I found myself with good amounts of left overs of fresh salads.
The salads were gluten-free, and vegan for Meatless Monday, all infused with seasonal, celebratory colors and flavors (all great for picnics and July 4th). They were relatively simple, being all based on few ingredients, but very effective flavor combinations: a watermelon, cucumber and mint salad, mildly seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper; a heirloom tomato and sweet corn salad, with finely chopped white onions, chiseled basil leaves, roasted pine nuts and a simple olive oil and red balsamic dressing, salt and pepper; and a quinoa, parsley, toasted almond slivers and fresh organic blueberries also with a light vinegar and olive oil dressing.
As they all involved fresh and rather "watery" fruits, herbs and/or vegetables, it was important to finish them rather promptly, and they could certainly have made an easy grab and go lunch the next day. But, as much as they were enjoyed the day of, it felt interesting to re-purpose them the next day and make full use of their potential for ubiquity.
The first idea that came to mind, was to blend the watermelon and cucumber salad to obtain a refreshing summer drink. Depending on the amount of oil and vinegar used, and with the ingredients marinated in the dressing, this could also be a chilled soup-gazpacho.
The second idea that came to mind was a pasta dish. I had some gluten-free nettle fettucine from a past Farmers Market run which I had kept frozen. I have not hidden my love for nettles in a past post and thought their nuttiness would combine really well with the sweetness of the corn and the deeper flavor of heirloom tomatoes. I simply cooked the pasta al dente. Meanwhile I quickly sautéed the tomato and corn salad - so lycopene release :) - and mixed in the pasta when they were done. I finished the pasta with a drizzle of fresh olive oil, and red pepper flakes for a little kick.
Verdict? Two great summer lunches in a row! The pasta dish was so incredibly tasty, and because the flavors of the salads had developed overnight, both the pasta dish and the smoothie seemed renewed with flavor and freshness. What happened to the quinoa salad?, you might wonder… Well perhaps that is for another post… :)
By the way:
- If you are in the SF area: the gluten-free nettle pasta are from the Ferry Plaza Saturday Farmers Market. They hold very well when cooked, and have a great texture and taste.
- If you are so inclined, grate some pecorino cheese on the pasta for extra tastiness.
- The pasta dish should be on the low FODMAP side. Both dishes are gluten free, dairy free (without pecorino :)) and should satisfy Meatless Monday, vegetarian and vegan eaters too.