  Can we rewind back to May and try again please?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some beautiful afternoons in the hammock and a few more by the pool, an unforgettable solstice celebration under the stars gathered around a roaring fire, and long walks serenaded by cicadas…but this gypsy soul of mine craves an endless sweet summer packed with explorations and new adventures.

But adventure aside – there’s one thing I have taken complete advantage of this season, and that’s all the incredible produce available. Thank god for juicy stone fruit, ripe berries, and heirloom tomatoes as big as my face!  I ate well this season, that’s for sure.

This salad is an homage to all the fresh seasonal produce summer offers.  The way that people have their “song of the summer” – this is my “salad of the summer”.  I’ve eaten this over and over again, and keep coming back for more.

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IMG_5117For these pumpkin seeds, I highly recommend soaking them overnight to release the phytic acid that makes it difficult to digest, then spreading them on a baking sheet to dry out again.  We call this “activating” the seed.  You can read more about this process here.  It really makes a huge difference in flavor and digestibility.  But if you’re running short on time when making this salad, it’s okay to skip this step and still enjoy a delicious salad.

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You can also throw in extra herbs.  I’ve made this with a variety of fresh mint and dill, in addition to the chopped basil.  So don’t be afraid to experiment with a combination of fresh herbs in this salad.

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PS – If you haven’t met our cat yet, please allow me to introduce Tulsi – the feisty  “first born” of our two cats. He’s just over a year old now, and still terrorizes our kitchen.  If you’re in the kitchen, he’s all up in your business checking things out all the time. He’s definitely got that cat-like curiosity, but a ferocious appetite for begging like a dog and a professional career at snagging your scraps off the plate when you’re not looking.  He eats nori like no tomorrow, and kale chips are like catnip crack to him.  We’re pretty much a match made in heaven.  Summer Salad

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 CHOPPED SUMMER SALAD WITH LEMON DILL VINAIGRETTE

4 cups spinach
2 cups arugula
¼ cup chopped basil
4 radishes, chopped
2 peaches, chopped
10 blackberries, halved
1 avocado, chopped
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup hemp seeds

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss with vinaigrette before serving.

Vinaigrette
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup flax oil
¼ cup chopped dill
2 lemons, juiced
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp honey
salt & pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, lemon juice, and honey.  Add the salt and pepper to taste, then fold in the chopped dill.  Pour over salad and toss lightly.

Serves 4-6

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