Summer Vegetable Salad

When it comes to nutrition, I try to approach it from a position of balance. The day to day diet for my family is full of as many whole foods as possible, with treats thrown in from time to time. My two year old is (knock on wood) an exceptionally good eater - there is very little, including vegetables, he won’t eat.  I count myself very lucky.

When I’m pregnant, however, all of this goes out the window.  I’m currently pregnant with our 2nd child, and I apologize weekly to our unborn baby for feeding it donuts and cereal constantly.  My husband and I routinely joke that there’s no doubt either of our children our his, as I only crave meat, cheese, and carbs.  Vegetables are exceptionally disgusting to me currently, so when I find a way to make them palatable, I jump on it.

Enter this salad.  It's a summer favorite, pregnant or not. Light and fresh, it's plenty flavorful without being heavy.  It makes a great side to grilled meat or mixed with a whole grain for a simple meatless meal.  This is really more of a method than a recipe.  Take whatever vegetables are in season and sound the best and mix them in a bowl with a few extras for flavor.  Don't like a vegetable I used?  Substitute something else! The variations are endless: change up the types or colors of the vegetables. Grill them first for a little extra flavor.  This is one I know we’ll be eating on repeat all summer long!

summer veggie salad.jpg

Ingredients

2 bell peppers, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

4 oz cubed cheese*

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tsp dried basil*

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  For best flavor, refrigerate at least an hour before eating, although it can be eaten immediately.

  2. Store leftovers in the refrigerate for up to 3 days.

*Notes:

Cheese is completely optional, but I like to add it for a flavor and protein boost.  I used mozzarella this time, but many others work as well.  Feta is another favorite here.

As fresh basil becomes more readily available in my area, I use that instead, typically a tablespoon or so, finely chopped.