By Amy Sullivan, CASM Steering Committee Member and Health Coach https://myaspirezen.com/

Jump to Recipe

Recently I was asked by my fellow Climate Action Santa Monica’s Steering Committee Members to create a recipe for the Santa Monica Community. They asked that it be plant-based and that most of the ingredients be found at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. As a Holistic Health Coach and Food Blogger I was beyond excited to accept this challenge!

Since it’s the height of summer here in beautiful Santa Monica, I had a wide array of fresh fruits and veggies to play with. The stone fruit and beans were everywhere, as were fresh leafy greens, corn, and beets. I decided to arrange them all together as a fresh summer salad, ensuring this meal is not only healthy and local, but also quick and easy. Perfect for a Meatless Monday dinner on a warm summer Santa Monica evening.

So here you have it: A Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Summer Salad staring succulent yellow nectarines, green beans, grilled corn, and beets. To make this salad a “full meal”, I also picked up a bag of Northern White Beans at the bean stand to provide protein and extra fiber. In addition, I found some delicious blue goat cheese, a lower carbon footprint option for those who indulge in dairy on occasion. It’s completely optional of course, and some ripe farmers market avocado is the perfect creamy vegan substitute.

It’s all tossed together with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing recipe make a full batch and I encourage you to make the whole thing and have it to enjoy on salads all week long. Hooray for easy meal prep!

Watch and learn how to make this meal:

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Servings: 12 | Difficulty: Easy | Preparation Time: 3 min | Calories: 136 | Fat: 14g

Ingredients

  • 1 clove, Garlic
  • 1 tbsp, Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp, Agave Nectar
  • 1 tsp, Dried Basil
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation

Grab a small bowl or 16 oz jar. I like to use a mason jar since it’s so easy to shake the dressing together, store it, and reuse the jar over and over.

Finely mince or microplane the garlic and add to the jar. Then add the rest of the ingredients to the jar. Put the lid on the jar and give it a solid shake until all the ingredients come together. Taste and add any salt/pepper to taste. Shake again just before serving. Stores great on the kitchen counter or in the fridge for about a week.

Farmers’ Market Summer Salad

Vegan or Vegetarian, both are a full and satisfying meal

Servings: 2 | Difficulty: Easy | Preparation time: 15 min | Cook time: 40 min

Calories: 344 | Protein: 16g | Fat: 1g | Carbs: 59g | Fiber: 14g

Plus, these daily nutrients: Iron (17%), Calcium (13%), Vitamin C (62%)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Mixed Leafy Greens
  • 2 Stalks Celery, diced
  • 1 cup steamed Green Beans, 2 in segments (sub frozen/canned)
  • 1 ear, Grilled Corn (or 1 cup frozen/canned)
  • 1 cup boiled Northern White Beans (sub canned beans)
  • 1 large Yellow Nectarine, sliced (or your favorite stone fruit)
  • 1 cup roasted beets, sliced (sub frozen/canned)

Optional Toppers

Preparation

Meal prep (Optional)

If you’re making everything fresh from the Farmers’ Market, a few items (beets, corn, green beans, and northern beans) all require a little meal prep (see below). Or you can grab the precooked canned or frozen versions and have the salad ready in a flash. If using canned, make sure you drain any water before adding to the salad. Defrost frozen items first and drain any excess water off them as well. Jump to salad assembly steps.

You can easily do these meal prep steps up to 5 days ahead. I am a big proponent of meal prep. Make all of this stuff in a big batch on a Sunday and have healthy food ready to grab and eat all week long. So convenient! Plus, when you prepare them yourself and buy at the Farmers’ Market you control the ingredients, support local business, and lower the food’s carbon footprint (less packaging and travel miles).

BEETS & CORN I like to oven roast both at 400 degrees. Pre-slice the beets, shuck the corn and place on an oven rack. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, tossing 1/2 way through. Beets will be tender and corn slightly browned.

