The "make ahead salad" and grill some meat, is not a new concept to summer cooking.
I actually learned this method from my mom. I remember she would get up early on hot summer mornings, clean the house, do the laundry and pack a lunch for the park. We would then spend most of the day at the spray park.
When we got home she always had a yummy salad like potato, macaroni or fruit, ready to go.
Then she simply BBQed some hamburgers or steak (can you tell my Dad likes red meat?!) and dinner was taken care of.
Over the years, we have also used this method of cooking, adding a few of our favourite salads, grilled vegetables and non-red meats!
The reason I think it's worthy to write about, is that we often forget some of the things our parents did, that were pretty smart!
Here is a list of some of our favourite salads and sides:
1) Bean, potato, greek, pasta, kale or green salad.
2) Grilled vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, peppers and mushrooms.
Salads like potato, pasta, bean or greek will stay fresh in the fridge for at least 3 days.
If your salad greens and veggies are washed and cut, it takes no time at all to throw a green salad together.
We started to invest in a couple of BBQ tools last year that have made all the difference.
We bought a BBQ wok to grill veggies like broccoli. We just toss the broccoli in a little olive oil and grill in the wok and then sprinkle with fresh parmesan once it's out of the wok, but still hot.
The other tool is a grilling basket. It comes apart in 2 pieces so you can put sliced veggies inside such as peppers or asparagus, then shut it and lay it on the grill.
You just flip the basket over to cook the other side of the vegetables.
I bought both of these tools halfway through summer last year when they were on clearance.
For meats, we BBQ steak, chicken, salmon, pork chops and sometimes even a pizza.
Here is a recipe for the best bean salad I have ever had!
It tastes better the longer it's in the fridge and also makes an excellent lunch all on it's own.
It does have cilantro, which I find most people love or hate, but it really does add flavour to the recipe.
BEAN SALAD serves 6 (adapted from The Best of Bridge)
19oz can black beans
12 oz can of drained kernel corn
19 oz can of white beans
1 red bell pepper
1/3 cup of chopped red onion
1 Jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro ( I usually do a little more)
1 tsp Cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Mix the dressing in a bowl and whisk well. Add your salad ingredients and put in the fridge for the flavours to intensify! I leave it for about 4 hours, tastes even better the next day.
Feel free to experiment with different types of beans or add quinoa to make it a complete meal.