With summer coming close to an end, I’m desperately trying to cling to its last fleeting moments. Everything I do is now oriented toward taking advantage of the summer season, hence this delicious end-of-summer salad. Just like how I’m trying to cram everything into these last couple of weeks, this salad also incorporates so many healthy and delicious fruits and vegetables. It is refreshing, yet has a bit of a savory taste to it. There is never any left over at my house, and it’s the first thing people finish from their plate. Of course, it’s open to improvement and accommodation — a summer salad can be anything you want it to be, so long as it’s tangy, fruity, colorful and refreshing.
- 2 large limes, divided
- ½ small red onion
- 1 ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium head butter lettuce (about 1 pound)
- 2 Persian cucumbers, or 1 medium English cucumber
- 6 ounces multicolored cherry tomatoes (about 1 cup)
- 2 large ripe peaches
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- ¼ cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
- Freshly ground black pepper
- First, grate the zest of 1 large lime. Add 1 teaspoon to a small bowl, and save the rest for topping the salad.
- Slice 1/2 of a small red onion (about ½ cup), and add this to the bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon of the granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Allow the onions to pickle as you set this aside and prep the rest of the salad for at least 15 minutes, tossing the onions once or twice.
- Juice the remaining 1 ½ limes until you have 1/4 cup of lime juice. Then, chop 1 garlic clove. Chop the cilantro until you have 1/4 cup of packed leaves.
- Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, the remaining granulated sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Shake or whisk to combine.
- Add the following ingredients to a large bowl as you go. Tear 1 head of butter lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice 2 Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber lengthwise, then thinly slice. Halve 6 ounces of cherry tomatoes. Halve 2 peaches then dice them.
- Crumble in 4 ounces (about 1 cup) of feta cheese.
- Top salad with ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds, pickled onion, lime zest and a handful of cilantro. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle half of the dressing over the salad, and gently toss to coat. Top the salad with the remaining dressing.
Maybe it’s just me, but eating meals outside on a warm summer night makes the food significantly better. So, I recommend eating this salad with a group of friends, family or whoever you want outside. It goes great with lemonade or a fruity drink and can be paired with fish, meat, chicken — whatever you want, really. I hope you enjoy not only this salad but also the weeks before school begins!