Salad

A Fast, Fresh, Take-Anywhere Salad For All Your Summertime Needs

August  3, 2017

The month of July makes me question my love of cooking. Because as much as I gawk and guffaw over the produce at the market (I mean, have you seen it?), I don't want to cook it, per se. Never is the bounty so great; never is my desire so meek.

Feed me pasta with slow-cooked tomatoes and garlic confit for dinner, and I'll accept it with gratitude. (Plum galette for dessert, please.) But ask me to make it myself, and I'll choose generously salted tomatoes followed by soft chocolate ice cream instead.

Where is my passion, you wonder? Camped out in the park, hiding in the air-conditioned movie theater or, frankly, prostrate on the bed, nap-drooling.

But still, the need to cook persists. It's funny that way. There are work lunches to pack, parties to attend, and weeknight dinners when a bowl of berries won't cut it. And then there are lots of people (I hear they exist, though I am not one of them) who cook meals in advance of traveling, in case there are no suitable options at airports and rest-stops. These are the most prepared people!

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But we can be like them, too. This salty-crunchy-fresh chickpea salad, which comes together in 10 minutes flat, will make you feel like you're cooking with no actual cooking at all. Just throw herbs, chile, garlic, lime juice, and vinegar into the food processor, then stream in olive oil until you have a fragrant, bright-green sauce. Toss it with chickpeas (you could swap out half for a more tender bean, like cannellini), halved cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and chopped toasted almonds.

Let the ingredients marinate in the chimichurri as long as you can stand, then serve—perhaps on a toasted bread swiped with Greek yogurt and olive oil, or over that bowl of heirloom tomatoes you were planning to eat for dinner?

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Top Comment:
“Summer brings hurricanes which thankfully usually just interrupt the trade winds but make what our weather reporters call 'real feel' temp go much higher than the reading on the thermometer. No AC because our electricity is the most expensive in the country generated by imported fossil fuel. So we cook early in the day, combine tasks like roasting veggies after pulling out the pizza and look for wonderful salads like this. I have two potlucks this week, a case of canned chickpeas in the pantry and this is what I will bring. I have already wowed them with Joy the Bakers oil-roasted chickpeas and here is hoping this further advances Food52's reputation for an amazing resource for cooks.”
— NancyFromKona
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The salad's as flexible as you feel when submerged in the pool. If you don't have mint or cilantro (or if you only have one), compensate with other herbs. Chimichurri typically includes fresh oregano; you could add a couple tablespoons of just-torn leaves, or a teaspoon or two of the dried herb, or forgo it entirely. Swap out the red wine vinegar for white wine or rice wine vinegar. Maybe this isn't chimichurri anymore, but heck, you've made green sauce.

Mix in cooked grains, sliced snap peas, cucumber chunks, broiled shrimp, roasted fish. In the winter (seriously, can you even remember winter?), you might add boiled broccoli rabe, roasted squash or potatoes, and tears of rotisserie chicken.

Hey, you've cooked! And you didn't even have to crank up the A/C.

What's your go-to no-cook summer meal? Tell us in the comments below.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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15 Comments

Paula I. July 11, 2017
This was really good, thanks! It did take longer than 10 minutes but I think it is still worth it, especially since I have chimichurri sauce left for another use.
 
NancyFromKona July 9, 2017
Aloha and mahalo for your hilarious and timely post Sarah! I usually wait to comment until after I have tried the recipe but I couldn't wait to give you positive feedback because boy can I relate. We live at 200' in Kailua Kona which is code for 12 months a year of heat, not Phoenix dry super heat mind you, but the hot and humid kind where even moving slowly in the shade induces glowing pink cheeks and profuse perspiration. Summer brings hurricanes which thankfully usually just interrupt the trade winds but make what our weather reporters call 'real feel' temp go much higher than the reading on the thermometer. No AC because our electricity is the most expensive in the country generated by imported fossil fuel. So we cook early in the day, combine tasks like roasting veggies after pulling out the pizza and look for wonderful salads like this. I have two potlucks this week, a case of canned chickpeas in the pantry and this is what I will bring. I have already wowed them with Joy the Bakers oil-roasted chickpeas and here is hoping this further advances Food52's reputation for an amazing resource for cooks.
 
Bobbelois July 7, 2017
No cook summer meal is Wendy's hamburgers! Seriously, they make a wonderful chicken/cranberry/pecan salad.
 
Mona P. July 6, 2017
What is the cheese under the tomato salad in the picture -- it looks too creamy to be the feta. Is it a ricotta?<br />
 
Barb July 9, 2017
It looks like slices of soft, white cheese.
 
Terrie C. July 9, 2017
It's probably the greek yogurt she mentions in the article.
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. July 9, 2017
Yes, it's Greek yogurt! Thinned with a bit of olive oil and seasoned with pepper.
 
lydia.sugarman July 10, 2017
It's Greek yogurt, as referenced in the article.
 
lydia.sugarman July 10, 2017
Actually, all the alternates mentioned sound really good, too!<br />
 
M S. July 6, 2017
If you hate cooking, why are you working for Food 52? And, what has summer got to do with it? People cook in Provence, Vietnam, even Florida-all warm at times.
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. July 6, 2017
I love cooking—i just go through slumps!
 
cindy A. July 6, 2017
this sounds wonderful!
 
Jane H. July 9, 2017
WTH...just looking for an argument?
 
Barb July 9, 2017
Sometimes it's not the cooking, it's the eating. Even with A/C, it's sometimes just too hot to eat warm food.
 
josie July 11, 2017
I'm a professional chef. I have two culinary degrees. And I loathe cooking for myself after work. I'll cook on the weekends, but after 12-14 hours in a fine dining kitchen, no way! I eat an embarrassing amount of frozen pizza, grilled cheese and scrambled egg dinners. We play a game at work on Wednesdays (some of the managers have Tuesday off) during our managers meeting- "what did you eat last week"? No one ever answers with some fabulous dish they cooked. Almost entirely cereal, pizza, food cart tacos.