Summer Salads with a Twist

White shirts and pastels, iced teas and ice creams, hats, scarves and shades, the koel singing you awake every morning – what’s not to love about summer? Plus it’s mango season! Not to mention, a time for a summer holiday for many... While it’s still spring in a large part of the northern hemisphere, the Indian summer is already making its presence felt. All I want to do is stay in the confines of my home and eat and drink cooling stuff. So how about we kick off the summer with some cool, colourful and healthy Summer Salads? Both the salads below use summer fruits and are dressed up with balsamic vinaigrette. Follow this step-by-step recipe to make a basic vinaigrette, which is quite versatile and lends well to variations. Both recipes are enough for two people.

Muskmelon Salad


This is one of my favourite salads to make. Muskmelon (or cantaloupe) is a perfect summer fruit due to its high water content; it’s also low in calories and sugar. The markets are full of this gorgeous fruit right now and here is one salad recipe that will make you keep coming back for more.
Image source - http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/senior/vegetabl/images
Dice half a muskmelon and discard its skin. Chop up a tomato and an onion (a red one, preferably). Cut a cube of cheese (25gm). Mix and refrigerate. Assemble the salad just before serving. Tear some basil leaves and mix them in the refrigerated salad ingredients. Pour over the balsamic vinaigrette and toss. Grate some parmesan cheese on top (optional) and serve immediately.

Watermelon Salad


Here is a variation of the watermelon & feta salad that seems to be on every restaurant menu (whether watermelon is in season or not). I’ve replaced feta with parmesan. Ounce by ounce, even though parmesan has a higher fat content than feta, the amount of parmesan you use in this recipe is much lesser than that of feta used in a restaurant. Also, the salt content of parmesan is lower. Watermelon, like muskmelon, has a high water content (92% by weight) and is also loaded with Vitamin C. And of course, its beautiful red colour makes a very pretty salad! 
Image source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Watermelons.jpg
Here’s how... Dice quarter or half of a watermelon (depending upon its size) and discard its skin. Chop up a few olives (optional). Mix and refrigerate. Assemble the salad just before serving. Tear some basil leaves and mix them in the refrigerated salad ingredients. Pour over the balsamic vinaigrette and toss. Grate some parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately.

Do you have any interesting summer salad ideas? With mangoes, perhaps! Leave me a comment below and I’ll try (and share) them. Bon appetit and stay cool :) 

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