my favorite summer salad

vegetable salad with scrambled egg

I’ve been making a lot of (like three times daily) salads this summer, because it’s been so hot. I typically eat cooked vegetables (spinach and other greens, sweet potatoes and squash, green beans, sweet bell peppers and zucchini are some of my favorite veggies to cook), but this summer I’ve been focusing on raw. This is one of my favorite salads this summer.

raw vegetable salad
I start with a base of romaine lettuce (usually an entire romaine heart), although I’ve also been eating a lot of leaf lettuce from my parents’ garden. To that I add one thinly sliced sweet bell pepper, one thinly sliced tomato, half of an English cucumber, thinly sliced, and extras if I have them – things like chopped purslane, or snow peas, or grated carrots.

olive oil and egg

I also like to eat eggs twice a day – usually scrambled in the morning, and hard-boiled in the evening. The warm eggs get thrown on top of the salad at the end.

I make my own dressing by drizzling or sprinkling extra virgin olive oil, wine vinegar, salt, paprika and channa masala over everything before tossing.

salad with cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes

The absolute best is when I can put cooked things – here I’ve pan-fried some cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes – on top of the raw stuff.

sauteed mushrooms

I also like warm things like sauteed mushrooms, if the weather isn’t too hot for a lot of cooking. I sometimes saute the tomato, too.

raw eggs

These are the eggs, ready for whisking with a dollop of water and a shake of salt.

lime

A sprinkle of lime over everything, and it’s ready to eat…

vegetable salad with scrambled egg

purslane

purslane 1

Purslane is a weed that grows abundantly in North America, as well as many other parts of the world. I first read about it being edible in Viana La Place’s Unplugged Kitchen – one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, because of La Place’s short anecdotes and memories of growing up in an Italian American family where she learned to treasure nourishing food prepared simply.

On the weekend I weeded my parents’ vegetable garden, and pulled up all the purslane growing between the carrot, beet, and lettuce seedlings that I planted earlier this spring. I’ve been eating the purslane all week long, chopped up into the massive raw salads that I eat at every meal now that the weather’s turned hot. I appreciate how nutritious this free food is.

purslane 2