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Spotlight On Seasonal Summer Salads

A white bowl of chickpea salad.

Photo credit Alan Roettinger

Chickpea, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

Refreshing as well as satisfying, this salad is especially welcome in the summer, but can be enjoyed year round.


1 (15-oz) can no-salt-added chickpeas,
   drained and rinsed

1½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 seedless cucumber, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

8 scallions, sliced

2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, pressed

¼ tsp sea salt

6 Tbsp tahini

Put the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, scallions and 1 tablespoon of the parsley in a large bowl and toss until well combined.

To make the dressing, put the lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add the tahini, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Add a little water, if needed, to achieve a creamy sauce.

Pour over the salad and toss until evenly distributed.

Serve in small bowls or on lettuce leaves. Garnish with remaining tablespoon of parsley.


TIP: Seedless cucumbers, also known as  English or hothouse cucumbers, are long and thin compared to the standard cucumbers, and have a tender, more delicate skin.


Tasty Summer Salad Dressings

Enhance the already delicious experience of a fresh, summer salad with one of these three tasty toppings.


Sesame Dressing

This thick, creamy, healthful dressing is typically used with chopped vegetable salads, as it would overwhelm delicate lettuces. It can also double as a flavorful dip.

Yield: about 1¼ cups

¼ cup grated carrot

¼ cup grated daikon radish

¼ cup chopped sweet onion
   (such as Maui or Vidalia)

¼ cup raw sesame seeds

¼ cup rice vinegar

¼ cup water

1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 cloves garlic

¼ tsp sea salt


TIP: Although the dressing will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, it’s best used shortly after it has been made, as the fresh vegetables will diminish in flavor somewhat when stored.


Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing

Though ideal for tossing with kale Caesar salad, this dressing is also delightful over torn romaine hearts or other sturdy lettuce, combined with sliced red radishes. You can also use the dressing as a dip for carrot and celery sticks.

Yield: ⅔ cup or 3 servings

½ cup mashed soft tofu

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp mellow white miso

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp sea salt

Put all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, the dressing will keep for four days.


Avocado-Lime Dressing

Tart and creamy, this dressing has a smoking-hot tang that will enliven any salad, no matter how plan or fancy.


Yield: 1¼ cups

3 limes

Apple cider vinegar as needed

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ tsp cayenne

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)

1 avocado, peeled and seeded

Zest the limes onto a small plate. Squeeze the limes over a measuring cup to catch the juice. Add apple cider vinegar, if needed, to make ⅓ cup. Transfer to a blender.

Add the garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne, optional pepper and avocado and process until smooth.

Add water, 1 tablespoon as a time if needed, to achieve the desired consistency.

Transfer to a jar and stir in the lime zest. Cover tightly and refrigerate until needed. The dressing is best used the same day.

Recipes excerpted from Body on Fire Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook, Monica Aggarwal, MD & Jyothi Rao, MD, BPC, 2022.