You can also boil them on the stove or grill these on grill night. If grilling, place the beets in a tinfoil boat (or veggie grill pan) so they don’t fall through the grade. If you really don’t want to use any heat or meal prep time, you can substitute canned beets and canned/frozen corn.

GREEN BEANS If you want to use the farmer’s market fresh versions, trim the ends and chop into 2-inch pieces. In a medium pot, place a steamer basket and few inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add the beans and cover with the lid. Let steam 3 – 4 minutes, then transfer to an ice water bath. Let them stay in the bath until cool. Then drain.

NORTHERN WHITE BEANS Place dried beans in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 6 – 8 hours (I usually set this up before bed and make beans on Sunday morning). Drain water, then add to a pot and add water about an inch above the bean line. Put the heat on high, cover and bring to a boil. When boiling, turn down head to low and let simmer until tender (about 30 minutes). Let the beans cool in the pot, then store with juice in the fridge for up to a week. Drain water off beans right before assembling salad. Watch my video about beans and making your own.

Salad Assembly

Start by making the dressing. Wash and dry (air dry or salad spin) your greens and place in a larger bowl. Dice up your celery, and scallions. Cut the corn kernels off the cob. Drain any water off beans, beets etc.

Slice the nectarine in half and remove the pit. Slice 6 even wedges with each half of the fruit, so you have 12 slices total. If beets are not already sliced, slice them into similar sizes to the nectarine pieces.

Add half of your celery and green beans to the bowl with the lettuce. Toss with 1/4 cup of the dressing so everything is coated. Evenly divide the dressed salad onto two plates (or large bowls.

Next, evenly sprinkle the remaining, green beans, celery, and corn on the two salads. Place the nectarine slices in an even ring around the top of each bed of greens (6 slices per salad). Leave a few inches of room in the center and a little space between each fruit slice. Place the slices of beets in between each nectarine slice.

Put a 1/2 cup of the Northern Beans into the center of the salad pile. Sprinkle the sliced scallions evenly on top of each salad.

Add the toppers! If going the vegan route, add a quarter of sliced avocado atop the bean pile. To slice avocado. Run knife all the way around the outside, using the pit in the middle as your guide. Twist to separate the halves. One the side without the pit, make thin slices from top to bottom of the avocado, bringing the knife from the flesh to the peel, but not through the peel. Gently scoop the avocado slices out with a spoon, fan out the slices with your hands and place onto the salad.

If opting for cheese, gently crumble into small bits and sprinkle onto the salad. If you can’t find the Mt. Baldy blue, Feta or Chevre or regular blue varieties are great substitutes.

Variations

  • Swap the Northern beans for any other bean you love. Kidney, garbanzo, black, or lima are great choices
  • Switch the nectarines for another summer fruit such as peaches, plumbs, or strawberries
  • Add some nuts or seeds for extra crunch and healthy fats such as walnuts, pine nuts, or pumpkin seeds (peppitos).

I hope you thoroughly enjoy this scrumptious and fresh Farmers’ Market Summer Salad and get inspired to build more healthy plant-based meals into your daily diet. Thank you again to Climate Action Santa Monica Steering Committee for challenging me to invent something healthy and delicious with all the wonderful options available at our local Santa Monica Farmer’s Markets!

About the Author: Amy Sullivan, Aspire Zen Health Coaching & CASM Steering Committee

Meet Amy Sullivan, Aspire Zen Heath Coaching

Amy Sullivan is a holistic health coach, yoga instructor, certified diet and nutrition specialist, and a food blogger. During 15 years of leading marketing efforts for big brands and startups, she observed and experienced many of the unique stresses that women go through balancing their work and personal life. She combined that knowledge with her life loves of food, yoga, and wellness, plus learnings from her personal weight loss journey as a 40s+ woman, to build her health coaching program. Now she’s found her true life’s calling, helping busy women who are striving to have it all, to achieve success in the one area of their lives that is often neglected, their personal health. In her free time, Amy can be found inventing new recipes, playing guitar, and hiking local trails with her pup, Juneau. If you would like more information about working with Amy to improve your health, please visit her coaching page www.myaspirezen.com

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