Summer Vegetable Salad

Summer Vegetable SaladThis recipe might fall into the “duh” category.  I should probably make that a thing on my recipe category side bar.  This salad would be in there, along with this and this.  You know- things that are so basic that you really don’t need a recipe at all.  But if there’s anything that I’ve learned from reading other people’s food blogs, it’s that some of the things that seem barely worth mentioning to them have become some of my most favorite, tried and true, staple recipes.  So while I sometimes shy away from posting recipes for things that seem mundane in my kitchen, I have to remind myself that for some people, it might be new and different and just what they needed to inspire their own spin on it.  Summer Vegetable Salad

This summer vegetable salad is the epitome of all that.  I make it constantly during this season, when the tomatoes, cukes, and sweetcorn are so bountiful and delicious that I can’t bear to see them cooked or fussed with too much.  And since lettuce really shines in the cooler weather of spring and fall, I stick with what’s good right now. In general, I think food bloggers tend a bit too much toward hyperbole, but… made under the right conditions (beginning of August, when the produce is at its peak and eaten on a picnic blanket or alongside a hamburger) this is basically the best salad you’ll ever have in your entire life.  I don’t need to tell you about the glory that is a ripe, perfect tomato at the beginning of August, but I will say that cherry tomatoes are perfect here because they don’t get soggy, and release only a bit of their juice to mix in with the dressing and cling to the other veg.  The cucumber bits are crunchy, fresh, clean.  The little nibs of sweetcorn are a creamy counterpart, and I like the little pops when you bite into one.  (Do you have one of these for sweetcorn?  My mother-in-law got me one and I’m hooked.) I know that radishes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but when they’re thinly sliced like this, they are only vaguely peppery, and supremely crunchy.  Ok, so if you think you lost me at the cheese, bear with me.  You can leave it out if you’re opposed, but it just sort of works here.  The creamy little bites you get with cheese are surprising and kind of delightful, no matter what type you use, and there’s not so much that it weighs down the salad.  It’s there to complement the veggies, not be the star of the show.  Sorry, cheese.  You can’t always be the main attraction.Summer Vegetable Salad

Summer Vegetable SaladOne of my favorite things about this salad is how versatile it is.  I often throw it together as a dinner side when we’re putting something on the grill- burgers, sausages, steaks, fish… you name it.  Because it’s packed with so many things, you don’t need much else to complete a meal.  Because it’s sturdy and doesn’t wilt, it’s a great one to bring to a potluck or a party.  Leftovers make a great lunch the next day. Or breakfast.  Or whatever.  You can add fresh herbs, add in other vegetables to use up what you have, leave out the cheese to make it vegan, add a squeeze of lime to go with tacos, etc, etc, etc. So like I said, the best salad ever.  I know.  DUH, right?  Summer Vegetable Salad

{P.S. Sometimes I wonder about how other food bloggers take such gorgeous food photos and can be a little tough on myself when mine aren’t up to par.  But then I find photos like this on my camera and am like “Ok, my photos aren’t the best, but my ‘helpers’ are friggin’ adorable, so I have the whole human-making thing down-pat.” So it’s a good trade-off, I think.}

Summer Vegetable Salad

Summer Vegetable Salad

Summer Vegetable Salad

I used a basil jack cheese here, and it was amazing and perfect. I've also used a dill havarti that I loved. Cheddar is great, too. It's hard to screw that up, so go with what you like.

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut from the cob
  • 1/2 medium-sized cucumber, chopped to 1/2" pieces
  • 3-4 small radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz mild, semi-soft cheese (such as havarti, gouda, or cheddar), cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Toss all vegetables and cheese in a large bowl, then sprinkle white wine vinegar and olive oil over the top. Toss well, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for several hours before serving.

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