Crave-able, Filling, New Salads to try this Summer

Greek Lentil Salad

Fakes Salata – Greek Lentil Salad

With the mercury inching higher and our later sunsets, it’s time to take advantage of the warm, sunny, and (hopefully) breezy weather. Cookouts, dinner on the deck, or just plain enjoying the sun. Most of us feel the need to eat cooler, lighter foods this time of year, and even with the grill and smoker going, it’s nice to have a salad that incorporates lots of micro- and macro-nutrients to balance things out.

We’ve got some salad centerpieces and ideas that will make laugh at the thought of anyone ever calling it “rabbit food” ever again. From North African-inspired pasta to keep your tastebuds intrigued, to hearty ancient grains that soak up dressing like a flank steak does a marinade, Niblack Foods is back with a few summer salad ideas that’ll have your family and guests asking where you got such delectable designs!

Couscous – A Dish So Nice that They Named it Twice

Couscous salad

A lovely, fresh couscous salad

Perhaps you’ve seen these little globules grace the plate of a companion (or maybe your own), and wondered what blessed little plant produces a starchy grain bursting with flavor. To the surprise of many, couscous is not a grain, but actually a shape of pasta. That’s right, it’s white semolina flour rolled into little balls and then dried. Harkening back to its North African roots, couscous pairs well in salads with chickpeas, chopped parsley, golden raisins, bell peppers and other Mediterranean staples. An olive oil & lemon juice dressing (with a bit of cumin, sumac & paprika added for a bit of piquant authenticity) will be absorbed nicely if left to sit for at least four hours. Who needs a flight to Morocco when you can grill up some Shawarma chicken or beef seasoned with Niblack’s own blend of Shawarma spices and serve it over a bed of fresh couscous salad?

Berry Good – The Tasty Satisfaction of Wheat Berries

Wheatberry salad with fresh herbs

A wheatberry salad with fresh herbs

Have you ever wondered what the edible portion of wheat looks like before it’s processed into flour? Well, have I got the grain for you! Known for their slightly nutty flavor and pleasantly moderate chewiness, wheat berries are both nutritious and veritable sponges of flavor – they soak up dressings quite well, especially vinaigrettes. Acidity counters their gentle sweetness well.

A single quarter-cup serving of wheat berries has approximately 24 percent of your recommended daily intake of fiber, proving their usefulness in terms of many digestive matters as well as for your heart health. Additionally, wheat berries contain significant amounts of manganese and iron – good for bone health and fighting anemia, respectively.

Wheat berries pair well with a variety of flavors, especially Mediterranean & Latin. We like this recipe in particular – a vinaigrette featuring fresh raw garlic, white vinegar, lime juice, and olive oil. For a little extra summer flavor you can grill some corn with our Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob seasoning! This little twist adds a bit of chargrilled flavor that you can only get in the summer months, along with our slightly smoky Lime Chipotle seasoning. Make it a healthy summer treat at your next cookout – or keep it all for yourself, ‘cause it’s so good! Not that I’ve done that before, or anything…

Hearty & Healthy – Lentils for your Salad Bowl

Need a break from grains? The humble lentil will serve you well. Packed with fiber, iron, folic acid, potassium, vitamin B-6, & manganese, lentils are powerhouses of nutrition that increase satiety (the feeling of fullness) and keeps your digestive tract healthy. They’ve also been shown to help fight fatigue, and may be good for your heart health thanks to all of that fiber.

You may be familiar with lentils in their piping-hot soup incarnation, but to the surprise of many, they make great salads as well. Fakes Salata, or Greek lentil salad is a popular way to keep up legume intake in Greece’s warm to hot summer months. Served on its own as a snack, or in larger portions as an entrée, Fakes salata complements grilled dishes well, with its acidic dressing of red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. If you’re feeling adventurous, it makes for a perfect complement to grilled octopus, squid, or shrimp!

While French Green lentils tend to be the preferred variety for lentil salads, Niblack Foods offers a variety of lentils for your needs – don’t be afraid to experiment a little!

Summertime, and the Salads are Tasty

As always, Niblack Foods has all of your culinary needs covered – whether you need beans or lentils, couscous or wheat berries, spices, or more for your healthy & filling summer salads, they’re right here 900 Jefferson Road #6 in Rochester, NY. For those across the country, we’re only a click away at our website, and our blog is at your fingertips.

Stay cool, light, and fit this summer with our salad ideas and don’t forget to share your creations with us on our Instagram & Facebook pages, readers!